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AcademicGround >> WTF are subatomic particles?


3/18/05 1:08 AM
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GiHickies
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Edited: 18-Mar-05
Member Since: 12/11/2002
Posts: 134
 
I know the textbook definitions, but still, WTF are they??? Does an electron always have to be charged? Can an electron be transformed into a proton? If matter and energy are two different things, then why is an electron always negative? Is its structure made in such a way that it always must be negative? Or is its charge a function of its location? And the same questions for protons and neutrons. Textbooks make no sense, glossing over everything like that. Basta'ds.
3/18/05 11:36 AM
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Dory
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Edited: 18-Mar-05
Member Since: 01/09/2005
Posts: 114
The whole notion of atomic physics and quantum physics is a bit shaky. Nonetheless, let me attempt with my limited abilities to answer your questions from what is typically accepted scientific belief. "Does an electron always have to be charged?" Yes, and electron has to be negatively charded in order to be considered an electron, by definition. "Can an electron be transformed into a proton?" To my knowledge, no. To do so would require a significant addition of matter and energy. "If matter and energy are two different things, then why is an electron always negative?" Current view is that matter and energy are not two different things, but two different forms of the same thing. How that applies to why electrons are always negative, I dont know. "Is its structure made in such a way that it always must be negative?" To be called an electron, it must be negative. There are particles that have identical, or nearly identical, mass to electrons but have a positive charge. Theyre called positrons. They typically don't last long. "Or is its charge a function of its location? And the same questions for protons and neutrons." Charge does not appear to be a function of location. Now, I know those answers didnt help much in giving you deeper insight into the nature of subatomic particles. Quite frankly, what knowledge that even esteemed scientists have of such things is speculative and illusory. Their are theories that explain the structure of those three subatomic particles in terms of smaller particles, quarks in particular, but the explanations are just as speculative and just as unsatisfactory for me. There are alternate theories that go around, which I typically dont put much credence in either. One interesting theory though is that put forward by Joseph Newman that all matter is composed of gyroscopic particles. Certainly, there are numerous flaws in his theory as well, perhaps more. But, he at least attempts to do what great scientist in the past did, simplify our view of nature by finding underlying explanations. Its a move toward the elusive unification of forces.
3/22/05 5:23 PM
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GiHickies
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Edited: 22-Mar-05
Member Since: 12/11/2002
Posts: 135
I do not understand how matter and energy are the same thing. I particularly do not understand potential energy. If I hold a rock in my hand, it has the potential for energy to act on it to make it move, it does not have stored energy. Energy cannot be stored.
3/23/05 3:00 AM
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Dory
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Edited: 23-Mar-05
Member Since: 01/09/2005
Posts: 138
It does have stored energy. Energy is stored because of position when conservative forces are involved. As to not understanding how matter and energy are the same thing, I feel your pain there. Its a weird concept.
3/23/05 1:49 PM
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jgibson
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Edited: 23-Mar-05 02:01 PM
Member Since: 04/30/2001
Posts: 5181
"I particularly do not understand potential energy. If I hold a rock in my hand, it has the potential for energy to act on it to make it move, it does not have stored energy." It has potential energy due to the work against gravity that you have done to raise it from the ground to the height at which your hand is at.
3/24/05 7:28 PM
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GiHickies
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Edited: 24-Mar-05
Member Since: 12/11/2002
Posts: 136
Energy is movement, is it not?
3/25/05 1:10 AM
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Dory
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Edited: 25-Mar-05
Member Since: 01/09/2005
Posts: 143
Energy is not movement. Energy is a concept. One form of energy (the one Id term the fundamental form of energy) is related to movement. Thats kinetic energy, energy of motion. Potential energy on the other hand is energy due to an objects position within a conservative force field (thats not a political statement, trust me). A conservative force (like gravity or the electrostatic force) exerts a force on objects within the field. This force can do work on the objects, causing them to accelerate and gain kinetic energy. Because of this ability to do work, objects within conservative force fields are said to have energy based on their position within the field. (like a rock held abouve the ground)
3/26/05 1:53 AM
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GiHickies
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Edited: 26-Mar-05
Member Since: 12/11/2002
Posts: 137
Is conservative force the same as cohesive force? Cohesive forces hold things together. Gravity is the cohesive force that holds the planet together. But you can't store energy. Energy does not exist unless it's doing something, then that makes it active, not potential. The rock in my hand, held above ground, is being pulled on by the Earth's cohesive, attractive forces. The rock has energy being acted on it, though it does not move it, because my hand is stronger than the force of gravity in this case. The rock has the potential to move, not potential energy being held somewhere inside it. I don't think the concept of potential energy is called the right thing.

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