The Forces

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The Four Fundamental Forces of Quantum Mechanics

And particles play a major role in our universe, by bringing with them four forces - two of these forces will most probably be familiar with you. The first will be the most well-known. It is called 'gravity.' The particle thought to be responsible for carrying the force of gravity in our universe, the 'graviton', has never been detected.

We all know gravity as the source that holds us to the surface of our planet. It keeps planets and galaxies orbiting their galactic centers. It seems like a strong force, however, it is according to physics, the weakest of the four fundamental forces. Gravitational Force is given a value of 1. The second is 'electromagnetic force.' This force allows electron to flow from atom to atom .with ease. It is this force that allows the electrons to move through a wire, for instance, and allows my television or desk lamp to work, and has a magnitude of 10^44-43.

The third force is the 'weak' - this force allows particle emissions and decays into other particles. It is believed that all particles decayed from the photon, which is a particle of light. The weak has a magnitude of 1/135.

The forth force, is the 'strong.' The strong force is responsible for keeping all fundamental particles together, such as the nucleus of protons and neutrons, which itself are made up of quarks. The force is mediated by a particle called the gluon.

Gluons are massless particles that mediate strong color charge interactions of quarks in 'Quantum Chromodynamics.' - thus the Gluon Luxen particle is responsible for reducing quarks into colorless states. The Gluon is a 'vector boson'; like the photon, it has a spin of 1 - all fundamental particles have spin. It is believed that these forces where once one united force called 'Quantum Gravity.' It was in the 19th century, the Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell proved that the force of electricity and magnetism where in fact two different aspects of a single force, we now come to call, electromagnetism.

In the 1970's physicists Abdus Salam Sheldon and Stephen Weinberg concluded that this force and the force responsible for radioactive decay, the weak force, was itself a counterpart of one whole force, the 'electroweak.' Thus, ever since, physicists are sure that all the forces where in fact a perfect united force at the beginning of time.

Unification and Renormalism

In the 1920’s, quantum mechanics worked well with molecules and atoms… this was because they had a finite number of degrees of freedom. However, whenever we worked with the electromagnetic force, all that was result was erroneous calculations, because the electromagnetic field was infinite within its own degrees of freedom; in other words, two degrees of freedom in any point in spacetime. We envision these points as being oscillators, each with its own position and momentum. It turned out that the oscillators could never be at rest because that would defy the Uncertainty Principle… Instead, the oscillators where assigned with zero-point fluctuations and even a non-zero energy! Whenever the little electron [wasn’t] being observed, the energies of all the infinite degrees of freedom would make the little bugger’s mass and charge to become infinite… This was settled eventually in the late 1940’s with a simple procedure called ‘Renormalization.’ It in simple extracted large numbers by subtracting them with other large numbers; infinities minus infinities. But the main goal was to leave a finite sum – a non-zero remainder

Originally though, the main task for increasing the energies used in labs today, was to unify the electromagnetic force with the weak force. But it hadn’t always been like this. During the 1950’s, it was generally considered that the weak and strong nuclear forces were not renormalizable… Strangely enough, if one wanted to renormalize the weak or strong forces, one had to make an infinite number of subtractions with an infinite amount of finite remainders. This was not good. But an answer came about to solve the incongruity. Gerard t’ Hooft showed that the electromagnetic force and the weak force in a unified model was in fact renormalizable. In this theory, the Spin-1 electromagnetic quanta (the photon) was in fact followed by three other Spin-1 particles, the W+, W- and Z^0.

The unification of gravity with the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces have been neglected, partly due to the fact that gravity is so weak to experiment with. Also, because the energies required to unify gravity into the model go way higher than anything capable in today’s particle colliders. The strong force will be unified one day I presume, when colliders are able to generate much more power. With the weak unification of electromagnetism, and renormalization working for the theory, scientists searched for similar ways to unify the strong force with the other forces. As we already know, the strong forces are actually carried by quarks (which are supertiny objects that come in two’s or three’s, and make up all of the fundamental matter) and a special type of energy called gluon plasma. The renormalization theory for quarks and gluons are called Quantum Chromodynamics.

Electron Vaultage

100 GeV (which is a billion electron volts) is suffice in unifying the electromagnetic force with the weak force. But as I said, enormous numbers are in consideration when unifying all of this with the strong force. So… particle accelerators are being constructed with much more power than the last generation of accelerators, and this will continue. Of course, these energies are worrying for some physicists, as we have seen. And a lot of worry seems to be being generated from Prof. Hawkings vision to create black holes at CERN.