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Mediating particles

  1. Jul 11, 2008 #1
    Please excuse this non-student from asking simple questions, but I'm hoping you won't mind helping me to understand things a little better.

    I've read articles in magazines, New Scientist for example, of the search for gravitons, these being the supposed particle that mediate the force of gravity.

    Working backwards from this, I began to wonder what particles mediate the other forces, and I have a little problem with the electromagnetic force, is it the electron, the photon, or both?

    What particles mediate the weak and strong nuclear forces?

    What other forces/particles do I need to consider?


  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2008 #2


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    Hi insectman. Welcome to PF!

    The mediator of the electromagnetic force is the photon, not the electron.

    The strong force is mediated by particles called gluons and the weak force is mediated by W and Z Bosons.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2008
  4. Jul 11, 2008 #3
    Thanks Go1

    I can (almost) understand how the photon is the mediator particle for EM up in the IR, visible and upwards parts of the spectrum, but I'm confused how this applies down in the radio spectrum and lower in the LF and ELF regions, that's why I assumed it was the electron as the mediator.

    I realise it has something to do with energy levels, I do not confuse IR with heat, although if I use a prism to split light into its spectrum, and if I place a thermometer underneath the red end I will register an increase in temperature, I am still aware that if my eyes were capable of collecting IR wavelengths I would perceive IR as light. But that also is only how my spectrum analysis system (my brain) translates it for me ('scuse my non technical language here).

    Taking that further, I also realise that light is actually invisible, you only perceive it when it directly strikes the relevant sensory mechanism, and that the entire universe is actually dark.

    BUT, I also realise that the entire universe is seething with radiation of every wavelength, therefore if you could perceive all those wavelengths equally (if you had the correct sensors) and if your brain translated each wavelength as light, just like radar does for the radio part of the spectrum, and just like bats and dolphins do with echolocation, and bees and wasps in the IR and UV, then the entire universe would be bright light.

    So, if I'm right, the photon, which most people think of as a particle of light, could be of any wavelength, and it has only the energy level relevant to that wavelength.

    There must be a better way of putting that....

  5. Jul 11, 2008 #4
    And another question....

    If the photon is the mediator of EM, then how does that apply to permanent magnets....

    again, I thought this is where the electron plays the mediator role.

  6. Jul 12, 2008 #5
  7. Jul 13, 2008 #6
    I'm afraid that so far that link only adds to my confusion, although I will read it very deeply later, for now all I get from that link is that I am not real, I am only a mathematical construct.

    Considering how long we have known about magnetic fields, I am surprised that we know so little of how it functions.

    I will read thoroughly before making further comment or question.

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