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Author Topic: From where do particles get their charge?  (Read 16279 times)

SciencBoy

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From where do particles get their charge?
« on: 27/11/2010 16:30:07 »
SciencBoy asked the Naked Scientists:
   
If you read about electrical forces you get things like:
 
The electron is negatively charged.
The proton is positively charged.
Like charges repel; unlike charges attract.
 
My question(s) is what produces this charge, what is its nature, how do like charges repel and unlike charges attract--what is the mechanism?
 
Is the nature of charge or charge interaction associated with some field interaction or exchange of or transformation of associated particles?
 
For that matter, what is the fundamental nature of the electron?
Does it have a structure?

It has a mass but what is its thingness?
 
How is space or spacetime involved?
 
OK, that's enough for starters.
 
Your insights are appreciated.
 
Sincerely,
 
Alan Schein

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/11/2010 16:30:07 by _system »


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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From where do particles get their charge?
« Reply #1 on: 27/11/2010 23:41:01 »
That is a lot of questions!  They are all very good questions.  Like all really good questions most of them are not fully answered at the moment.

Funnily enough we probably have a better grasp on gravity than electrical charge.  This can be seen as a distortion of space time. But it is a very small distortion in most parts of our universe as it is at the moment.

Fundamental particles have three main properties  mass (gravitational effect)  charge (electromagnetic effect) and spin (angular momentum effect)  there are two other sorts of forces the strong and weak interactions but both of these have now been linked to the electromagnetic interaction in the standard models involving point particles.

The vast range of string and loop theories show possible ways of linking gravity into this model with charge but at the moment no one knows how to decide which one or group is likely to be correct.

We can easily see the effects of charge and measure them using particle colliders and the electromagnetic behaviour of matter is well understood on the small scale but less well understood on the very large scale.  It is only recently that the effects of tiny magnetic fields operating on a galactic scale are being considered.

Gravitational effects are totally negligible on the small scale of particle physics that we can observe however they are very important on the scale of planets stars and galaxies and quite well understood on these scales.

Angular momentum effects are in some ways the poor relation and are often forgotten and very difficult to observe in isolation from charge in the small scale (neutrinos have no charge only spin angular momentum and most can shoot straight through the sun without interacting!).  It is my opinion that only when these effects are properly studied and understood that we will be able to put the whole thing together properly. 

The important thing to remember is that Planck's constant which is the most important number that links quantum theory has the dimensions of angular momentum and if you want anything to describe the basics of "thingness" it is angular momentum as a process for localising and fixing "energy" (which normally always travels at the speed of light) and allowing it to be stationary and localised.

There are several ideas flying around about this but nothing has a solid general acceptance yet.

« Last Edit: 27/11/2010 23:56:03 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline tbarron

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From where do particles get their charge?
« Reply #2 on: 28/11/2010 00:03:18 »
Science has answered some of your questions, but not all of them.

Have you also read that there are four forces of nature? They are gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force.

An electromagnetic charge generates an electric field and a magnetic field. You can understand the attraction between an electron and a proton or the repulsion between two electrons as an interaction between the fields generated by the two particles.

The force can also be understood as being mediated by photons. The photon is called the "quantum" of electromagnetism, meaning it's the smallest unit EM energy comes in.

An electron can emit a photon (and lose some of its energy) and electrons can absorb photons (and thereby become more energetic). Protons can absorb and emit photons as well -- that's how they interact with electrons. The photon is the "messenger particle" or "force carrier" of the electromagnetic force.

Visible light is a narrow range of frequencies of EM energy. Radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and X-rays are all different frequency ranges of EM energy.

What is the nature of that energy? I don't think anyone can really say. Some of the components (electrons, protons, photons, quarks, gluons, etc.) have been identified, but the nature of those components is still a matter of speculation at this point. We know that protons are composed of quarks and we know there are six kinds of quarks and we even know the electrical charges of the quarks that make up protons and neutrons.

However, electrons are much smaller than protons and most of physicists usually still treat electrons as dimensionless mathematical points. How do you get a charge out of something with no size? Who knows?

String theory says that all the particles (protons, quarks, electrons, etc.) are tiny vibrating strings. What are the strings made of? What's their structure or nature? Who knows?

The size of a hydrogen atom is on the order of 10^-11 or 10^-12 meters. The nucleus of the hydrogen atom (a proton and neutron) is about 1/100000th that size, so about 10^-17 meter. An electron is about 1/2000th the mass of the proton, so we might expect it to be in the neighborhood of 10^-20 meter.

From what I've read, string theory seems to indicate that a lot happens down around the Planck length, around 10^-35 meter. That's about as much smaller than a proton as a proton is smaller than a human body (or something about a meter long). Each ratio is around 10^-17. So there's plenty of room there for the electron to *have* structure. It's just too small for us to "see" with current technology. Even with advances in technology, probing what happens at smaller scales is problematic because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

At each level of scale, some questions are answered, but more have to be asked. Knowing that protons are made of quarks tells us something, but it doesn't tell us in a fundamental way what quarks are. Or whether electrons have structure. Or where their charge comes from. Or what a photon is. Or what energy is.

I hope this helps...
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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From where do particles get their charge?
« Reply #3 on: 28/11/2010 02:35:22 »
ScienceBoy, there is at present no answer to your question. All science can do is tell us what the electron does not of what it is made. My own guess, an electric field warped into a torus. This would appear to an observer as a changing electric field which would produce charge.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #4 on: 29/11/2010 05:01:41 »
I don't know if you any quantum field theory, but some of us know of an equation:

Dψ=dψ+ieAψ

if ψ is some spinor field (an electron) then ieAψ is an interaction term on the gauge field A where e is the presence of the charge of the particle. It is an inherent property of a moving mass where e is not equal to zero, and it is an intrinsic property for matter, taking values of either -1 or +1.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #5 on: 29/11/2010 16:23:58 »
So does this suggest the electron could have both positive and negative charge at the same time?
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #6 on: 29/11/2010 17:35:39 »
Yes, initially The Dirac equation resulted in an electron having both a positive and a negative charge, however, it came to be his work discovered a new type of particle called the positron, an electron antipartner which would contain a positive charge. The electrons which run through the wire in the kitchen have a negative charge, but when created an electron, there is a left moving particle which will contain a positive charge, so yes, correctly deducted.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #7 on: 29/11/2010 19:33:56 »
Suppose you held a straight piece of wire between your thumb and index finger. Now roll the wire with your thumb moving away from your face. Now imagine the wire turning like that at a high rate of speed. Now connect the two ends of the wire together. This is how I imagine the electron but it's made of an electric field not wire. If this were true it would have both a positive and negative field like the Stern-Gerlach experiment suggests.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #8 on: 30/11/2010 01:03:45 »
Suppose you held a straight piece of wire between your thumb and index finger. Now roll the wire with your thumb moving away from your face. Now imagine the wire turning like that at a high rate of speed. Now connect the two ends of the wire together. This is how I imagine the electron but it's made of an electric field not wire. If this were true it would have both a positive and negative field like the Stern-Gerlach experiment suggests.

You misinterpret the identity of what we are dealing with here. This is not the same phenomenon of collecting electrons and placing them into magnetic fields. This process involves the relationship between dual-particle creation, and how a certain symmetry is performed on the charge of the particle, meaning not only is an electron created from some source of energy but also a anti-electron is created which continues to be be quantum mechanically-entangled.

 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #9 on: 30/11/2010 03:39:27 »
I think almost everyone has misinterpreted the electron because that is what we were taught. If the experts can't tell us what the electron is made of and call it a point particle because they can't then my explanation is better than theirs.
 

Offline JP

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« Reply #10 on: 30/11/2010 05:44:53 »
I think almost everyone has misinterpreted the electron because that is what we were taught. If the experts can't tell us what the electron is made of and call it a point particle because they can't then my explanation is better than theirs.

I'd propose this reason instead:
If their theories can be tested and used to model the real world, then their theories are better than yours.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #11 on: 30/11/2010 16:25:02 »
They have absolutely no idea what the electron is made of and yet their idea is better, Ok that makes all the sense in the world to me. Thank you, my understanding is so much better now. There are or have been thousands of particle physicists who have spent their lives and billions upon billions of dollars trying to prove the morass that we call the standard model is correct. Do you think that those people would ever admit the path they have chosen is wrong? Not on your life and definitely not on theirs. Matter is made of energy, that's my story and I'm stick'n to it.
« Last Edit: 30/11/2010 16:27:18 by Ron Hughes »
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #12 on: 30/11/2010 16:40:33 »
BYT, the circumference of the tube(electric field) that makes up the torus is 4.12 X 10^-13 meters. I don't know what the circumference of the torus itself is yet but I'm working on it.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #13 on: 30/11/2010 17:47:08 »
They have absolutely no idea what the electron is made of and yet their idea is better, Ok that makes all the sense in the world to me. Thank you, my understanding is so much better now. There are or have been thousands of particle physicists who have spent their lives and billions upon billions of dollars trying to prove the morass that we call the standard model is correct. Do you think that those people would ever admit the path they have chosen is wrong? Not on your life and definitely not on theirs. Matter is made of energy, that's my story and I'm stick'n to it.

Pointlike systems are only retained within the theory because if a true classical angular spin existed it would need to rotate around its axes many times the speed of light, which is forbidden by classical relativity. Nevertheless, whether this is a true definition of spin or not, what is for certain that the EM equations of QM have been very successful, some have noted the most successful theory ever created by man. Also, whether or not thee electron has an internal structure has nothing to do with the OP, or your question concerning the spinor fields, which you refuted niavely.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #14 on: 01/12/2010 00:08:01 »
You can ignore the issue that you cannot tell us of what the electron is made. I gave you a possible description of an electron that does not require spin. You know the standard model people should be asking themselves SciencBoy's question. The fact that they cannot answer it presents a credibility issue. Why try to cover it up with explanations as to why you can't?
 

Offline JP

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« Reply #15 on: 01/12/2010 04:19:13 »
You can ignore the issue that you cannot tell us of what the electron is made. I gave you a possible description of an electron that does not require spin. You know the standard model people should be asking themselves SciencBoy's question. The fact that they cannot answer it presents a credibility issue. Why try to cover it up with explanations as to why you can't?

Ron, you keep pushing your ideas about the electron, but offer no mathematical rigor to back any of it up.  It's not science if it's a conceptual model that doesn't offer predictive value or match observations quantitatively.  The fact that you keep offering it as a real scientific answer is just confusing to people who post here asking questions about science.

You also keep arguing against mainstream physics (whatever that is), by saying it doesn't explain everything.  Of course it doesn't!  The standard model isn't valid for describing things below the Planck length.  But for things larger than that it seems to be a very accurate model with a lot of rigorous mathematics which allow it to be checked against physical reality.  This is what your ideas are lacking.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #16 on: 01/12/2010 13:49:19 »
You can ignore the issue that you cannot tell us of what the electron is made. I gave you a possible description of an electron that does not require spin. You know the standard model people should be asking themselves SciencBoy's question. The fact that they cannot answer it presents a credibility issue. Why try to cover it up with explanations as to why you can't?

You gave me no such description, nothing quantitative anyway.

Also how do you explain a particle that does not have a spin? I take it you mean an electron devoid of a classical and non-classical spin? Experimental evidence points to the idea that such an angular momentum exists, and acts analogous to what we would call a classical spin. The problem as I have expalined however, the classical spin is violated by SR. If you think angular momentum is caused by something else, it would be nice to see it in the ATM with some mathematics to back this new proposal.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #17 on: 01/12/2010 15:15:06 »
Qu, quantum mechanics is the best predictive tool ever invented by far but it is a statistics based analysis system meaning their prediction eventually will come true. That does not mean the standard model is the only possible answer. There are some who say it has to many problems, for one Roger Penrose. I'll put together an illustration sometime today and we can go from that.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #18 on: 01/12/2010 17:44:35 »
Qu, quantum mechanics is the best predictive tool ever invented by far but it is a statistics based analysis system meaning their prediction eventually will come true. That does not mean the standard model is the only possible answer. There are some who say it has to many problems, for one Roger Penrose. I'll put together an illustration sometime today and we can go from that.

If you wish, but best not deter this thread any more from the OP.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #19 on: 02/12/2010 15:36:58 »
Quant, sorry for the delay. I just this minute got permission to use a drawing that I can modify.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #20 on: 02/12/2010 17:19:58 »
I realize that any deviation from the point particle view of the electron's charge will require extraordinary proof. I am working to produce an equation that will give that proof. Note in the attached picture the tube(electric field) of the torus is rotating at C in the direction of the red arrows. The circumference of the tube(electric field) is given by λ = h/mc 1.32 X 10^-15 meters. It's interesting to note the wavelength of the proton, 2.42 X 10^-12 meters, is 1836 times shorter than the electron wavelength.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #21 on: 02/12/2010 19:31:30 »
That tells me nothing.
 

Offline peppercorn

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« Reply #22 on: 02/12/2010 21:57:46 »
Ron, you keep pushing your ideas about the electron, but offer no mathematical rigor to back any of it up.  It's not science if it's a conceptual model that doesn't offer predictive value or match observations quantitatively.  The fact that you keep offering it as a real scientific answer is just confusing to people who post here asking questions about science.

You also keep arguing against mainstream physics (whatever that is), by saying it doesn't explain everything.  Of course it doesn't!  The standard model isn't valid for describing things below the Planck length.  But for things larger than that it seems to be a very accurate model with a lot of rigorous mathematics which allow it to be checked against physical reality.  This is what your ideas are lacking.

*silence.... nothing*

Where's your response to the challenge that JP has invested his time in making to you???  Poor show!!
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #23 on: 03/12/2010 18:55:53 »
Does jp have a picture that he can share with us so that we can see his electron? He is say that he has no picture(drawing) so therefore my picture is wrong? The logic eludes me. We can't know what it looks like, all we can do is imagine different scenario's until we get one that works. If no one can describe the physical structure of the electron does that mean we should not try?
 

Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #24 on: 03/12/2010 19:10:36 »
Does jp have a picture that he can share with us so that we can see his electron? He is say that he has no picture(drawing) so therefore my picture is wrong? The logic eludes me. We can't know what it looks like, all we can do is imagine different scenario's until we get one that works. If no one can describe the physical structure of the electron does that mean we should not try?

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