Grand unification theories
Kim, Chung W. Department of Physics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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Attempts to unify three fundamental interactions—strong, electromagnetic, and weak—into one interaction at some very high energy. Also referred to as Grand Unified Theory, grand unification theories (GUTs) posit that three out of the four recognized fundamental interactions in nature, with the exception of gravity, are actually aspects of an underlying, more fundamental interaction. The theory aims to describe how the three forces split as the initially extreme energies and temperatures in the universe decreased in the trillionths of a trillionth of a second following the big bang (see illustration). Despite compelling theoretical evidence, experiments to date have not borne out GUTs. See also: Big bang theory; Electromagnetism; Energy; Fundamental interactions; Gravitation; Strong nuclear interactions; Temperature; Weak nuclear interactions
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