Posted by Dr. Science on 07/27/2012 in Question
Could you please explain the recently-discovered “fifth force” of nature?
———- from Les S. of Missoula, MT
First, let’s recap the other four forces. Gravity, magnetism and the two atomic charges. Now there are, of course, variations on these: the neutrino, quarks, anti-matter and superglue. But that’s basically it. The newly discovered fifth force is called force of habit, without which none of the others would even work. Why do we stay planted on the ground instead of flying off into space? Force of habit. Iron is attractred to magnets because it’s lazy. Atoms stay together because they have nothing better to do. When Galileo dropped a pound of feathers and a pound of lead from the Eiffel Tower, he wasn’t proving anything, really. He was just bored. If today, some scientists say Galileo is wrong and a feather drops faster than a rock, they’re just saying that because they need to say something … otherwise, they’ll lose their research grants. Then they’d be unemployed and even more bored.