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In physics, the effect of any of the four fundamental forcesgravitational, electromagnetic, strong, and weak. All known natural forces can be traced to these fundamental interactions. Gravitation is the attractive force between any two objects that have mass; it causes objects to fall to the ground and maintains the orbits of planets around the Sun. Electromagnetic force is responsible for the attraction and repulsion between electric charges and explains the chemical behaviour of atoms and the properties of light. The strong force binds quarks together in protons, neutrons, and other hadrons and also holds the protons and neutrons of an atomic nucleus together, overcoming the repulsion of the positively charged protons for each other. The weak force is observed in certain forms of radioactive decay (seeradioactivity) and in reactions that fuel the Sun and other stars.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fundamental interaction, visit Britannica.com.
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