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The basic forces in nature
Contemporary Physics Education Project

Fundamental Forces

The interactions in the Universe are governed by four forces (strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravitational).

Physicists are trying to find one theory that would describe all the forces in nature as a single law. So far they have succeeded in producing a single theory that describes the weak and electromagnetic forces (called electroweak force). The strong and gravitational forces are not yet described by this theory.

FUNDAMENTAL FORCES

Interaction Relative Strength Range Mediating Particle
Strong 1 Short Gluon
Electromagnetic 0.0073 Long Photon
Weak 10-9 Very Short W,Z
Gravitational 10-38 Long Graviton

Table courtesy of University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario (Cananda)

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA