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Can we spin an atom?

  1. May 17, 2014 #1
    i mean, people are creating LHC to split the atoms, but why don't we just spin it? spin in in high speed and see if a quark/photon/electron would break
    can we not do that? is it mathematically impossible to have a mass in the center of rotation?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    You have to consider quantum mechanics for this. There are excited states of nuclei that have some similarity to a spinning nucleus (or at least they have a different spin), but you cannot compare this to a classical object where spinning an object would break it apart at some point. And you don't get enough energy with that.

    In addition, the question "what is inside a nucleus" has a good answer now: quarks and gluons. To study their properties and distributions, you need collisions. To study other particles, you need collisions as well. Most of the interesting particles studied at accelerators get produced in the collisions, they do not exist there before.
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