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Fundamental interaction that underlies some forms of radioactivity and certain interactions between subatomic particles. It acts on all elementary particles that have a spin of . The particles interact weakly by exchanging particles that have integer spins. These particles have masses about 100 times that of a proton, and it is this relative massiveness that makes the weak force appear weak at low energies. For example, in radioactive decay, the weak force has a strength about 1/100,000 that of the electromagnetic force. However, it is now known that the weak force has intrinsically the same strength as the electromagnetic force, and the two are believed to be only different manifestations of a single electroweak force (seeelectroweak theory).
Variants of WEAK FORCE
weak force or weak nuclear force
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on weak force, visit Britannica.com.