Electrons and csv of matter

  1. I am not sure if this is the right place to post this, so please let me know...?

    If electrons pop in and out of existence, how does that relate to the law of the conservation of matter? The electrons can't just disappear. Are the electrons just visiting the other element in the molecule? Like with H2O is the electron not popping in and out of existence but not always with the hydrogen atom because sometimes it is with the oxygen atom?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 30,731
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

  4. Yes, electrons and positrons can just appear and disappear. There is no such thing as conservation of matter. What you do have is conservation of energy and electric charge but both of these are conserved by the virtual electron-positron pair production you're talking about.
  5. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure saying the electron "pops in and out of existence" is quite accurate. It will certainly be in a different place whenever you measure it, but I would think it exists even when it isn't being observed.
  6. Drakkith, they are talking about virtual electrons that do indeed pop out of nowhere (along with a positron).
  7. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Ah, that would make sense now, wouldn't it?
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