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Author Topic: What would be the consequences if electrons were bosons?  (Read 4629 times)

Offline Supercryptid

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Entertain my curiosity, if you will. Instead of the spin of 1/2 that the electron now has, let's change it and produce a Universe where the electron has a spin of 1. In order to keep things "consistent", let's also say that all of the other leptons have a spin of 1 as well. Let's not concentrate on any leptons other than the electron for now, though. The charge, mass and all other properties of the electron remain identical.

What consequences would this have for chemistry, matter, stars, life, etc? I suspect that it would be significant.

I'm going to make some postulates, and I strongly encourage anyone that knows better to correct my assumptions. Feel free to add your own postulates.

Since the electron is now a boson, it does not obey Pauli's exclusion principle. Many more than two electrons can now be fit into an atom's 1s orbital. Hydrogen and helium atoms would probably look very similar to how they look normally (1s1 and 1s2, respectively), but lithium is no longer 1s2 2s1, but rather 1s3. Likewise, carbon is now 1s6, iron is 1s26, and uranium is 1s92. Since all electrons now fit into the 1s orbital, atoms get smaller and smaller in atomic radius as their atomic number goes up (since no electrons go into higher orbitals in order to increase the atomic radius whenever we get to new alkali metals). Hydrogen is now the largest atom and the least dense material at STP. Since atoms get smaller and heavier as we go down the list of elements, the density of the elements also goes up and up.

Since any number of electrons can now fit into an orbital, the octet rule ceases to be true. All elements become highly reactive as if they were radicals; even the noble gases. Any chemical can now react with any other chemical. Any atom can now form bonds with as many atoms as can fit around it at one time. Hydrogen can now form 12 bonds with neighboring hydrogens (according to spherical close-packing). The same is true for other elements. At room temperature, hydrogen is no longer a diatomic gas, but a crystalline network solid formed of numerous covalent bonds with the crystal structure of a close-packed metal.

Life as we know it is now impossible. Water would also be a crystalline network solid because water molecules form covalent bonds to one-another due to the lack of an octet rule.

I'm not sure what effect this would have on stars, since they are heavily ionized. Maybe someone could enlighten me?

Also, I'm wondering if enough electrons can be squeezed into the 1s orbital to the point where their total negative electric charge forces any added electrons into a higher orbital? Or is my initial assumption true and any number of electrons can be squeezed into the 1s orbital as long as there is a balancing number of protons in the nucleus?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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What would be the consequences if electrons were bosons?
« Reply #1 on: 06/10/2008 14:35:29 »
It's more fundamental than that.  The elecrons would collapse onto the nucleus and everyting would be as dense as a neutron star. although the concept is difficult to follow through because other changes would probably have to take place to allow electrons to be bosons
 

lyner

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What would be the consequences if electrons were bosons?
« Reply #2 on: 06/10/2008 15:20:38 »
You might as well ask what would happen if the Moon were made of cheese. If electrons weren't the way they wouldn't be the only things which were different. You'd be talking about an entirely different Universe with different laws.
The electron was postulated to explain certain phenomena and it fits the bill quite well with the qualities we give it. Isn't that enough?

If three was the square root of four then two would have to be something else - possible the square root of nine. (That, of course, is a nonsense statement).

But, in the same way, if electrons were like you suggest, there would be something else which does the job of an electron and we would merely have used different names for different things. Our friendly old electron is a basic part of our description the structure of things.
 

Offline Supercryptid

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What would be the consequences if electrons were bosons?
« Reply #3 on: 07/10/2008 13:05:21 »
I guess the reason I did this was to try to discover how big of an impact the Pauli Exclusion Principle has on the tangibility of matter. I know that electric repulsion between electrons contributes to it, but I wasn't sure how much when compared to the formerly mentioned principle.
 

lyner

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What would be the consequences if electrons were bosons?
« Reply #4 on: 07/10/2008 14:46:33 »
Yes, it is a fascinating business.
With atomic structure I am at least familiar with the Maths and the Hydrogen Atom model can be seen to make sense, somewhat. The model and extensions take care of a lot of Chemical behaviour and physical structures.
I find the Nuclear structure thing a lot harder to deal with. The different forces and 'rules' are much more complex and seem more arbitrary too. Whereas you can look at atoms with mainly classical ideas, with the wave idea thrown in, in the nucleus there seem to very few parts of the model which work as you might naively expect.  There is a lot of name dropping and little else when people discuss nuclear matters.
 

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What would be the consequences if electrons were bosons?
« Reply #4 on: 07/10/2008 14:46:33 »

 

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