weak interactions

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weak nuclear force (weak interaction) One of the four fundamental forces in physics. It causes radioactive beta decay of particles. This weak force is carried by intermediate vector bosons, elementary particles that are also called weakons. Being of very short range, the weak nuclear force can be observed only in the subatomic realm. It is weaker than the electromagnetic force and the strong nuclear force (the strongest of the forces) but stronger than gravitation.

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W and Z particles,elementary particles that mediate, or carry, the fundamental force associated with weak interactions. The discovery of the W and Z particles at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, in the early 1980s was an important confirmation of electroweak theory, which unifies the electromagnetic and weak forces. The W and Z particles are quite massive for elementary particles; they are roughly 100 times as massive as the proton.