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Photons associated with magnetic force

  1. Feb 20, 2008 #1
    Hi guys

    First of all apologies if my question appears naive or simplistic - new to this field.

    I have read that the force carrier for the electromagnetic force is the photon. So I bring the same poles of two magnets together and feel the repulsive force thus produced. I am unaware of any photons associated with this interaction. Can someone explain this.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2008 #2
    Hi, and welcome to PF

    I'm sure you can find lots of discussions about this already here if you browse. In addition many people will be more qualified than me to explain you. The advice I would give you is to try to make actual calculations by yourself. This business is not trivial.

    You may first try to read this
  4. Feb 21, 2008 #3


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    The photons that are used in Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) to derive static force laws are "virtual" and do not appear physically in electrostatics or magnetostatics.
  5. Feb 21, 2008 #4
    yango - we truly have no idea how a magnet works, if that is what you are asking. we do not know what a field is, in practical terms, any more than we know how gravity operates. i posted a question here about how a magnet works a few years ago, just to stir people up - you can read what others had to say here:
  6. Feb 21, 2008 #5
    We do know how magnets work from classical electromagnetism, and we do know that QED reduces to Maxwell's EM in the classical limit. From the other discussion, it simply seems that nobody took time to tell you that. It is a mathematically proven fact in principle, and as simply explained by John Baez in the link posted above, we can make explicit calculations, even though they turn out hairy, they are very instructive.

    Additionnaly, we can calculate Einstein's equation from the assumption of massless spin-2 boson exchange, an approach Feynman decided to take in his lectures on gravitation. Even more can be made, like calculating explicit metrics from graviton exchange, but here is not the place to discuss this.

    Once again, it is just a matter of performing the calculations by yourself if you want to understand and be convinced. All the rest is just words.
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