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How does a particle know when to send out its messenger?

  1. Jan 25, 2005 #1
    Here's another question thats bugging me how does a particle know when to send out a messenger particle? I mean if it keeps sending out messenger particles in space willy nilly it's a lot of energy lost isn't it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2005 #2
  4. Jan 27, 2005 #3


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    When a particle is born, it gets a bag of messenger particles with it. For instance, for an electron, it always is born with a bag of 137 messenger particles. Young electrons are quite wastefull with their messengers, but as they get older, wiser and have less messenger particles left, they use them more carefully, in order to be almost sure to hit another electron and to get a messenger back. Most existing electrons today are already very old, so they have less messengers than they had when the universe was young. That's called the "running of the coupling constant". When they finally waste their last messenger, they become a neutrino and start to oscillate. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  5. Jan 27, 2005 #4


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    Oh my. I messed up my display again. 137 you say? Are you sure a few don't have a tad more?
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