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Playing with magnetic balls, and now I have a question

  1. Dec 18, 2009 #1
    I was spending an incredibly exciting Friday night playing with some magnetic "bucky balls" that I got from thinkgeek yesterday. As I am playing with the balls (heh), I have them aligned where I have two sheets, with opposing force. and I was pressing them together imagining the particle exchange between them (hopefully, this is not atypical behavior around here).

    Since it is the electromagnetic force, the W boson is being passed between the magnets at increasing rates as the two sheets come closer (assuming my knowledge of the standard model is correct). When I put my finger between, there is no noticeable change in the amount of force required (would there be?). What would the particle exchange look like with the barrier? The W should be absorbed and passed by all electrons in between just like a photon right?

    Extra credit: describe some cool electromagnetic phenomena in quantum particle exchange

    Extra Extra credit: Hijack the thread with something even cooler... really, I'm bored and want to talk about fun quantum phenomena
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2009 #2


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    The W boson passes the electro-weak force, that keeps the quarks in a proton or neutron together.

    Electromagnetic force is carried by photons
  4. Dec 18, 2009 #3
    ah, now I see where I went wrong, I need to go read up on the weak force more, there is some interesting stuff in there. So are 100% of the photons being passed through the barrier that is my finger, or is there a measurable change in the amount of force I need to move the sheets?
  5. Dec 18, 2009 #4


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    Presumably your finger has some tiny but non-zero ferromagnetic properties, but it has very little effect
  6. Dec 18, 2009 #5
    Well, now this is no longer a fun and exciting particle exchange is it? Luckily, I just found out about the apparently definitive set of feynman lectures, and it is supposedly in stock here, so my interest is now lost :P
  7. Dec 19, 2009 #6
    Whaa..?? Where did you find that information?

    Electric and magnetic force is property of electric and magnetic fields. Photon is made of oscillating electric and magnetic fields, therefore what you say makes no sense.
  8. Dec 19, 2009 #7
    Nope. From the Wikipedia, Electromagnetic force: "The electromagnetic force operates via the exchange of messenger particles called photons and virtual photons. The exchange of messenger particles between bodies acts to create the perceptual force whereby instead of just pushing or pulling particles apart, the exchange changes the character of the particles that swap them."
  9. Dec 19, 2009 #8
    As to the original question AFAIK human body is weakly diamagnetic.
  10. Dec 19, 2009 #9


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    Eh, that's not really the way you think of it in field theory. Its actually an exchange of photons that contribute to the electromagnetic "force".
  11. Dec 20, 2009 #10
    Sheesh mamma! Ok, I see... but, that is ridiculous.

    Why would that be included as 'general definition' of what "field" is?! That's experimentally unconfirmed and very nonsensical, it's in contradiction with everything else in physics, even Quantum Mechanics itself. Why is that hallucinatory and experimentally oblivious theory considered as general knowledge?!!

    Can someone please explain who came up with this and when?
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