According to our present knowledge there are four fundamental interactions in nature: gravity, electromagnetism, weak interaction, and strong interaction. Electromagnetism and weak interaction are unified in the electroweak theory. Gravity as well as electromagnetism are macroscopic phenomena, immediately present in our everyday life, like falling objects and static electricity. Weak and strong nuclear interactions, on the other hand, become only important on the microscopic, atomic, and subatomic levels.

The most important aspect of the strong interaction is that it provides stability to the nucleus overcoming electric repulsion, whereas the transmutation of neutrons into protons is the most well-known weak phenomenon. The aim of fundamental physics may be described as obtaining a deeper understanding of these interactions, and penultimately finding a unified framework, which understands the different interactions as different aspects of a single truly fundamental interaction.