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Jan5-11, 10:06 AM
P: 196
Quote Quote by Vanadium 50 View Post
Unfortunately popularizations in particular seem to misunderstand that the reason we distinguish between "real" and "virtual" particles is that virtual particles are not real.
PhanthomJay, I took the pain to write emails to some of the most eminent figures in the field of quantum field theory, especially after I was frustrated to get such answers on this forum as the one you got from Vanadium 50. This question is far from being simple. It goes deep down to the heart of what quantum field theory is. I received a wide range of answers, few of them I shared in this (unfortunately very long!) thread.

For a start read Frank Wilzcek 11-page survey article on quantum field theory, especially page 3, where he states that the association of forces with particles is a general feature of quantum field theory.