Title Page What is Grand Unified Theory?

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What is Grand Unified Theory?

      • Unified field theory is an attempt to describe all fundamental forces and the relationships between elementary particles in terms of a single theoretical framework.

Current Fundamental Forces

  • Electromagnetic

  • Weak

  • Strong

  • Gravity

The Road to Unification

The History of Grand Unified Theory

Electricity and Magnetism

  • Michael Faraday:

  • Born: September 22, 1791

  • Died: August 25, 1867

  • English physicist and

  • chemist whose many experiments

  • contributed greatly to the understanding of electromagnetism.

Electricity and Magnetism

  • James Maxwell

  • Born June 13, 1831, Edinburgh, Scotland died November 5, 1879, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

  • Scottish physicist best known for his formulation of electromagnetic theory.

  • Incorporated light and wave phenomena into electromagnetism

Electricity and Magnetism

  • In 1905 Einstein’s special theory of relativity showed that electricity and magnetism were link and that Maxwell was correct.

  • The single force of Electromagnetism is born.

Electroweak Force

  • Sheldon Glashow

  • Abdus Salam

  • Steven Weinberg

  • Each physicist independently found that the weak nuclear force could be unified with electromagnetic force.

Electroweak Force

  • At extremely high energies, 1015 GeV the electromagnetic and weak forces become the same.

  • The relationship is based on the exchange of four particles: the photon of EM interactions, two charged W particles and a neutral Z particle.

Electroweak Force

Strong Nuclear Force

  • Quantum Chromodynamics was developed to explain strong force during the 1970s.

  • Quarks are believed interact by exchanging gluons.

  • The hope is to use that similarity to unify strong with electroweak force.

  • The unification cannot be found because energy levels 1012 higher than those needed to develop the electroweak force are required to test further unification.

Strong Nuclear Force


  • Newton showed that both

  • astronomical and terrestrial motion could be explained with gravitation

  • In 1915 Einstein’s theory of general relativity was written.

  • Einstein spent 30 years trying to unify EM with gravity and failed.

The Future of the Grand Unified Theories


  • Gravity may be unified by superstring theory, which is the best theory right now for unification.

  • Higher energy experiments are needed to study the strong force and its unification with electroweak.

  • More study of electroweak is still needed. By using the simplest version of the theory a calculation was performed that determined a proton life several orders of magnitude too short, from 1029 to 1031 years.

  • Experiments show that the life of a proton is greater than 1032 years.


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    • College Publishing. 2000. Pg. 13, 494-496.
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