Magnetic boson?

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I understand the laws for electricity and magnetism and such, and that you create a magnetic field perpendicular to the direction in which the electric charge is moving. Recently, I have been doing some soft research on quantum mechanics, and I see that the electric force, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force, all have particles called bosons that travel in between other particles and transfer their force. The photon is the electric force boson, and when I heard this I was first confused. Then it made sense- that is why lightning is so bright. Gravity is the only force that there doesn't seem to be a boson, but is magnetism the same? If you take two ferromagnets, no photons, at least in visible light frequencies, are emitted. My gut tells me that no photons are being emitted, because there aren't insulators for magnetism like there are for electricity. So then where does the magnetic force come from? At least gravity it can be described with four dimensions, so there's a sort of mechanism. I was told that ferromagnets are caused by all the electrons spinning in the same direction and creating a magnetic field, but now I know that the electrons aren't REALLY spinning (I... think). So how does "spin" fit into this when the charge isn't even moving?

Magnets, how do they work?
 

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Vanadium 50
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I'm sorry, but virtually none of what you wrote is correct. I think you have really misunderstood this "soft research in QM". I'm not sure what soft research even is, but if you mean "read popular books", understand that these books by their very nature oversimplify things. If you try and get a consistent and correct view of the universe by stitching together things you read in popularizations, it won't work.
 
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Electricity and magnetism are both aspects of the same thing (electromagnetism), and are both communicated by photons. To get some sense of how they are the same thing, consider a stationary charge, which produces an electric field but no magnetic field (since it is not moving). Now someone rides by on a train. From his perspective your charge is moving, and he will measure a magnetic field as a result. The equations of electromagnetism make it work out so that even though you and the person on the train think that there are different fields present, you both predict the same motions and forces, so both of your perspectives are equally valid.

The photon is the electric force boson, and when I heard this I was first confused. Then it made sense- that is why lightning is so bright.
No--lightning is bright because it heats up and excites the air molecules it passes through, which then emit light. The brightness does not come inherently from lightning's electrical nature.

there aren't insulators for magnetism like there are for electricity
What would an "insulator for magnetism" be? There are a few concepts here: there is a thing called electric current, which is the flow of electric charge. Insulators are materials through which it is hard to pass an electric current. There's no such thing as magnetic charge (though people would be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_monopole" [Broken] to find some). Hence there's no such thing as magnetic current, and no such thing as an "insulator for magnetism" in the most obvious way of interpreting that phrase. Electric charges produce both electric and magnetic fields, and both of these can be blocked or excluded from a volume by certain materials, which is possibly what you meant?

So how does "spin" fit into this when the charge isn't even moving?
Spin refers to the fact that elementary particles have "intrinsic angular momentum." A spinning classical ball also has angular momentum, but quantum mechanical spin has important differences. For one thing, you can calculate in classical electromagnetism that a spinning charged sphere should set up a magnetic field. Charged elementary particles with spin (such as electrons) do set up magnetic fields, but their strength is different than the value predicted classical. The explanation and accurate calculation of this fact is one of the triumphs of quantum electrodynamics.

Gravity is the only force that there doesn't seem to be a boson
People like to talk about gravitons, which would be the carrier bosons of the gravitational force. But a good quantum mechanical theory of gravity hasn't been worked out yet, though everyone assumes that such a theory exists.

Vanadium 50 is right in that the depth of your understanding in these topics will be directly proportional to how much math you work through from textbooks.
 
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I am glad I asked because I have been misinterpreting what I have read on Wikipedia.
But I don't understand; if magnets transfer force via photons, couldn't you make a material that blocks photons, stopping the transfer of photons, and making it so that two magnets oneither side don't affect eachother?
There is something key that I am not understanding here...
 
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Wait, I think I MIGHT understand what I am not understanding here (but please tell me if I am way off). Magnetic attraction IS electric attraction, except different in the sense that it only works because all viewpoints are correct. The way it was taught to me, it seemed like they were two things that just kind of happen together, like I want to move my leg, my leg moves, yet I don't (with exact knowledge) see the connection there. However, it's more like something that is spinning around a point will experience centripetal (or centrifugal, whatever) force not because of something extra is happening, but because it must when you look at what motion and force really is. Is that correct?
 
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The way it was taught to me, it seemed like they were two things that just kind of happen together, like I want to move my leg, my leg moves, yet I don't (with exact knowledge) see the connection there. However, it's more like something that is spinning around a point will experience centripetal (or centrifugal, whatever) force not because of something extra is happening, but because it must when you look at what motion and force really is. Is that correct?
This might be a good analogy. Someone spinning a circle sees new forces (centrifugal and Coriolis) that he doesn't see when he is not spinning. Similarly someone moving relative to a charge sees a magnetic force in addition to the electric force of a stationary charge.
 
  • #8
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What you said is helpful, and I think I'm going to have to seriously look at Maxwell's equations now to see what the deal with them is. :)
 

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