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Origin of Electric Charge

  1. Mar 7, 2014 #1
    Is there any explanation about the nature of electric charge? Everyon currently knows that an electric charge has ability to generate force and an electromagnetic field. Also, it has attractive and repulsive reactions to other charged particles. Finally, it is known that electric charges obey the law of conservation and quantization. But, the question still remains, what is the origin of electric charge?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2014 #2

    maajdl

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    Today, it seems we can hardly answer this question, we even can't imagine an "explanation".
    We can a most relate the charge of observable particles to the charge of quarks they are made of.
    But we probably can't even explain why electron and protons have the (same) exactly opposite charges.
    Can we?

    By the way, what do you call an explanation?

    By the way, if you assume that the world is governed by fields and their symmetries,
    the the Maxwell's equations are almost the simplest possibilities.
    Maybe the explanation of charge, is "simplicity"?

    ______
    What is the origin of gravity?
    It is because an apple falls on earth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  4. Mar 7, 2014 #3

    adjacent

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    They don't have the same charge.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2014 #4

    UltrafastPED

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    Every electron has the same amount of electric charge, conveniently designated as "-1". This has been experimentally verified to extreme precision: http://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/cuu/Value?e

    Every proton has charge "+1", though not verified to the same accuracy as the electron.

    As a result every neutral hydrogen atom (existing as an atom, not as an H2 molecule) has the same spectrum - which has been verified extensively via astronomical and terrestrial measurements: http://physics.nist.gov/Pubs/AtSpec/node03.html

    What is the origin of the electric charge? This is unknown - however speculative theories often propose something topological. For example: "Particles as stable topological solitons"
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/361/1/012022/pdf/1742-6596_361_1_012022.pdf
     
  6. Mar 7, 2014 #5

    jtbell

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  7. Mar 7, 2014 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    While technically true, this is not helpful, and not relevant to the OP's question.
     
  8. Mar 7, 2014 #7

    Dale

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    This is the answer I would say also. Charge occurs because every differentiable symmetry of the Lagrangian implies the existence of a conserved quantity. The EM Lagrangian has a gauge symmetry, and the corresponding conserved quantity is the charge.

    Of course, that begs the question as to why does EM have that gauge symmetry. Right now, that is taken as fundamental and unexplained.
     
  9. Mar 7, 2014 #8

    adjacent

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    I know.I just said it to prevent confusion.
    His post is now edited :wink:
     
  10. Mar 7, 2014 #9

    Drakkith

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    Why does electric charge exist in the universe? Because the universe would be an incredibly boring place without things like chemical reactions, EM waves, and satellite television.
     
  11. Mar 8, 2014 #10

    Dale

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    This thread is a crackpot magnet. Thread closed.
     
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