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Bosons are the glue that hold fermions together

  1. Feb 17, 2013 #1
    If Wiki is right when it says bosons are the glue that hold fermions together then how does the photon hold atoms together?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2013 #2
    The photon is the 'gauge boson' of electromagnetic interaction, i.e. it mediates it: electromagnetic interaction is perfectly understood in a model where it corresponds to an exchange of photons.
    In an atom electrons and protons interact via electromagnetic interaction, and thus via photon exchange.
     
  4. Feb 17, 2013 #3
    Yes, but I thought two hydrogens are bound to one oxygen because they share electrons in a covalent bond. Are you saying that the electrons are sending photons back and forth to each other? Are the electrons absorbing and emitting electrons?
     
  5. Feb 17, 2013 #4

    phinds

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    First you were talking about atoms, now you are talking about molecules. They are different.
     
  6. Feb 17, 2013 #5
    Still confused.
     
  7. Feb 17, 2013 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    It would help if you pointed out exactly what you were reading and exactly what it said.
     
  8. Feb 17, 2013 #7
    Like I said Wiki said "bosons are the glue that hold fermions together." Let's just try to understand that given the example of water. Hydrogen and Oxygen are held together in a covalent bond. What are the photons doing that bond? How are the photons holding that bond together. I'm guessing that the electrons are exchanging photons with each other, absorbing and emitting them from time to time but more details would help.
     
  9. Feb 17, 2013 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    That's useless.

    Please post exactly what you are reading and exactly what it said.
     
  10. Feb 17, 2013 #9
  11. Feb 17, 2013 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    OK, so go to the Wiki article, and click on the little [3]. That takes you to the link where Wiki got that from, and has a page of explanatory text. Once you read that, please let us know specifically what is not clear.
     
  12. Feb 17, 2013 #11
    I read the Carroll paper. What is still unclear is Hydrogen and Oxygen are held together in a covalent bond. What are the photons doing that bond? How are the photons holding that bond together. I'm guessing that the electrons are exchanging photons with each other, absorbing and emitting them from time to time but more details would help.
     
  13. Feb 18, 2013 #12
    The exchange of photons causes the various electrons to be attracted to the various nuclei, which ultimately is what is binding the molecule together. (It also causes the nuclei to be repelled from each other, and the electrons to be repelled from each other, but these forces are not strong enough to break the molecule apart).

    The general idea here is: suppose I have an electron in between two protons. The protons are each attracted to the electron (because of the electromagnetic interaction, mediated by photons). So the protons are both pulled inward. This gives us a simple molecule (H2+) where we might speak of the protons as being bound together by the sharing of an electron.
     
  14. Feb 18, 2013 #13
    Thanks. That's what I needed to know.
     
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