This Physicist Says Electrons Spin in Quantum Physics After All. Here’s Why
Quantum physics is a fundamental area of physics that seeks to understand the behavior of matter at the smallest scales. One of the most important concepts in quantum physics is spin, a property of particles that can have a profound impact on their behavior. While electrons are known to have spin, the nature of that spin has been the subject of much debate among physicists for decades. However, a recent study by physicist Antony Valentini has reignited the debate, suggesting that electrons do indeed have a physical spin.
Valentini’s study, published in the journal Foundations of Physics, argues that electrons have a physical, objective spin that is not merely a mathematical abstraction. Valentini is a theoretical physicist at Clemson University in South Carolina, and his work builds on a long tradition of research in the foundations of quantum mechanics.
The debate over electron spin dates back to the early days of quantum mechanics, when physicists such as Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger developed the theory in the 1920s. At that time, the idea of spin was introduced to explain certain features of atomic spectra, the patterns of light emitted by atoms when excited by energy. However, the nature of spin remained somewhat mysterious, and it was not until the 1940s that a definitive explanation was proposed.
That explanation, developed by physicists Samuel Goudsmit and George Uhlenbeck, proposed that spin was an intrinsic property of electrons, similar to their charge or mass. Goudsmit and Uhlenbeck showed that spin could explain a wide range of experimental observations, and their theory was widely accepted by the physics community.
However, in the decades since, some physicists have questioned whether spin is a real physical property of electrons, or whether it is merely a mathematical abstraction. These skeptics argue that spin is not actually a physical rotation of the electron, but rather a mathematical construct that helps explain certain features of quantum mechanics.
Valentini’s study is significant because it offers a new argument in favor of the reality of spin. Valentini argues that spin is a physical property of electrons, and that it can be understood in terms of the behavior of the electron’s wave function. The wave function is a mathematical description of the electron’s behavior, and Valentini argues that the spin of the electron is related to the structure of the wave function.
Valentini’s argument is based on a theory called de Broglie-Bohm theory, which is a type of hidden variable theory. Hidden variable theories are an attempt to explain the strange and seemingly random behavior of particles in quantum mechanics by introducing additional, hidden variables that are not included in the standard quantum theory. In de Broglie-Bohm theory, the hidden variables are the positions of particles, which are assumed to have definite values at all times, even if those values are not directly observable.
Valentini’s study shows that the spin of the electron can be explained in terms of the behavior of the wave function and the hidden variables of de Broglie-Bohm theory. According to Valentini, the electron’s wave function can be thought of as a fluid that flows around the electron, and the spin of the electron is related to the way in which this fluid flows. Specifically, Valentini argues that the spin of the electron is determined by the vortices, or eddies, that are created in the fluid as it flows around the electron.
Valentini’s theory is still controversial, and many physicists remain skeptical of hidden variable theories like de Broglie-Bohm theory. However, his work is an important contribution to the ongoing debate over the nature of electron spin, and it may lead to new insights into the behavior of matter at the smallest scales.
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