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The four fundamental forces

  1. Feb 12, 2012 #1
    I teach myself physics. I find it pretty easy but I was getting stuck on this one principle. I was reading about the four fundamental forces of physics. I read that some particles (i.e. Gravitons, gluons, photons, and muons) are force carriers. How would this work? SIDE NOTE I heard that photons are the force carrier for electromagnetism. Wouldn't there be some light involved wherever magnets are used then? PLease don't think I;m stupid. I'm actually pretty good at physics. This was tripping me up however.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2012 #2


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    Hi! I'm certain someone else can give you a better answer, but I think I can point you in the right direction. As I understand, the forces, or rather fundamental interactions, are modeled using virtual particles (e.g. virtual photons), but they can also be modeled as force fields without carriers. Your question points towards virtual particles (see Force carrier). I'm afraid this answer probably will raise more questions, since virtual particles can be a little tricky to understand (I'm struggling with it myself). Regarding the magnet thing, this implies that virtual photons are involved (generally it's better to use the term electromagnetic radiation than light, since light implies only EM radiation visible to the human eye).

    Here is a FAQ regarding virtual particles: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Quantum/virtual_particles.html; you'll need some basic quantum mechanics to make use of it.

    I hope someone else drops in here, I'd like to understand more about virtual particles myself. :smile:
  4. Feb 15, 2012 #3


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