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I need an unambiguous explanation of

  1. Dec 17, 2003 #1
    ...the electron. I don't know what it is and i've read dozens of electronics/chemistry books trying to figure it out. I don't want to hear that it's a wave, I don't want to hear that it's a particle and I certainly don't want to hear about the duality of it being a wave-particle. I don't care that it can be found around an atoms' nucleus or the energy levels(shells) they can occupy. I don't care about their diameter, size, charge, blah-blah-blah. Those definitions tell me nothing about what an electron is. Please if anyone knows what this thing called an electron really is then tell me already!

    Tony Bass
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2003 #2


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    Unless you learn QED that's it. The things you don't want to hear about ARE what defines the electron. This is about physics not navel gazing, and there is no more inward innerness to talk about. You can make the electron do wave things. You can make it do particle things. Our theories can accurately predict subtle properties of it like anomalous magnetic moment and the Lamb shift. If you want philosophy, read Hegel.
  4. Dec 19, 2003 #3
    I may not know QED, but, i do understand BS. Whenever someone, like myself, asks a simple, straight forward, honest question only to have the reply come with a mean spirited toned response that doesn't answer my initial question, I must come to the conclusion that somehow the question frightens the person so much that they feel they must lash out at the inquisitor. If you don't know the answer or science doesn't have the answer yet, then just say so. I don't know who you are mr/ms. selfadjoint-pf-mentor, but, a mentor you certainly are not. By your response you are neither wise or a trusted counselor. People like you sir/madam are one of the reasons most folks run from science and not towards it. Shame on you and shame on this forum for allowing you to be considered a mentor. Thanks for not helping to bridge the chasm between the general public and science. Next time congress wants to fund some new physics related project i'd rather they spend it on funding the arts or philosophic questions dealing with the human navel.

    Very Sincerely,
    Tony Bass

    P.S. If I asked you what an elephant was, would you tell me that first I had to learn biology, biochemistry, and zoology or that our theory currently describes and predicts the color, size, location and strength of the concept called "elephant"?! Get real!
  5. Dec 19, 2003 #4
    Welcome, tonybass, :smile:

    Suppose you had asked about an elephant, and that you had gone on to say;
    I’ve read dozens of books, seen lots of photographs, and I don’t want to hear it is a big, grey, animal with a trunk, tail, and large ears. I don’t care that it is a warm-blooded mammal, and that it can be found around watering holes, blah-blah-blah. Those definitions tell me nothing about what an elephant is…

    Well…. What could I tell you?

    You may not have appreciated selfAdjoint's style, but that doesn't automatically mean the answer given has to be incorrect.
    Lighten up !
  6. Dec 19, 2003 #5
    Suppose you had asked about an elephant, and that you had gone on to say;
    I’ve read dozens of books, seen lots of photographs, and I don’t want to hear it is a big, grey, animal with a trunk, tail, and large ears. I don’t care that it is a warm-blooded mammal, and that it can be found around watering holes, blah-blah-blah. Those definitions tell me nothing about what an elephant is…

    Hey Boulderhead, apples & oranges baby. Paraphrasing me in the snippet above doesn't wash due to the fact that you accually answered my question of what an elephant is, i don't believe that you intended this but with a moniker like Boulderhead i'm not very surprised. Here are your mistakes, "I don’t want to hear it is a big, grey, animal with a trunk, tail, and large ears", "...it is a warm-blooded mammal". Well at least you answered the question as opposed to selfadjunct.

    Tony Bass
  7. Dec 19, 2003 #6
    An electron is a fundemental partical that is the lightest lepton that carries charge and is stable. It is affected by the electromagnetic force, can display duel nature (Like all particals, I believe it has been stated). It has no internal structure yet discovered. What is ambiguous about that? The electron is a partical that can behave as a wave. An electron is unique. Or do you want something deep and complex that few have touched upon?

    A friend of mine has suggested that each partical could be considered a multiverse, and each multiverse is in fact a partical within a higher set of dimensions. It could make sense, after all, if the universe is a wave, or bubble, then it appears as a single mass in the eleventh dimension with no internal structure, but yet there is an enormous quantity of matter and energy inside. Perhaps the electron is a special type of multiverse.

    And what was so bad about Self Adjoint's post? It simply stated that there was nothing more to an electron than what you stated unless you take QED. You seem to be seeking information after gathering as much as you can find, which is perfectly fine and pretty much the whole idea of science, but there's no point in acting like an answer that tells you that there is nothing else is "mean" and not worthy of a mentor. It seems that you are focused on one thing, getting something you do not have, and anything else triggers hostility. Sorry if that sounds... unfriendly, but I'm making an observation. In the words of many a men, "cool it."
  8. Dec 19, 2003 #7
    I don’t think you understand; that was supposed to be you talking, not me, and so I would have been left with little to explain.

    Cute ! uhhuck uhhuck

    As I said above, these would have been your words, not mine.

    Wrong twice, I answered nothing, but selfAjoint (not adjunct…another stab?) did.

    What I see odd about your original question is that it seems to imply all the books you have read are somehow keeping the truth from you and not telling you anything of importance.
  9. Dec 19, 2003 #8


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    You can only describe a thing via its properties or characteristics; there is no deeper or better way. This applies both to elephants and to electrons.

    And tonybass, as a mentor I will warn you: lighten up with the personal attacks, or you will be ejected from the stadium.

    - Warren
  10. Dec 20, 2003 #9
    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, i will be ejected from the stadium Warren? Huh?! Talk about delusions of grandeur. Not one of you, except cajones, had the cajones to tell me "It has no internal structure yet discovered.". That's the answer to my question gentlemen. Therefore, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE ELECTRON IS. If you don't know what it's made of and its' internal workings are a mystery then you don't know WHAT it is people. 2 mentors and not one was able to clarify correctly. Instead they just towed the physics communities party lines of stale external measurements and the old "you don't know enough" two-step. No worries mate, you won't have to eject me from this miniscuel space on a server somewhere, 'cause, there ain't nothin' here as far as insight, communicative skills, brain power or a true open forum to answer my questions without someone feeling threatend by my style of inquiry. As I leave to much warmer waters I leave you with this insight. Most of the true ground breakers such as artists, scientists, mathematicians that have pushed and pulled humanity from just sitting in their own feces to human culture were NOT the most beloved, delicate, timid, well mannered or socially acceptable people. Most were some combination of very selfish, antisocial, cruel, manic, petty, or just down right nasty people that refused to be lead by the nose. In the real world, and not the cyber world of political correctness, sometimes you have to maintain relationships with these disagreeable folks because they, my friends, not only don't think inside the box they are literally living outside the box. Enjoy your enclave of agreeability, protocol, and continue to sacrifice intellectual honesty in favor of worshipping at the feet of everyones feelings, but, if you ever want to join adults in the real rough & tumble world of true discussion, debate and discovery you'll have to turn off the CPU and chat in real time to real people about REAL things.:wink:

    Tony Bass

    P.S. I chatted with Kaku and i've spoken with Kaku, he is not the most pleasant person on Earth, but, he is a hell of a scientist and i give him his props.:smile:
  11. Dec 20, 2003 #10


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    Have a nice day.
  12. Dec 23, 2003 #11
    i've been on a couple of forums like this
    its really interesting(!) to see how people
    argue over the smallest thing

  13. Dec 25, 2003 #12


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    I don't see anything wrong with tony's posts.
  14. Jan 5, 2004 #13
    You are not alone and your method of requesting a definition is wonderful. Right to the point.

    An electron is a discrete packet of energy, the result of the rejected interaction of two neutrons. Ie: so is a photon, albeit in differing charge.

    Anything else?
  15. Jan 7, 2004 #14
    From what I understand many a thing at the quantum level are only describable by what you might consider only simple surface information. What these things are actually made up of is perhaps debatable. If you consider all things at their base to be made up of energy then things at the quantum level just come down to packets of energy and the tricks that they do are the only things that define them. I'd imagine that it's alot like asking what a monad is. Please any one correct be if I am wrong.

    At any rate Tony if you are still following this, really if Adjoint was such a jerk and didn't like your question or had some sort of fear of it or what ever it is you percieve then do you think that this thread would still be here?
  16. Jan 7, 2004 #15


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    Heh. Indeed.

    Your explanation is as good as any. We really don't know what electrons (for example) really truly are, but we know a hell of a lot about how they behave. And the theories of the different behaviors hang together in a self supporting way that even the mathematical physicists don't deny. And of course the agreement with measurement and experiment is legendary.

    Of course people are free to come up with their own ideas of what quantum realities are, and many have. But what doesn't work is to get a theory that doesn't agree with all the complicated things we do _know_ about the behavior oif quantum systems.
  17. Jan 9, 2004 #16


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    Perhaps there's another way to approach Tony's question.

    Starting with what we can know about the world outside our minds, how do we get to 'the electron'? What I mean is, we know things from our senses, principally sight, least importantly, taste.

    We can define some things fairly straight-forwardedly in terms of our senses, for example trees and rocks (and elephants). However, 'the tree' is a concept; you only know - directly through your senses - about individual trees. In some way, at some level, all physics should be able to be connected back to what SelfAdjoint, Tony, BoulderHead, ... can experience directly with our senses (at least, in principle).

    For some reason, BoulderHead's 'what this thing called an elephant really is' is satisfying, but SelfAdjoint's 'what this thing called an electron really is' is not (at least to Tony).

    The problem doesn't seem to be ambiguity in the definition - no doubt we're all happy enough that there are few, if any, cases where we would have difficulty deciding if the 'thing' we're interested in truly is an elephant (and not a tree), or an electron (and not a quark).

    Now here's the curious part: 'the elephant is a warm-blooded mammal' and 'the electron is a negatively-charged lepton' are surely equivalent; why is the former satisfying to Tony, but the latter is not?

    Perhaps cajones got it right, 'it [the electron] has no internal structure yet discovered'; perhaps what's so dissatisfying to Tony (and no doubt many others - there are several posts in PF which seem to reflect a similar disquiet) is that the electron isn't 'made up of' anything else.

    If String Theory/M Theory passes the requisite consistency and experimental tests, and electrons are shown to be vibrating branes, would Tony write a post entitled 'I need an unambiguous explanation of branes'?
  18. Jan 10, 2004 #17
    Happy Electrons

    Hi guys!

    I can just imagine all the electrons in all of your bodies having a field day!

    While the electrons in cyberspace are working quadruple overtime!
  19. May 21, 2004 #18

    that was really really funny.... :rofl:
    wow, that made my day, thanks.... :tongue2:
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