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Would anything change electric charges could be complex numbers?

  1. Oct 18, 2011 #1
    Consider an Argand diagram that shows the number line (positive and negative) and the imaginary plane of other possibilities.

    As in, we have numbers that are positive and negative, and through complex numbers all of the polarities in between.

    I am using this as an analogy, because we have experimentally observed particles and antiparticles; mass with positive and negative charges.

    Can anybody point me in the direction of work that has theorised the possibility of electrical charges that are neither positive nor negative, but rather values in-between?

    Either that or perhaps explain why it isn't possible?

    Conceptually this seems to be a perfect fit with Klein's notion of dimensions wrapped up within our three dimensions.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2011 #2


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    Electric charge is either positive or negative. That's the way it is.
  4. Oct 18, 2011 #3
    Re: Would anything change if electric charges could be complex numbers?

    Thank you, but is it valid to ask why it's just the way it is?

    I mean, obviously there is no point inventing possibilities for the sake of it; and I know that we have only ever observed positive or negative charges.

    My question is really: if you take on the theoretical possibility of charges that are neither positive nor negative; then isn't it useful for changing the equations of QED to account for some of the features that are still problematic?

    I am still trying to get my head around the physics, which is why I wanted to post to the forum to see if anybody could help out with this thinking, but I suspect that I need to make the ideas a lot clearer before that point.
  5. Oct 18, 2011 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    QED does not permit complex charges, only real ones. You would need to develop an entirely different theory with different equations.
  6. Oct 18, 2011 #5
    Thank you, I shall begin taking the requisite steps to address the deep chasms of my naivete so that I can take this on as a serious problem.
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