The following story is designed to teach some physics in an entertaining manner. A little artistic license has been taken to make the story more enjoyable to read. Although the story is not meant to be 100% literally accurate, it is essentially correct in its description of the forces between particles and the laws of motion. You can follow the hyperlinks to see which aspects of nature are being discussed.
About fourteen billion years ago
God got together the newly created subatomic particles and gave them
an orientation lecture.
“OK, guys, listen up, because I'm only gonna say this stuff one
time,” said God. “Welcome to the marvelous thing known as
physical existence. I bet you guys are wondering how loose the rules
are in this newly created thing known as the Universe. Well, I hate
to be a killjoy, but those of you who want to march to your own
drummer and go your own freaky funky way are in for a letdown.
Each and every one of you will be forced to follow a rigid set of
“Oh, damn!” said a disappointed individualistic proton.
“First, let's go over some of the laws of motion,” said God.
“I want you to follow these laws to the letter. The first law is
that, A, if you're just sitting there like a statue, then you got to
stay that way until something acts on you to start moving you; and,
B, if you do start moving for some reason, you got to stay moving at
the same speed unless something acts on you to make you go slower or
“You mean I can't just randomly go wherever I want whenever I
feel like it?” asked a crestfallen electron.
“No, you can't,” said God. “Now the second law of motion is
real simple – if something jolts you into moving, the heavier the
thing is, and the faster it was moving, the more force it will zap
you with if it hits you. Then the third law of motion is pretty much
that if some speeding thing jolts you, you move in the opposite
“Got it,” said a neutron.
“Now I got to discuss the rules about forces,” said God, “and
here's where things get kind of weird. The first force law is the law
of gravity. It works like this: each of you will have a
'gravitational' attraction toward all of your other fellow particles.
It's what I call an inverse square law, which means the closer you
are to some other particle, the more of an attraction there will be.”
“But I thought absence makes the heart grow fonder,” said an
electron. “So shouldn't we electrons have more of an attraction
towards other electrons that are farther away, which we can't see?”
“No, gravity doesn't work that way,” said God. “It works the
other way around.”
“OK,” said the electron.
“Now, the second force law is something that only applies to you
electrons and protons,” said God, “so you neutrons can amuse
yourselves as you wish while I'm explaining this.”
The neutrons started to play among themselves.
“Electrons, listen up,” said God. “Here's the deal: when
another electron is near, you will feel a force that tends to push
you apart. But if a proton is near, you will feel a force that tends to
push you together. In both cases, it's an inverse square law, so the
closer you are to each other, the greater the force will be.”
“That's crazy,” protested an electron. “It should work the
other way around. I should be attracted toward my fellow electrons,
cute little particles the same size as me, and I should run away from
big scary protons that are 1836 times more massive than me.”
“Hey, if you don't like it, go create your own universe,” said
God. “Now for you protons, it works like this: when another proton
is near, you will feel a force that tends to push you apart. But if
an electron is near, you will feel a force that tends to push you
together. In both cases, it's an inverse square law, so the closer
you are to each other, the greater the force will be.”
“So if I see a proton who looks just like me,” asked a
complaining proton, “I'll tend to run away from it, but if I see
some teensy measly little electron, I'll tend to rush toward it like
it was real important? A fine rule to follow! Sheesh!”
“Don't complain, it will all work out,” said God. “Now you
electrons, the next part doesn't apply to you, so you can amuse yourselves as you wish while I'm explaining it.
But you neutrons, and you protons, listen up now.”
The electrons started to play among themselves.
“Now there's one last important law,” said God. “This is
what I call the strong force law, but I should really just call it
the 'hug law.' It works like this. Whenever any of you protons or you
neutrons get real close to each other, so close you can smell each other,
then you have to hug the hell out of each other. I mean you got to
hug each other as strong as you would if you were both made out of
“Okay, I got it,” said a neutron.
“Oh, I forgot to mention something,” said God. “If a big
group of you guys ever concentrate yourself into too small a space,
you're gonna get trapped in a dark dense hole that you'll never be
able to get out of, so be careful, or you'll be toast.”
“Thanks for the warning,” said a proton.
“Okay, let's get started with this crazy thing we call an
expanding universe,” said God. “Hang on tight, because the beginning of this thing is going to be one hell of a ride. After the
explosive beginning, it will be real boring for you guys for billions
of years, but then things will start to get really interesting.
You'll get all tangled up together to make some really fascinating
things like mousetraps and ginger snaps.”