Chapter

Forces of Nature

Gian Francesco Giudice

in A Zeptospace Odyssey: A Journey into the Physics of the LHC

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199581917
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723001 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581917.003.0003
Forces of Nature

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A remarkable result of modern science has been to show that not only all forms of matter can be ascribed to a few fundamental elements, but also all natural phenomena, in their variety and complexity, can be reduced to four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, weak, and strong interactions. This chapter describes the nature of these forces. The gravitational force, first identified by Newton, is understood today in terms of Einstein's general relativity. This theory interprets gravity as the effect of the distortion of space and time caused by any form of mass or energy. Electromagnetism unifies electric and magnetic phenomena into a simple theory. This chapter recounts the discovery of the weak force through beta radioactivity, the neutrino, and Fermi's theory. It presents the story of the discovery of the strong force that binds together protons and neutrons inside the atomic nucleus.

Keywords: forces; gravity; electromagnetism; weak force; neutrino; strong force; pion; muon

Chapter.  8434 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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