I know that in quantum mechanics the stronger the force, the shorter the range it mediates between (maybe I have problem in this postulation, if so please correct me). So how can gravitational forces be much weaker than electrostatic forces while both the graviton and photon are massless?

Maybe I have a problem understanding the relation between boson properties and the strongness of the force it mediates, can someone explain to me please if I have a problem with the basics.

  • $\begingroup$ Related/possible duplicates: physics.stackexchange.com/q/126967/50583 and its linked questions $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Jul 6, 2020 at 22:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There is no such rule. $\endgroup$
    – my2cts
    Jul 6, 2020 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ It's true that the weak nuclear force is "weak" compared to electromagnetism due to the fact that the W and Z bosons are massive, but there are other ways a force can be weak without having massive bosons $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2020 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ More on weakness of gravity: see links in physics.stackexchange.com/a/570443/226902 $\endgroup$
    – Quillo
    Mar 27, 2023 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


Massless (gauge) bosons only mean that the force is long-ranged, but have nothing to do with how strong the force is.

Understanding why the gravitational force is much weaker than the electromagnetic force (or any forces in a gauge theory) is still an open problem, but attempts to understand this are usually referred to as the "Weak Gravity Conjecture" (WGC). Here is the original WGC paper. There have been more recent attempts to derive the WGC from sensible physical principles like unitarity, causality, etc.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.