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Virtual particles

  1. Nov 24, 2008 #1
    How exactly do virtual particles add to energy mass while still complying with the conservation of energy? For instance, sea quarks, (virtual quark, antiquark pairs) are suppose to contribute to the mass of a brayon. Do they exist for a fleeting moment below the Heisenberg limit by popping in and out of existence before they are detected (ΔEΔt<ħ/2) leaving behind some kind of residual energy or gravitational potential and if so, how does this work within the the first law of thermodynamics (or has it always been the case and what energy they provide has always been taken into account)?
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2008 #2


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    Sea quarks, in their usual implementation, are not virtual pairs.
    They are a 5 quark (4q and 1 antiq) part of the wave function.
    |p>=a\psi_3+b\psi_5, with a^2+b^2=1.
    Radiative corrections due to virtual pairs are something else.
  4. Nov 25, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the reply clem. So how exactly do the sea quarks contribute to the mass of a nucleon and how do virtual particles provide radiative corrections (I imagine the answer isn't that simple but any info/links would be appreciated).
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
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