First Seconds

Ghostscript 24 bit color image dump

Ghostscript 24 bit color image dump

Planck Epoch

The earliest period of time in the history of the universe. It is believed that at this point all of the “fundamental forces” (the interactions in physical systems that do not appear to be reducible to more basic interactions) of our universe, may have been unified. These ” fundamental forces” consist of  four conventionally accepted basic interactions.

Fundamental Forces

  • Gravitational: The Weakest of the four interactions. It is believed that during the Plank Epoch it was as strong as the other three forces.


  • Is the only interaction that acts on all particles having mass, energy and/or momentum

  • Has an infinite range, like electromagnetism but unlike strong and weak interaction

  • Cannot be absorbed, transformed, or shielded against

  • Always attracts and never repels. 

  • Electromagnetic: The force that acts between electrically charged particles.


  • Is infinite-ranged like gravity, but vastly stronger, and therefore describes a number of macroscopic phenomena of everyday experience such as friction, rainbows, lightning, and all human-made devices using electric current, such as television, lasers, and computers.

  • Fundamentally determines all macroscopic, and many atomic levels, properties of the chemical elements, including all chemical bonding.

  • Strong Nuclear:  The most complicated interaction, mainly because of the way it varies with distance. At distances greater than 10 femtometers, the strong force is practically unobservable. Moreover, it holds only inside the atomic nucleus.

Strong Nuclear Force:

  • Acts between quarks. Unlike all other forces, the strong force does not diminish in strength with increasing distance. After a limiting distance (about the size of a hadron) has been reached, it remains at a strength of about 10,000 newtons, no matter how much farther the distance between the quarks. In simple terms, the very energy applied to pull two quarks apart will create a pair of new quarks that will pair up with the original ones.

  • The residual strong force is a minor residuum of the strong force that binds quarks together into protons and neutrons. This same force is much weaker between neutrons and protons, because it is mostly neutralized within them, in the same way that electromagnetic forces between neutral atoms are much weaker than the electromagnetic forces that hold the atoms internally together.

  • Weak Nuclear:  The force is termed weak because its field strength over a given distance is typically several orders of magnitude less than that of the strong nuclear force and electromagnetic force.

Weak Nuclear Force:

  • Responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles, and it plays an essential role in nuclear fission.

  •  Is the only interaction capable of changing the flavor of quarks (i.e., of changing one type of quark into another).

  • Is propagated by carrier particles (known as gauge bosons) that have significant masses.

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