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Frustrated about electrons and touching.

  1. May 28, 2015 #1
    I know there's been loads of discussion about this everywhere, but- why don't we touch things at the microscopic(or quantum, whatever) level? I know that it has to do with the Pauli Exclusion Principle, and the Van der Walls force- but- could i just get a plain clear( i know what i'm asking for is near impossible) answer to this? And i've already watched the Sixty Symbols video with Prof. Moriarty. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2015 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hi Lance.

    Why won't you start by defining what you mean by 'touching'. It'll help us see how to address the source of your confusion.
  4. May 28, 2015 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    That video is very clear.

    We have two competing forces when objects get close together - Van der Waals attraction and repulsion caused by the Pauli Exclusion Principle. When they balance its called touching.

    Its very straight forward - don't quite see what your issue is.

    The only issue is why do those forces come about in the first place. That however is quite advanced (especially the force from the Pauli Exclusion Principle which took a very great mathematical physicist - Dyson - to work out) requiring a sojourn into advanced mathematics beyond what I suspect your current level is. At the beginner level simply accept they exist.

  5. May 31, 2015 #4
    Hey, and thanks. I should've thought twice before posing such a meaningless and somewhat agressive question. My doubts have been cleared, I've paid more attention to that video. I've got the basics- and I think I'll stick to the basics for now. A big THANKS! :)
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