MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: VRD - electrical charges, specific mechanics

Date: Sun May 21 21:35:46 2000
Posted By: David Winsemius, M.D., BA (physics), MPH
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 958172996.Ch

I am not an expert in this area, but like you have an enduring interest in this 
kind of question. If you want to send another question to clear things up after I 
have taken a stab at it, I will not be at all offended. 

I want to congratulate you on a very deep question, and one that took a lot of 
work to understand on a fundamental level. Quantum electrodynamics (QED) and 
quantum field theory require that any interaction be mediated through 
interactions between quantized entities. Each type of interaction has its own 
force carrier. In the case of the electromagnetic force, which is the one you 
asked about, the force carriers between electrically charged particles are 
photons. The fact that photons are massless, means that the range of potential 
interactions is essentially infinite. In quantum field theory, the field  
established by each charge and its intensity determines the probability that a 
virtual photon (or other force carrier for the other types of forces) will be 
created from the field and travel to one or the other of the charged paticles and 
thus "nudge" it in the direction determined by the other charge. This happens so 
many times that the particles appear to have smooth acceleration when the model 
says they are having multiple mutual bumps from the photons they are "throwing" 
at each other. The Feynmann diagrams explicitly illustrate charged particles 
exchanging photons. See:


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