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Ether or virtual photon flux?

  1. Jul 28, 2014 #1
    Hi,

    I have a thought experiment I'd like to share along with a couple of quotes. First, we consider the moment when a body goes from have exactly zero charge to a +Q charge. At that moment, by definition of E field a distance r from point charge q, we have a field propagating from point source to infinity, for an infinite amount of time. For this E-field tension to reach a certain distance, there must be a energy influx into the charge because there is the E-field expansion and those carry energy with them as they expand. Now from particle physics we now know that the source of energy is the "virtual photon flux" which is in constant energy exchange with the charge. So what is exactly different from the idea of a virtual photon flux or ether? Some may reference MM experiment, but that does not completely exclude the ether.

    Now, a few quotes:

    Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin:

    "It is ironic that Einstein's most creative work, the general theory of relativity, should boil down to conceptualizing space as a medium when his original premise [in special relativity] was that no such medium existed ...

    The word 'ether' has extremely negative connotations in theoretical physics because of its past association with opposition to relativity. This is unfortunate because, stripped of these connotations, it rather nicely captures the way most physicists actually think about the vacuum. ... Relativity actually says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of matter pervading the universe, only that any such matter must have relativistic symmetry.

    It turns out that such matter exists. About the time relativity was becoming accepted, studies of radioactivity began showing that the empty vacuum of space had spectroscopic structure similar to that of ordinary quantum solids and fluids. Subsequent studies with large particle accelerators have now led us to understand that space is more like a piece of window glass than ideal Newtonian emptiness. It is filled with 'stuff' that is normally transparent but can be made visible by hitting it sufficiently hard to knock out a part. The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether. But we do not call it this because it is taboo."

    Steven Weinsberg:

    "[The total energy of the atom] depends on the bare mass and bare charge of the electron, the mass and charge that appear in the equations of the theory before we start worrying about photon emissions and reabsorptions. But free electrons as well as electrons in atoms are always emitting and reabsorbing photons that affect the electron's mass and electric charge, and so the bare mass and charge are not the same as the measured electron mass and charge that are listed in tables of elementary particles. In fact, in order to account for the observed values (which of course are finite) of the mass and charge of the electron, the bare mass and charge must themselves be infinite. The total energy of the atom is thus the sum of two terms, both infinite: the bare energy that is infinite because it depends on the infinite bare mass and charge, and the energy shift … that is infinite because it receives contributions from virtual photons of unlimited energy."
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2014 #2

    berkeman

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