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Electromagnetic interactions & photon transfer

  1. Jan 19, 2011 #1

    One confusion regarding the explanation of electromagnetic [EM] interactions through photons.

    Conisder the water jug example given in this wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction#Electromagnetism".
    It says - "if we place two such jugs a meter apart, the electrons in one of the jugs repel those in the other jug..."

    So with respect to this example, can I say that each electron in one jug does photon exchange with the each of the electrons in the same jug and in the other jug to have the repulsive EM interaction?

    I have this confusion because =

    1] This way of explaining the EM interaction gives an interpretation that a charged particle exchanges countless photons at any point.
    Am I right? Or at least give the right picture please.

    2] It is said that EM interaction is of infinite range. And if that is the case, an electron in one jug should be interacting with another charged particle in a distant star. And if that is the case, then every charged particle in this universe should be interacting with every other charged particle.
    It may be that -
    2.1) all these interactions may cancel out - push pull getting cancelled.
    2.2) the interactions themselves may be weak.

    Is my understanding correct?
    Let me know if I have erred somewhere.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2011 #2
    Is it that the notion of 'virtual photons' came into picture because of attempting to explain these interactions through pertubation theory?
    And is that why this explanation of interactions through photons are just for simple examples and cannot accommodate for explaining the reality, i.e. an electron interacting with the rest of the charged particles in the universe?
  4. Jan 21, 2011 #3
    Requesting someone to clarify this.

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