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Why doesn't matter overlap?

  1. Aug 5, 2010 #1
    Or can it? Can one atom exist in the same spacetime position? Can one electron overlap another? Quarks?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2010 #2
    Or maybe the question is why don't forces overlap.
  4. Aug 6, 2010 #3
    I think you have to define overlap. Forces can multiply, but "overlap?" It just seems a bit ambiguous...
  5. Aug 6, 2010 #4
    A big part of the answer to this is the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_exclusion_principle" [Broken]. Loosely stated, it prevents two electrons from ever being in the same place at the same time. Of course, electrons also repel each other electrically. Between these two you can see why it is hard to walk through walls.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Aug 6, 2010 #5


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    If you look in a solid state text book (such as Ashcroft and Mermin), look up what is called as the tight-binding band structure. There, you'll find something called the "overlap integral". That should clearly answer your question.

  7. Aug 13, 2010 #6
    Can we assume that the "strong force" works against
    "nucleon overlap"?
  8. Aug 16, 2010 #7
    Yeah, "overlap" is a bit of a fuzzy word. I'm for the already-mentioned overlap integral as the most correct response. I'd look into concepts like bose einstein condensation (bosons do not obey pauli and his famous principle). An even fuzzier notion in regard to "matter overlap" is tunneling. It's not as if the matter is overlapping, but in a general (and incorrect) sense, you could kinda call it that. But I wouldn't call it that around a physicist... unless you plan to walk through a wall before they can respond.
  9. Aug 17, 2010 #8
    I think we can assume that he means matter existing in the same spacetime as other matter, that is to say finding a "double particle". Think of the consequences of such an event. Not compressing matter so much as making it disappear and saying it is now in the position of another, identical, particle. It's like trying to sell someone an apple and doubling the price because you can claim there are two existing simultaneously. Mind you, I won't put it beyond the realms of mathematics to prove me wrong.
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