A thought experiment that is a consequense of a question someone asked in my particle physics class: We place an isolated electron. We wait 10 years, and place a half ring of electrons (spaced far apart from each other, but uniform) 10 LY away from our central e. Will our charges move? If so, which ones? Next part, now imagine, shortly after adding the ring of electrons, we added in a ring of protons between, located 8 LY from our source. Will the outer ring of electrons accelerate outward for something to the effect of 2 LY (only feeling the field due to the central, initial charge) before realizing that there are a lot of protons, that are actually closer, and producing a stronger field that they can interact with? I would really like to see what people think would happen. I'm struggling how the carrier particle of an e field is a photon, but propagates to infinity in all directions, and somehow doesn't violate CoE. I know it's the exchange particle, but does it exist at a point where there's nothing to exchange with? More directly, is an electric field a physical thing, or just a math model?