I'm pretty sure I've used this topic before, but not with PollDaddy. And while I really ought to do a ResearchBlogging post today to make it a clean sweep for the week, I just don't have the energy.
So here's a poll: what's your favorite fundamental force?
Those of us with corporeal existence should restrict our answers to the low-energy condition of the present material universe, not any of the higher energy unification scales.
You missed Stupidity from the list.
Magnetism is my favourite force, but I don't like the electro part.
Stupidity isn't a force, it's an emergent property of complex systems.
You call Sarah Palin complex?
Can someone who chose the weak nuclear force please explain their selection? The weak force bugs me, since it violates all of my favorite symmetries and conservation laws.
I chose the strong force, by the way, since I do research in QCD.
1) Gravity sucks, literally. So it's out (also, it's soooo weak).
2) Strong nuclear force is strong, but is too short-ranged. Still, it's strong.
3) Electromagnetism is boring. But it makes all the chemistry work.
4) Weak force is weak. But it's responsible for all elements heavier than iron. And I really like nuclear weapons (let's nuke the world and see how it glows!!!).
So it's a choice between weak force and strong force for me.
No Star Wars joke? Sometimes the low hanging fruit is the most flavorful.
I'll catch some flak for calling this a "fundamental force", but: my favorite "force" is the degeneracy pressure that keeps white dwarfs from collapsing. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_degeneracy_pressure, and this quote:
Electron degeneracy pressure is a consequence of the Pauli exclusion principle, which states that two fermions cannot occupy the same quantum state at the same time. The force provided by this pressure sets a limit on the extent to which matter can be squeezed together without it collapsing into a neutron star or black hole.>/i>
The article explains e.g. how the resistance to compression prevents the star's gravity from compressing the freed electrons together in an ever smaller volume. Sure, electrons are charged but this effect goes beyond simple electrostatic repulsion - wouldn't it work in principle, even if electrons had no charge? (And surely, it works for neutral particles?) Electrical repulsion would work according to other, classical rules about charge volume. And DP really is a force, since it can oppose another force. So I don't know why it isn't considered a fundamental force. I know, it's a different kind of category but counts as far as I'm concerned, and I like the cool way it works.
@8 is forgiven because the strong nuclear force is not fundamental. Interesting (particularly when it comes to keeping neutron stars from collapsing), but not fundamental. QCD is fundamental. Maybe.
@6: Anything with vector differential operators is fun, so I don't see how you can call electromagnetism boring. Further, nuclear weapons depend more on electromagnetism (the energy release is essentially coulomb energy) than the strong force and not at all on the weak force.
CCPhysicist, I don't quite get your point. The degeneracy pressure is not about nuclear force, but the latter is stated to be one of the four "fundamental forces": gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear. The DP is more about white dwarves (dwarfs?), than neutron stars (which form when it is overcome.)
don't forget centrifrugal forces.
I find it really amusing that (at the time of this comment) we have exactly twice as many beings of pure energy voting as people who like the weak nuclear force.
My readers are pretty awesome.
I'll go with electromagnetism. It's the only fundamental force we thoroughly understand and are capable of manipulating freely. This is of course mainly because it's so ubiqituous and because all the processes that determine what we and our immediate neighbourhood are, can be ultimitalely reduced to this force. (Nuclear forces play a very limited role in everyday life, and gravity is just what is keeping us to the ground basically, plus we can't do much with it.)
I'm sure David Morgan-Mar has more horses who do photography for Nat Geo reading his webcomic, than you have beings of pure energy.
I think I'll have to say the weak force, and then try to learn something more about it. β-decay is interesting, though.
No choice of The One Unified Force to Rule Them All?
Gravity, definitely. I mean, can you think about anything cooler than space-time curvature, gravitational waves, black-holes and time travel ?