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Author Topic: "Point Charge" - Does it Exist?  (Read 31202 times)

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It's not as complicated as it may seem...
Every physics and EM theory text book talks about the so-called "point charge".

I have a great deal of doubt whether it does exist, and in fact I have issues with the term itself, and how it is used. Look at the attached screen shot from Wolfgang Pauli's book "Theory of Relativity" for a typical ambiguous use of the term.

Quote
...What we mean by a point charge here, is a charge...

A point charge can not be a "charge" in and of itself, it is some form of mass (usually a particle) that "carries", "contains", or "has the condition of" a charge. Charge itself is massless, so it can not be a particle or "thing" in the sense of being a physical object, and you can not have a "charge" without mass involved.

I also submit that a "point charge" can not exist in the sense that is depicted in all the reference material. Usually, a point charge is depicted as a small isolated point in space carrying a negative charge, denoted as -q or simply q. What exactly is the charge on this particle in reference to? I.E. it can not exist alone. For every charged particle, there exists another oppositely-charged particle coupled to it.

Therefore, the term "charge" can not preclude the fact that it goes hand in hand with an electric "dipole".

In this sense, we should not be searching for the ever-elusive "magnetic monopole", as it doesn't exist, nor is it required.

.99
   

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moving or changing  "charge" creates a magneitc field and opposite charges are attracted to each other
   

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It's not as complicated as it may seem...
moving or changing  "charge" creates a magneitc field and opposite charges are attracted to each other

Thanks for the grade 9 physics refresher....and?

.99
   

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Every physics and EM theory text book talks about the so-called "point charge".

I have a great deal of doubt whether it does exist, and in fact I have issues with the term itself, and how it is used. Look at the attached screen shot from Wolfgang Pauli's book "Theory of Relativity" for a typical ambiguous use of the term.

A point charge can not be a "charge" in and of itself, it is some form of mass (usually a particle) that "carries", "contains", or "has the condition of" a charge. Charge itself is massless, so it can not be a particle or "thing" in the sense of being a physical object, and you can not have a "charge" without mass involved.

I also submit that a "point charge" can not exist in the sense that is depicted in all the reference material. Usually, a point charge is depicted as a small isolated point in space carrying a negative charge, denoted as -q or simply q. What exactly is the charge on this particle in reference to? I.E. it can not exist alone. For every charged particle, there exists another oppositely-charged particle coupled to it.

Therefore, the term "charge" can not preclude the fact that it goes hand in hand with an electric "dipole".

In this sense, we should not be searching for the ever-elusive "magnetic monopole", as it doesn't exist, nor is it required.

.99

You always go after the big fish  ;D

Are you seeking to place symmetry back into post Heavyside electro-magnetics - Expose Coulomb's experiments for the amount of assumptions made or the mystical models invented to fit Newton's math - even worse, start theorizing??  ;)

Where did we come up with the idea of a monopole/point-charge? This would mean it could exist without anything else in the same frame of space-time.

Isn't that a bit idiotic? A point exists but the existence doesn't rely upon another existence to provide a source for comparison? I suppose it is time to go back on the meds. Really! They teach this crap today?

At least my mentors explained a point charge as a momentum with attraction and repulsion due to frame dragging(while in relative motion) and space-time warpage(while not in relative motion). This momentum was explained as storage of energy. There was no negative storage and direction didn't matter. That was in the late 60's & early 70's. Today, I'm sure they would be locked up, or forced to come in from the cold.  :-\

I also disagree with the pushed concept of a point charge and the current descriptions of a magnetic monopole.   

.99, I'm not sure how this fits with your thoughts....

If a charge monopole cannot exist then the charge dipole would have a trait of the magnetic dipole. When repelling poles approach each other it is said the force between them grows by the inverse-square law.

This is true for a monopole or dipole.... until the distance closes to a certain point. Then the force grows by the inverse cube law  :) Maybe a variation of Coulomb's experiment is in order?


---------------------------
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." - Einstein

"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." - Werner Heisenberg
   

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On second thought....

Such an exercise may require the redefinition of 'neutrality', first.  ???

The same mentors explained 'neutrality' as a relative state.


---------------------------
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." - Einstein

"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." - Werner Heisenberg
   

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Thanks for the grade 9 physics refresher....and?

.99

a refresher never hurts...

a negative charge will follow a positive charge around where ever it goes

you could apply the positive charge momentarily and at different positions to move the negative charge along

why are you bringing up all of this charge stuff anyway?

   

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It's not as complicated as it may seem...
WW,

I'm rarely certain whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with me.  :-\

I went after this because of what I said in the first post. Something just isn't right imho with the so-called "point charge" concept, and I have tried to express my thoughts on what the "problem" is, and as a result suggest that no monopoles (electric or magnetic) can or need to exist.

Whether this would mess with the current text book teachings, I don't know at this point (nor do I really care). However, it's now in the light if you wish to consider it's possible ramifications.

.99
   

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Some theorize that particles are loops or toroidal structures instead of points.  A point probably made for easy calculation early on and stuck.

"Charge" doesn't say much about the electric field that is attached to charges:

Quote
Electric charge is a physical property of matter which causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter.

From MIT:
http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/coursenotes/modules/guide02.pdf

   

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WW,

I'm rarely certain whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with me.  :-\


I have that problem with most folks. It isn't you  :)

I am agreeing, for the most part.

Using a more conventional way of thinking:

As you said, magnetic monopoles need not exist. I agree but also say charge monopoles (point charges) cannot exist. Charge is relative. If you had a single point charge, that charge would not matter and would cease to exist when all other point charges are removed from the space containing your point charge.

Your point charge would cease to exist until another point charge is placed in the same space (this includes measuring devices).

Using my way of thinking:

Magnetic monopoles do exist. We call them 'point charges'.
Charge dipoles do exist. We call them 'Magnetic dipoles'.

I think it is all relative and both are only properties of space. This is why I'm not really contradicting myself.  :) 


---------------------------
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." - Einstein

"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." - Werner Heisenberg
   
Group: Guest
Every physics and EM theory text book talks about the so-called "point charge".

I have a great deal of doubt whether it does exist, and in fact I have issues with the term itself, and how it is used. Look at the attached screen shot from Wolfgang Pauli's book "Theory of Relativity" for a typical ambiguous use of the term.

A point charge can not be a "charge" in and of itself, it is some form of mass (usually a particle) that "carries", "contains", or "has the condition of" a charge. Charge itself is massless, so it can not be a particle or "thing" in the sense of being a physical object, and you can not have a "charge" without mass involved.

I also submit that a "point charge" can not exist in the sense that is depicted in all the reference material. Usually, a point charge is depicted as a small isolated point in space carrying a negative charge, denoted as -q or simply q. What exactly is the charge on this particle in reference to? I.E. it can not exist alone. For every charged particle, there exists another oppositely-charged particle coupled to it.

Therefore, the term "charge" can not preclude the fact that it goes hand in hand with an electric "dipole".

In this sense, we should not be searching for the ever-elusive "magnetic monopole", as it doesn't exist, nor is it required.

.99

Poynty.  I think ZPE was developed to promote the concept of 'charge' having properties that are finite albeit infinitessimally small.  There is evidence of it's existence on this very small scale - in the casimir effect - and in the 'downward' decay of particles after an interaction where particles appear to 'disappear'.  The question then is where and into what?  But to the best of my knowledge - limited as it is - I do not think that it's ever associated with a field but rather with a localised condition within a field.  

'For every charged particle, there exists another oppositely-charged particle coupled to it.' This comment is interesting.  Leptons are a class of particles that are considered to be fundamental. In other words baryons - like the proton - are known to be composites.  They know this from their decay structures.  But leptons are considered fundamental.  And an electron is classified as a lepton.  I do, however, agree with your statement.  But it's an intuitive concept at best.  It is entirely unsupported by evidence.  I suppose it could be argued.  But any such argument would be based on supposition.  

And I DO think there are magnetic monopoles.  In fact electrons and protons are monopoles.  But it's a composite condition in a proton.  And frankly no-one knows what goes on in an electron.

The bipolar condition of a magnetic field is unarguable.  But it is only evident when that field is associated with matter.  But.  As two poles are then  invariably evident I think it can be argued that - if it comprises any matter at all - then those particles may be dipoles.  That's logical.  If it's true of the field then it may be true of each part of that field - and so on.  

I entirely agree that we need to stop looking for that monopole.  We definitely do not need it.

Rosemary
   
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