1. I was just wondering if the words "strong force" and "strong interaction" are interchangeable?

  2. Also, these are referring to "strong nuclear force", correct?

  3. Then what does it mean for particles to "interact via the strong force"?

  4. Also, where does the weak force come from?

  5. Does it only occur in interactions or is there another place where it is needed. For example, the strong force holds nucleons together in the nucleus.

  • $\begingroup$ strong force and strong interaction are not interchangeable. Strong interaction is a term that can be applied to any force if in fact a strong interaction between two particles or objects can be observed $\endgroup$
    – Jaywalker
    May 8, 2015 at 16:36
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Item (4) is completely unrelated to the others, and should be removed. It is answered in part by physics.stackexchange.com/q/142303 . $\endgroup$ May 8, 2015 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


In the context of nuclear or particle physics the phrase "the strong interaction" means the same thing as "the strong force". In fact we rarely write a formula for the strong force in the sense that we write Coulombs law for the electrostatic force. Both terms are refering to the strong nuclear force.

In the context of perturbation theory (or the lack of applicability of perturbation theory to a particular problem), you may here almost any interaction described as "strong" meaning that it is inappropriate to attempt a perturbative solution. In this case---also identified by Jaywalker in the comments---they are not the same thing.


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