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International collaboration in this area is moving into space with the joint EU/US project LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). Earthquakes and other Earthly noises will be no problem for these monitoring spacecraft. LISA will complement LIGO by looking at much more massive black holes through the observation of gravitational-wave sources emitting much larger wavelengths. Three satellites will be placed in space above Earth in an equilateral triangle (with 5,000,000-km sides) ( [link] ). The system will measure the relative positions of each satellite to detect passing gravitational waves. Accuracy to within 10% of the size of an atom will be needed to detect any waves. The launch of this project might be as early as 2018.

“I’m sure LIGO will tell us something about the universe that we didn’t know before. The history of science tells us that any time you go where you haven’t been before, you usually find something that really shakes the scientific paradigms of the day. Whether gravitational wave astrophysics will do that, only time will tell.” —David Reitze, LIGO Input Optics Manager, University of Florida

NASA illustration of LISA, showing three spacecrafts positioned in orbits that form a triangular formation. The triangular formation is positioned to the left of the Sun, Earth, and Moon in the diagram. Figure not to scale.
Space-based future experiments for the measurement of gravitational waves. Shown here is a drawing of LISA’s orbit. Each satellite of LISA will consist of a laser source and a mass. The lasers will transmit a signal to measure the distance between each satellite’s test mass. The relative motion of these masses will provide information about passing gravitational waves. (credit: NASA)

The ideas presented in this section are but a glimpse into topics of modern physics that will be covered in much greater depth in later chapters.


  • The various types of forces that are categorized for use in many applications are all manifestations of the four basic forces in nature.
  • The properties of these forces are summarized in [link] .
  • Everything we experience directly without sensitive instruments is due to either electromagnetic forces or gravitational forces. The nuclear forces are responsible for the submicroscopic structure of matter, but they are not directly sensed because of their short ranges. Attempts are being made to show all four forces are different manifestations of a single unified force.
  • A force field surrounds an object creating a force and is the carrier of that force.

Conceptual questions

Explain, in terms of the properties of the four basic forces, why people notice the gravitational force acting on their bodies if it is such a comparatively weak force.

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What is the dominant force between astronomical objects? Why are the other three basic forces less significant over these very large distances?

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Give a detailed example of how the exchange of a particle can result in an attractive force. (For example, consider one child pulling a toy out of the hands of another.)

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Problem exercises

(a) What is the strength of the weak nuclear force relative to the strong nuclear force? (b) What is the strength of the weak nuclear force relative to the electromagnetic force? Since the weak nuclear force acts at only very short distances, such as inside nuclei, where the strong and electromagnetic forces also act, it might seem surprising that we have any knowledge of it at all. We have such knowledge because the weak nuclear force is responsible for beta decay, a type of nuclear decay not explained by other forces.

(a) 1 × 10 13 size 12{1 times "10" rSup { size 8{ - "13"} } } {}

(b) 1 × 10 11 size 12{1 times "10" rSup { size 8{ - "11"} } } {}

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(a) What is the ratio of the strength of the gravitational force to that of the strong nuclear force? (b) What is the ratio of the strength of the gravitational force to that of the weak nuclear force? (c) What is the ratio of the strength of the gravitational force to that of the electromagnetic force? What do your answers imply about the influence of the gravitational force on atomic nuclei?

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What is the ratio of the strength of the strong nuclear force to that of the electromagnetic force? Based on this ratio, you might expect that the strong force dominates the nucleus, which is true for small nuclei. Large nuclei, however, have sizes greater than the range of the strong nuclear force. At these sizes, the electromagnetic force begins to affect nuclear stability. These facts will be used to explain nuclear fusion and fission later in this text.

10 2 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{2} } } {}

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Questions & Answers

What does mean ohms law imply
Victoria Reply
what is matter
folajin Reply
Anything that occupies space
Any thing that has weight and occupies space
Anything which we can feel by any of our 5 sense organs
what is a sulphate
any answers
the time rate of increase in velocity is called
Blessing Reply
What is uniform velocity
Greetings,users of that wonderful app.
Frank Reply
how to solve pressure?
Cruz Reply
how do we calculate weight and eara eg an elefant that weight 2000kg has four fits or legs search of surface eara is 0.1m2(1metre square) incontact with the ground=10m2(g =10m2)
can someone derive the formula a little bit deeper?
what is coplanar force?
what is accuracy and precision
Peace Reply
How does a current follow?
Vineeta Reply
which one dc or ac current.
how does a current following?
AC current
AC current follows due to changing electric field and magnetic field.
you guys are just saying follow is flow not follow please
ok bro thanks
but i wanted to understand him/her in his own language
but I think the statement is written in English not any other language
my mean that in which form he/she written this,will understand better in this form, i write.
ok thanks bro. my mistake
u are welcome
what is a semiconductor
Vineeta Reply
substances having lower forbidden gap between valence band and conduction band
what is a conductor?
replace lower by higher only
convert 56°c to kelvin
How does a current follow?
A semiconductor is any material whose conduction lies between that of a conductor and an insulator.
what is Atom? what is molecules? what is ions?
Abubakar Reply
What is a molecule
Samuel Reply
Is a unit of a compound that has two or more atoms either of the same or different atoms
A molecule is the smallest indivisible unit of a compound, Just like the atom is the smallest indivisible unit of an element.
what is a molecule?
what is a vector
smith Reply
A quantity that has both a magnitude AND a direction. E.g velocity, acceleration, force are all vector quantities. Hope this helps :)
what is the difference between velocity and relative velocity?
Velocity is the rate of change of displacement with time. Relative velocity on the other hand is the velocity observed by an observer with respect to a reference point.
what do u understand by Ultraviolet catastrophe?
A certain freely falling object, released from rest, requires 1.5seconds to travel the last 30metres before it hits the ground. (a) Find the velocity of the object when it is 30metres above the ground.
A vector is a quantity that has both magnitude and direction
the velocity Is 20m/s-2
derivation of electric potential
Rugunda Reply
V = Er = (kq/r^2)×r V = kq/r Where V: electric potential.
what is the difference between simple motion and simple harmonic motion ?
simple harmonic motion is a motion of tro and fro of simple pendulum and the likes while simple motion is a linear motion on a straight line.
a body acceleration uniform from rest a 6m/s -2 for 8sec and decelerate uniformly to rest in the next 5sec,the magnitude of the deceleration is ?
Patricia Reply
The wording not very clear kindly
the magnitude of deceleration =-9.8ms-2. first find the final velocity using the known acceleration and time. next use the calculated velocity to find the size of deceleration.
Firstly, calculate final velocity of the body and then the deceleration. The final ans is,-9.6ms-2
8x6= 48m/-2 use v=u + at 48÷5=9.6
can i define motion like this motion can be define as the continuous change of an object or position
Shuaib Reply
Any object in motion will come to rest after a time duration. Different objects may cover equal distance in different time duration. Therefore, motion is defined as a change in position depending on time.
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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