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Author Topic: Is one electron shared throughout the Universe?  (Read 1879 times)

Offline thedoc

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Is one electron shared throughout the Universe?
« on: 17/09/2012 18:30:01 »
Bethany Jenkins  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hello Dr Chris,

I have a question following on from a show the other night about breaking the universe into smaller and smaller pieces.

There was a scientist talking about splitting the electron into spin, charge and something else.

I wondered what this means for Feynman's theory that there is only one electron in the universe. I mean if there is only one and it is split...

Thank you.

Bethany Jenkins

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 17/09/2012 18:30:01 by _system »


 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Is one electron shared throughout the Universe?
« Reply #1 on: 17/09/2012 21:48:45 »
I recently read something about that on a Wikipedia page, but it stated that it was a colleague of Feynman who came up with the idea of there just being a single electron in the universe. It was a little section at the end of an edition of Horizon which talked about splitting an electron into three component parts, but it's also possible to merge an electron into a proton to turn it into a neutron, so you have to wonder whether you get the same electron out of that neutron if you turn it back into a proton or if an electron's worth of energy is simply scooped out of the pot. Ultimately, all matter is just energy tied up in knots and waiting to decay back into enengy, so I'd be very surprised if there was a mechanism there to assign some to electrons in such a way that it can be all electrons at the same time without also being all other matter at the same time. Does the electron remember it's an electron when it's merged into a neutron so that it can still be every other electron in the universe at the same time and also be every bit of energy in every neutron which might potentially become an electron?

So, I don't think it can ever have been intended as a serious suggestion, but was rather just a bit of fun.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is one electron shared throughout the Universe?
« Reply #2 on: 20/09/2012 06:56:21 »
Heh :)

There can only be one, and, it's split :)
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: Is one electron shared throughout the Universe?
« Reply #3 on: 20/09/2012 18:54:14 »
yeah, maybe there's just one electron whose wavefunction is spread in varying amounts over the whole of spacetime.

When the electron enters a proton, perhaps that's just a node for the wavefunction.
« Last Edit: 20/09/2012 18:56:22 by wolfekeeper »
 

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Re: Is one electron shared throughout the Universe?
« Reply #3 on: 20/09/2012 18:54:14 »

 

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