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RE: Why Do Particles Spin?

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Posted by Master_Intellect on April 7, 2000 02:46:44 UTC

The idea of particle spin is more of an analogy to help us think of it pictorially, more than it is a real physical description of what the particle is doing. See, particles like electrons have these observed values, like the usual mass and charge and such, but they also have this thing called a magnetic dipole moment, another observed quantity. Now on macroscopic scales a magnetic dipole moment is caused by an electrically charged object spinnning on some axis, and the magnetic dipole moment acts in the axis of rotation. So since we see this magnetic moment on particles like electrons, we say that they have a spin asociated with this moment. But really its not as simple as this, because electrons are fundamental quantum mechanical particles and have to be described with the schrodinger wave equation. Actually if one incorporates special relativity with the shrodinger equation, one can predict or verify that the electron must have a spin of |1/2|. But showing you that here would be rediculus, its very advanced math. Also, an electron is, as far as we know, a point particle, and how can a particle with no spatial extent `spin` (same with the other fundamental particles).
But those are darned good questions. Spin is another of those things in nature that must be conserved, like energy and mass. Why conservation laws exist in the universe is a deep, deep, grand question...If you really want the answers to that, you will be in school for a long time..maybe 8 years of advanced physics...but thats what I`m in and its quite fun and enlightening. Keep asking why..those were brilliant questions...

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