[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #48                10-6-87
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
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                            (c) 1987

   Ahhh, another guest issue. This time the author is Alan 
Hamilton. It involves a new force in physics that has been 
discovered recently. 
   It's a bit shorter than the usual issues. But then it was 
slammed together in a hurry. Alan happened to mention the 
idea to me in mail, asking if I'd heard about it. I hadn't, 
and so obviously jumped on him to tell me more. That ended 
up with my conning him into doing an issue for the magazine 
so we could all learn and take part. 
   In a matter of days he put this together.
   Hmmm. Maybe I have competition?

                     A NEW FORCE IN PHYSICS


                          Alan Hamilton

   In the past few weeks, there has been a bit of an uproar 
in the physics world.  A new fundamental force of nature has 
been announced.
   Now don't give me that "So, what?"  This is important.  For 
many years, only four have been known about, and there was 
considerable belief that that was all there were.  This may 
be the key to a unified field theory -- a theory that might 
tie together all of the forces of nature, much like electricity 
and magnetism are tied together.  But, before I go into all 
that, here's a quick review of the original four forces.

   GRAVITY.  This one is pretty obvious, and very familiar.  This 
force is an attraction between any two objects that have mass, 
and is proportional to the masses of the objects.  That means 
that a massive object is heavier that a less massive object.  
Thus, a bowling ball is heavier than a ping-pong ball.  Like 
I said, this is all pretty familiar.
   It is generally believed that each of the fundamental forces 
is carried by its own individual particle, and in gravity's case, 
this is the gravitron.  The gravitron has not been directly 
detected, though. The gravitron is believed to have no mass, 
and thus travels at the speed of light, like all massless 
particles do.  The gravitron does not seem to decay at all, so 
gravity is a very long ranged force.  It has to be, since it is 
what holds clusters of galaxies together, over billions of light 
   There is a theory out that says that there is an antiparticle 
for the gravitron, just as there are for normal matter.  In fact 
it is antimatter that they think gives these antigravitrons off.  
This may have one of two effects: super gravity, a stronger than 
normal attraction; or antigravity, a repulsive force.  Yes, I said 
"antigravity."  That in itself is rather extraordinary.  Who 
knows?  We just may have antigravity yet.

   ELECTROMAGNETIC.  This, too, is pretty familiar.  It includes
electricity, magnetism, radio waves, light, gamma radiation, 
infrared, and ultraviolet.  This force is carried by photons.  
These are easily detected, and are well understood.  As magnetism, 
it can exert either an attractive or repulsive force.  As radio 
waves, it can induce electricity in wires; as infrared, it can 
heat up objects; as light and ultraviolet, it can induce chemical 
reactions; as gamma rays, it can cause nuclear reactions.
   Photons, like gravitrons, do not decay over time, so the
electromagnetic force is a long range force, too.  We can detect 
radio waves and light from stars that are billions of light years 

   WEAK NUCLEAR FORCE.  This one is much less familiar.  This 
force is involved in radioactive decay, where an electron combines 
with a proton to create a neutron and a neutrino.  This force is 
extremely short ranged; .000000000000000001 meters (10^-18 meters), 
to be precise.  That makes it useless for any distance larger than 
an atom's nucleus.  This force is carried by three kinds of 
particles: W+, Zo, and W-.  This force is responsible for ordinary 
radioactivity, where one element decays into another.

   STRONG NUCLEAR FORCE.  Again, not a very familiar force.  When 
you learned in school that an atomic nucleus was made up positively 
charged protons, and like charges repel each other, you might have 
asked why, then, doesn't the nucleus fly apart?  (I asked it, 
anyway.)  The answer is, the strong force holds them together.  
This force works over 100 times the distance that the weak force 
does, making its range .000000000000001 meters (10^-15 meters).  
The particles involved in this force are called gluons, since they 
are the "glue" that holds the nucleus together.  Be glad this 
force exists; otherwise you would fly apart into your individual 
protons, neutrons, and electrons.  This force is most commonly 
manifested in atomic explosions, atomic reactors, and atomic 
fusion.  It shows itself in nature in stars.

   THE UNIFIED FIELD THEORY.  It is strongly believed that these 
forces are not totally separate.  For example, weak reactions can 
give off gamma rays, an electromagnetic force.  This implies a 
connection, called the electroweak force.  There is some evidence 
to support the electroweak force's existence, but nothing is 
certain yet.  Likewise, there is support for an electronuclear 
reaction.  But, now, what you have been waiting for.....

   THE NEW FORCE.  This force, currently unnamed, is a repulsive 
force exerted between two objects.  This force is unique in a 
couple of ways. First, it is a medium range force, with a range 
of about 1000 meters. All the other forces are extremely long 
ranged, or extremely short ranged.  Secondly, it is dependent on 
the chemical composition of the objects involved.  Some believe 
that the strength is governed by the hypercharge of an atom (the 
number of protons plus the number of neutrons), others think that 
it is based on the isospin (the number of neutrons minus the 
number of protons).
   One particular experiment to test this forces goes like this:  
Make a ring, with one half made out of aluminum, and the other 
half out of beryllimum.  Hang this ring horizontally next to a 
cliff on a wire long enough to have a negligible resistance to 
twisting.  With only gravity, the entire ring would swing slightly 
towards the cliff.  But in fact, the aluminum half rotates toward 
the cliff.

   The article on the new force that I found was nontechnical, so 
that's all I know so far.  As it is, there may be other discoveries 
about it, too.  What does all this mean, anyway?  It may be just 
a laboratory curiosity; but it might mean more.  If it leads to a 
unified field theory, it may have a big impact.  At this time, 
it's really hard to tell.  Any questions?  Feel free to ask me.

   Most of this material is based on an Associated Press article 
that ran in the September 29, 1987 *Arizona Republic*. Additional 
information came from *The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science 
and Technology*, 1987 edition.

Until Next Time

   To many of you it might seem unimportant that a new force in 
physics has been discovered. Obviously the force is weak enough 
to have gone relatively unnoticed for all this time. So what 
does it mean?
   That new force probably won't be useful for driving your car 
down the street (but who knows?). It might not operate the lights 
in your home or power up your computer. 
   What it DOES do is give us a better understanding of the 
universe around us. Quite often what seem to be unimportant 
discoveries lead to greater things. 
   Next time?
   Imagine yourself as a 7-year-old child, living peacefully and 
happily at home with your family. One day a group of soldiers 
pounds on your door and tells you that they have a need for your 
house. You have to leave. 
   This happens not once but several times until your family 
has nothing left. In fact, there's not much of your family left. 
Your grandfather was dragged from the house and hung. An uncle 
was arrested on the street, accused of espionage and executed. 
Your father was charged with sabotage because he couldn't fix a 
burned out and burnt up machine. 
   It's a true story. And it's coming next time around. 

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.