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What exactly is an electron?

  1. Aug 8, 2012 #61

    Drakkith

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    We've tried. We can't find anything inside it. And by "we" I mean thousands of people using multiple particle colliders and other experiments over the last 50 years.
     
  2. Aug 8, 2012 #62

    xristy

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    Since MacGregor and Rivas have been mentioned perhaps it is worth mentioning a moderately priced collection of papers What is the Electron?, edited by Simulik that includes papers by each of the them as well as others. It's quirky and in print.
     
  3. Aug 18, 2012 #63
    I obtained the book, What is the Electron, yesterday. Thank you xristy for mentioning this. The Einstein question (on back cover of book) is so very significant.

    When he was asked what he thought about the large numbers of short lived heavy particles being produced in high-energy accelerators, Einstein pondered the question and replied, "You know, it would be sufficient to really understand the electron."

    At the time little attention was paid to his remark. Yet the electron remains as mysterios today as it was in Einstein's time. The electron will be less mysterious if we learn why all electrons are identical. J. A. Wheeler said "That an electron here has the same mass as an electron there is also a triviality or a miracle." (see page 1215 of book Gravitation)
     
  4. Aug 18, 2012 #64

    Drakkith

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    You could expand your statement to include all fundamental particles, as they are all identical to other particles of the same type.
     
  5. Aug 19, 2012 #65
    Drakkith, you are so correct, all particles of the same type are identical. This implies that nature has a specific set of requirements that must be precisely met for each particle (type). We expect that theorists will determine and define these strictly imposed requirements. The electron requirements will most probably be the first that we will understand.
     
  6. Aug 19, 2012 #66

    Drakkith

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    Perhaps Don. We'll have to wait and see!
     
  7. Aug 20, 2012 #67
    We can see now what some theorists have recently written about the electron. In post # 59 a paper by G. Polz was referenced. In this paper the electron is analyzed as a toroidal ring. The author (G. Polz) also references other papers that are interesting to all who want to know more. The referenced paper by Williamson and van der Mark analyzes the electron as a photon trapped in a toroidal path. As we come closer to a correct electron model, the desire to understand becomes ever more intense. As Drakkith said: We'll have to wait and see!
     
  8. Sep 4, 2012 #68
    The book, What is the Electron? noted in post #62 is interesting. The Wave Structure of Matter is discussed (page 227 - page 250). From page 240: "Schrodinger and Clifford predicted that charge was due to wave structures in space. - - We observe this process and call it charge. But as Clifford and Schrodinger wrote, there is no charge substnce involved. It is a property of the wave structure at the center."

    This book allows us to see some concepts by theorists who want to help us understand the electron. Thank you xristy for noting this book.
     
  9. Sep 4, 2012 #69
    Hey quick question? cant we just say that the electron is simply a particle of energy? What I meen is maybe the electron is like the photon just different. A photon is a carrier of energy because it has no mass therefor it can carry electromagnetic waves (that being energy). Cant we say look an electron maybe has more energy and therefor some of it must be converted too a mass?

    Another question. When an electron feels attraction or repulsion it releases a photon. Therefor shouldnt the mass of the electron decrease albeit a very small amount? But that mass will always be conserved as it is absorb somewhere else?
     
  10. Sep 4, 2012 #70

    Drakkith

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    You can call it whatever you like. Ultimately it comes down to the specific properties of the electron described by science. Properties such as mass, charge, spin, etc. Whatever you want to label it as, those properties will not change.

    This is not true. EM radiation is only released when a charged particle accelerates, not when it *feels* a force. The energy used to create this photon comes from the kinetic energy of the electron, not its mass. Electrons in orbitals around a nucleus experience a very strong attraction yet do not radiate.
     
  11. Sep 4, 2012 #71
    Ah that makes sense. I have another question for you. If an electron were completely still and a proton was in range also completely still, would there be an attraction and if so why?
     
  12. Sep 4, 2012 #72

    Drakkith

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    The EM force is infinite in range, so they would always be attracted to each other. The reason is because opposite electric charges attract each other.
     
  13. Sep 4, 2012 #73
    I say in range to mean where the force would be felt and not negligible. When an electron is attracted to a proton it releases a photon to "carry" the attraction. is this correct?
     
  14. Sep 4, 2012 #74

    Drakkith

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    Ah, you referring to "virtual" photons. That is an entirely different discussion that should be carried out in it's own thread in the Quantum Physics forum.
    There are already some posts, so I'd suggest using the search function to find them.
     
  15. Sep 4, 2012 #75
    Yes wouldnt virtual photons be themselves electromagnetic waves without movement?
     
  16. Sep 4, 2012 #76

    Drakkith

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    I cannot answer that, as it is much too complicated for me to explain, as I don't have a firm grasp on the concept.
    Like I said above, I recommend searching the rest of the forum or starting a new thread.
     
  17. Sep 5, 2012 #77
    Hi spuding 102 : The concept of electromagnetic waves without movement is complicated because these waves are light velocity waves. These waves have only one velocity allowed and so we can stay with known rules if we work with energy values rather than zero velocity waves. Recall that a single electron linked with a single proton has maximum binding energy when its orbital radius is at its minimum value. The electron can absorb energy from a photon so that energy is added to the (proton electron) system. In this process, the photon is converted to mass because the total mass of the system increases. This is comparable to winding a watch. Energy added to the watch (system) increases its total mass. I will suggest to Drakkith that no theorist that I have heard of, has a grasp of waves without (observable) movement.
     
  18. Sep 5, 2012 #78
    When you are winding a watch are you not converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy? not mass?
     
  19. Sep 5, 2012 #79
    It is correct to say, that energy added to a system will increase the mass of the system. Energy equals m c squared and so energy added, divided by c squared will be equal to the mass increase of the system when energy is added. A spring that has energy added has greater mass than a spring that is not stressed. The mass increase of a watch when wound is very small but we can calculate the mass change value.
     
  20. Sep 5, 2012 #80
    yes but energy does not always manifest itself into mass? or does it? For instance when throw a ball does the energy attribute completely to the movement of the ball or does some of it make the ball heavier?
     
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