From where do particles get their charge?

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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 »

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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 »
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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...

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Offline Ron Hughes

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« 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.
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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.

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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?
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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.

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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.
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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.


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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.
From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. Sherlock Holmes.

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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.

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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 »
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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.
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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.

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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?
From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. Sherlock Holmes.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. Sherlock Holmes.

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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.[attachment=13502]
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Offline QuantumClue

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

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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!!

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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?
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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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Offline JP

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« Reply #25 on: 03/12/2010 19:40:53 »
 [O8)]

That's my electron mode.  I call it "afrodude."

What?  Since "mainstream science" doesn't have an answer, we surely have to imagine all possibilities!

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Offline Geezer

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« Reply #26 on: 04/12/2010 03:03:28 »
Once we've figured out the physical structure of the electron, I suppose we'll have to figure out the physical structures of its constituents.

This could take a while.

Seriously, if this leads us to a grand unified theory of everything, I'm all for it, but isn't that what the String Theory folks have been working on for quite a while? There doesn't seem to be a great lack of models, but there does seem to be a great lack of predictions that can be verified empirically.
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Offline CPT ArkAngel

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« Reply #27 on: 04/12/2010 04:36:54 »
I suggest the "AfroDude" is made of photons... [:0] [:o)] [;D] [:D] [;)]

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Offline yor_on

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« Reply #28 on: 04/12/2010 06:40:55 »
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.



A very nice symmetry, fitting for a universe where nothing go to waste :)
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Offline Ron Hughes

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« Reply #29 on: 04/12/2010 16:46:13 »
Obviously there is not much more I can discuss about the idea until I can predict the charge of the electron with an equation based on it's structure. When and if I am successful I will post it. Wish me luck.
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Offline yor_on

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« Reply #30 on: 05/12/2010 08:46:01 »
What it makes me wonder reading it is why they don't take each other out. The positron and the electron? Seems like a 50/50 distribution to me?

And now the answer will be. "Ah but they do." :)

And good luck Ron.
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Offline yor_on

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« Reply #31 on: 05/12/2010 15:57:00 »
A positron and a electron can be treated two ways, like particles and as waves. If treated as waves they can 'meet' without annihilating each other, instead scattering, if treated as particles of 'rest mass' they can collide and die. When doing so they " annihilate to a virtual particle, either a photon or a Z boson. The virtual particle almost immediately decays into other elementary particles, which are then detected by huge particle detectors." From experiments made in the Large Electron–Positron Collider (LEP) Which then claim that what comes out of a collision of matter with its opposite still will produce positive energy, or 'matter', in the form of particles of 'rest mass'?? What bugs me here is how it does it?

Either I assume that they both are of the same 'energy' as they should be if 'symmetric'? Then they should 'disappear' leaving no energy left, right? But that would violate the principle of conserved energy, would it not? So they refuse :) As I could argue that it must have taken 'energy' creating them, and that energy can't just disappear?

==
"the principle of conserved energy states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time (is said to be conserved  over time). A consequence of this law is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed: it can only be transformed from one state to another. The only thing that can happen to energy in a closed system is that it can change form: for instance chemical energy can become kinetic energy."

How?

Thinking of it I could look at as if they come into existence as a 'nothing' as their values/properties should take out each other. That doesn't violate the conservation of energy as they don't really 'exist' as seen from that principle looked at my way. We have another similar principle called The law of conservation of mass "also known as principle of mass/matter conservation is that the mass of a closed system  (in the sense of a completely isolated system) will remain constant over time. The mass of an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. A similar statement is that mass cannot be created/destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, and changed into different types of particles. This implies that for any chemical process in a closed system, the mass of the reactants must equal the mass of the products."

But then that one is null at their creation too it seems to me, so what am I missing here?

As if looked at my way it seems to me that the thing violating those laws is the positive 'rest products' created in the annihilation?
==

I could argue that the energy needed for their creation have to be looked too. But against that fact, when creating the pair, if symmetric, they are null as a 'system', not existing at all? So where did the original energy go?

But as neither of those steps seems to invalidate the principles, each one for itself, then it stands to some twisted reason that we need a positive 'rest product', not to invalidate the 'start' in where we first created the particles expending energy. But it's a very weird logic?
« Last Edit: 05/12/2010 16:51:06 by yor_on »
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Offline QuantumClue

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« Reply #32 on: 06/12/2010 04:26:42 »
If treated as waves they can 'meet' without annihilating each other,

The positronium, as its is called, closely related to Hardy's Paradox (hope I got the name right).

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« Reply #33 on: 06/12/2010 12:07:45 »
Sweet stuff :)
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