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Electrons and csv of matter

  1. Sep 16, 2013 #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. Sep 16, 2013 #2


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    Please read this FAQ entry in the General Physics FAQ subforum:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=511176 [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Sep 16, 2013 #3
    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. Sep 16, 2013 #4


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    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. Sep 16, 2013 #5
    Drakkith, they are talking about virtual electrons that do indeed pop out of nowhere (along with a positron).
  7. Sep 16, 2013 #6


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