Can positrons create a time-traveling chain reaction in vacuum?

In summary, there is a theory proposed by physicist John Archibald Wheeler that suggests all the electrons in the universe are actually one single electron traveling back and forth through time. This idea has been discussed in various books, such as Feynman's QED and John Gribbin's In Search of Schrodingers Cat. However, there is also experimental evidence that electrons can be created, which raises questions about Wheeler's theory.
  • #1
ocalhoun
8
0
I remember reading somewhere about vacuum functions; where a photon strikes a particle, which produces a chain reaction that results in the photon being shot back through time to start the reaction. (Or something like that)

Now, since I've forgotten most of what I knew about this phenomenon, including what book I read it in, (and I read a lot of books, so it's no use going back to look for it) I was wondering if anybody here knew about such things. (Being able to describe the whole process at the particle level would be ideal.)

As a side note, this is my first post here, so hello everybody!
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
When two photons of high energy collide, they create an electron and a positron. But a positron is just an electron traveling back in time. So by some piece of reasoning that I can't wrap my mind around at the moment, we conclude that it is possible that all the electrons in the universe are the same one.

That idea (Wheeler's?) was explained to me by one of my professors a few years ago.

This thread (https://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-29040.html) in the PF archives says that Feynman's book QED as well as John Gribbin's In search of Schrodingers Cat talk about it.

In that same thread, Robphy redirects the OP to this thread:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=25167
 
  • #3
I certainly like Wheeler's idea of a single electron zinging back and forth through time so many times that it makes up all the electrons in the universe.

But how does that mesh with the experimental evidence that electrons can be created? They didn't pre-exist, so they have a terminus.

So maybe some electrons are as Wheeler suggests, and others aren't.
 
  • #4
Ah, that's helpful! If nothing else, you've reminded me what book I read it in.
Also, you've reminded me that I've had the wrong particle in mind; I should be focusing on positrons, not photons.
 

Related to Can positrons create a time-traveling chain reaction in vacuum?

1. What is a photon in vacuum?

A photon in vacuum is a particle of electromagnetic radiation that has no mass and travels at the speed of light in a vacuum. It is the basic unit of light and carries energy and momentum.

2. How do photons function in a vacuum?

In a vacuum, photons function as both a wave and a particle. They travel in straight lines at the speed of light until they interact with matter. They can be absorbed, transmitted, or reflected by matter.

3. What is the role of photons in vacuum in the electromagnetic spectrum?

Photons in vacuum play a crucial role in the electromagnetic spectrum. They are responsible for the visible light that we can see, as well as other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.

4. Can photons in vacuum be observed or measured?

Yes, photons in vacuum can be observed and measured using various instruments and techniques. These include detectors such as photodiodes, photomultiplier tubes, and CCD cameras, as well as spectroscopy, which measures the different wavelengths of light emitted or absorbed by a substance.

5. What are the practical applications of understanding photons in vacuum?

Understanding photons in vacuum has many practical applications in various fields. These include telecommunications, solar energy, medical imaging, and quantum computing. Studying photons in vacuum also helps us understand the behavior of light and its interaction with matter, leading to advancements in technology and scientific research.

Similar threads

  • Quantum Physics
Replies
15
Views
2K
Replies
23
Views
2K
  • Quantum Physics
3
Replies
81
Views
4K
  • Quantum Physics
Replies
2
Views
420
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
14
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
590
Replies
46
Views
2K
  • High Energy, Nuclear, Particle Physics
Replies
9
Views
1K
Back
Top