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Elementary/Can't be split?[edit]

"Condensed-matter physicists managed to detect the third constituent of an electron — its 'orbiton'. Isolated electrons cannot be split into smaller components, earning them the designation of a fundamental particle. But in the 1980s, physicists predicted that electrons in a one-dimensional chain of atoms could be split into three quasiparticles: a 'holon' carrying the electron's charge, a 'spinon' carrying its spin and an 'orbiton' carrying its orbital location. In 1996, physicists split an electron into a holon and spinon. Now, van den Brink and his colleagues have an electron into an orbiton and a spinon (abstract). Orbitons could also aid the quest to build a quantum computer — one stumbling block has been that quantum effects are typically destroyed before calculations can be performed. But as orbital transitions are extremely fast, encoding information in orbitons could be one way to overcome that hurdle." [1]

Shouldn't the article's initial part include something about this? (talk) 06:48, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

One caution: when solid-state physicists speak of a "particle" they are talking about a mathematical construction describing the collective behavior of electrons moving through matter. That isn't to say that the phenomena they're presenting are fake or insignificant -- it's probably good work. It's just that the quasiparticles are not fundamental particles in the sense of an electron or tau-neutrino. They're using electrons to do something cool, not creating new particles. Spiel496 (talk) 21:58, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Reference 124 specifically calls the "orbitons", "spinons", and "holons" new particles. As well, the wiki pages on those three quasi-particles state explicitly that the electron is made up of those; rather than being an elementary particle itself. Should the article be amended to state as such? (talk) 09:50, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

According to quasiparticles, no. Spiel496 (talk) 17:43, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Questions regarding History section[edit]

1. This statement ("The ancient Greeks noticed that amber attracted small objects when rubbed with fur. Apart from lightning, this phenomenon is humanity's earliest recorded experience with electricity.") seems to contradict information in the Wikipedia Electricity article, which states that the ancient Egyptians documented their experiences with electric fish long before the ancient Greeks came around. (History of electromagnetism suggests that the amber effect may have been experienced by prehistoric humans before electric fish, but that seems not to have been a "recorded experience," and in any case, that still pre-dates the ancient Greeks.) If the Electricity article is, in fact, correct, then I would suggest that the above-mentioned assertion needs to be revised, and further suggest that if the cited reference (Shipley) backs up the erroneous assertion (I haven't checked it), then that reference should be regarded as being somewhat less than reliable.

2. "In 1737, C. F. du Fay and Hawksbee independently discovered...", who is Hawksbee? It would seem to be Francis Hauksbee the elder, but the cited reference (Keithley) shows that he died in 1713. So how could he have done anything in 1737? shows there was also a Francis Hauksbee the Younger, who was also a scientist, but that's not enough to show his relationship to this subject matter. Further confusing the matter is English Cyclopedia by Charles Knight which seems to have mixed up the two Hauksbees, perhaps regarding them as one person. Also, the Keithley citation incorrectly points to page 207, which is about events of the 1800s, not 1700s. Hauksbee (the elder) is discussed starting on page 15 (where it says he performed a demonstration relevant to this subject matter in 1706, not 1737), and Du Fay is discussed starting on page 19. Perhaps they meant to point to page 20 (which I can't access)? Could someone who knows the subject matter help straighten all this out?

3. "Franklin thought that the charge carrier was positive." Presumably, this means "incorrectly thought." Since Franklin arbitrarily labeled the two aspects as positive and negative (apparently), is it correct to say that he "thought" the charge carrier was positive? Or would it be more correct to say, "Franklin thought of the charge carrier as being positive, but he did not correctly identify which situation was a surplus of the charge carrier, and which situation was a deficit." It may also be interesting to note (if this is true, but I'm not an expert) that this decision on his part is what led to electrons being assigned a negative charge value and that likewise positive current is regarded as opposite to the flow of electrons (i.e., due to Franklin's arbitrary assignment).

4. I don't get why "fast-moving" was changed to "quickly-moving" (31 May 2012,‎ The former ("fast-moving") is correct English, and sounds better. The same paragraph also has "fast moving" which should probably be "fast-moving" as well. -- HLachman (talk) 16:38, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

If nobody has any input on the above questions, I may go ahead and make relevant edits sometime soon. -- HLachman (talk) 08:51, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I went ahead and made the 4 edits suggested above. -- HLachman (talk) 11:59, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Electron mass is wrong[edit]

I think the electron mass in u is wrong. It should be something like 1/1830 u, which is 5.5e-4 u rather than the "1,822.88e-1 u" that has been posted in the info-bar. Dha250 (talk) 09:38, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

That's what it says in the info box: 5.5×10−4 u or [1,823]−1 u. Note the difference between 1,823e-1 (which is 182.3) and [1,823]−1 (which is 1/1823). — HHHIPPO 17:54, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I expected scientific notation rather than a fraction. Regards, Dha250 (talk) 09:37, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

If by u they mean amu then I think the electron mass is wrong as of Feb 2014 (see The current stated value of 5.4857990946(22)e−4 given by P.J. Mohr, B.N. Taylor, and D.B. Newell (2011) seem as though it is long overdue to be updated with 0.000548579909067 amu from Nature 506, 467–470 (27 February 2014) (S.Sturm, F.Köhler, J.Zatorski, A.Wagner, Z.Harman, G.Werth, W.Quint, C.H.Keitel & K.Blaum). Even though it needs to be averaged, the 2014 measurement should be the dominant one. 13 April 2015

Ratio of electrons to protons[edit]

Assuming that our developed concepts related to the magnetic and electrical properties are essentially correct, where is it established that the ratio of electrons to protons has to be exactly one to one? If it is, how do we explain how the individual proton inside the nucleus is able to manage its delegated individual electron? Since the electrostatic field of the sum of the protons is a summarized value, how does the loss or change in binding energy value of an individual electron result in a condition of ionization of the electrostatic charge of the atom. These questions make the data concerning the difference between the stability of the isotopes, such as: (OE53I127 (stable, -88983Nubase), and (EO54Xe127 ec, 36.345days, -88321Nubase) hard to explain and understand.WFPM (talk) 02:15, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Etymology of electron[edit]

The etymology given is incorrect. Electron is not "a combination of the word electric(icity) and the Greek suffix "tron", meaning roughly 'the means by which it is done'"; it comes from the word "elektron" in Greek which means "amber". Here's proof:^Amber,%20subs. (talk) 00:26, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

  • The etymology given is not quite right, but it is also untrue to say it comes from Ancient Greek elektron (except indirectly, of course). The OED gives: " < electr- (in electric) + -on (in ion)." This makes sense if you consider that the word originally referred to (again quoting the OED) "the electric charge associated with a univalent ion"; and this is clear from the first recorded citation (GJ Stoney, in Transactions of the Royal Dublin Society, 1891), "A charge of this amount is associated in the chemical atom with each bond [...]. These charges, which it will be convenient to call electrons, cannot be removed from the atom; but they become disguised when atoms chemically unite." I think this supports the idea that the coinage was a sort of compound form of "electric ion". Widsith (talk) 14:03, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. It's a semi coincidence that the Greek words for amber and "going" (ion) both end with "on", but this is a common Greek word ending associated with neuter nouns and present participial case verbs. So here a compound or portmanteau word happened to be the same as one of its original roots. But it came from two words anyway. Also the date for coinage was 1891 not 1894 and I will fix that. SBHarris 16:14, 11 April 2013 (UTC)


Why on earth should citations not be wrapped or at least condensed to 1-2 lines? One person's infrequent need of editing the citation is a detriment to any other user who wishes to see the content of, and edit the page. This doesn't seem at all logical to me, and if someone could explain, please do so. Techhead7890 (talk) 13:21, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Multi-line citations are much easier to parse, to edit and to verify. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 13:36, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. Well, I guess that's a simple limitation of wiki-markup and inline citations. That being said, does a citation template really have to encompass 10 lines? In the current edition, the following is present:
{{cite book
 | last = Anastopoulos | first = C.
 | year = 2008
 | title = Particle Or Wave: The Evolution of the Concept of Matter in Modern Physics
 | url =
 | pages = 236–237
 | publisher = [[Princeton University Press]]
 | isbn = 0-691-13512-6

I could see the following be condensed much like the first line:

{{cite book | last = Anastopoulos | first = C.
 | year = 2008 || title = Particle Or Wave: The Evolution of the Concept of Matter in Modern Physics || pages = 236–237
 | url =
 | publisher = [[Princeton University Press]] || isbn = 0-691-13512-6 |}
I'm absolutely not saying that it *can't or shouldn't* be used, because I understand the fact that ease-of-use is important; it just seems a bit obnoxious to take up *so many* lines in the editbox... Techhead7890 (talk) 13:47, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
That's... awful. You have to read almost all of the citation to find anything. If it really annoys you, you can move everything in the ref section, and use <ref name="Bob1995"/> (this is partially implemented in Atom), but please keep the citations on multiple lines. Headbomb {talk /

contribs / physics / books} 15:35, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Ah, now that's a good alternative which I hadn't heard of before. Fair enough, and I don't think I'll be touching the article - I might come back to it at a later date to implement your suggested means, but the section below is my priority. Sorry if there's been any misunderstanding over my intent - I don't not value the maintenance of citations - they're important and things like deadlinks or made-up-stuff make me cringe - but I don't really like untidy markup either... Techhead7890 (talk) 20:40, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

New mass[edit]

5.48579909067 e-4 amu. Measured by S. Sturm, F. Köhler, J. Zatorski, A. Wagner, Z. Harman, G. Werth, W. Quint, C. H. Keitel & K. Blaum. Paywalled cite of their published article is here, but it doesn't show the value in the abstract. The value comes from other linking websites. No reachable cites have an error term, so I'm not going to add it to the article. Ironically, the error term on the value in the article doesn't contain the mean value given here. Welcome to science; mind the gap. (talk) 06:34, 21 February 2014 (UTC)


What data are there about the radius of an electron? Is it a true point particle or its radius has the order of magnitude of attometres or zeptometres and how can be determined?-- (talk) 12:56, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

The electron is considered to be a point particle.
If we take the 'classical' definition of angular momentum
 \mathbf{L} = \mathbf{r} \times \mathbf{p}
and consider the electron to be a point orbiting on a circular orbit of radius one-half Planck length with a linear momentum equal to the Planck momentum, we get
 \mathbf{L} = \left( \tfrac{1}{2} \times 1.61619997 \times 10^{-35} \text{ m} \right) \times \left( 6.52485 \text{ kg m/s} \right) = \frac{1}{2} \left( \frac{h}{2 \pi} \right) = \frac{1}{2} \, \hbar,
thus an angular momentum of one half (of the reduced Planck constant), which is the spin of the electron.
It's as if the electron spins as fast as allowed on some indeterminate circle on a sphere with a diameter of one Planck length!
Tentacles mailto:Tentacles 05:34, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

The article mentions that by observations in Penning trap, the upper bound of electron radius is 10e-22m, which shows an inconsistency with the assumptions of a point particle. I also notice an unexplained reversion of this notice by Materialscientist.-- (talk) 21:53, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Who said this is an inconsistency? Note that different techniques may give different radii - this is common in atomic physics. Materialscientist (talk) 22:01, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I see this very interesting discussion related to assumptions, inconsistency, disproving and falsifiability applied to a scientific aspect. When the measurements point to non-zero values of some quantity which by some assumption is considered zero, isn't this an example of disproving and inconsistency?-- (talk) 12:42, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
No, this isn't an inconsistency. The "upper bound" means the electron radius cannot be larger than 10-22m. Zero meters is consistent with that limit. I think the article is clear enough as it stands.Spiel496 (talk) 17:32, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Zero is given by 10e-infinite. 10-22m is a finite value, non-zero value. Considering it zero here by taking the limit doesn't make sense. I think the article is not clear enough and the discussion is legitimate.-- (talk) 08:32, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I can't follow what you are saying. I don't know what you mean by "taking the limit". If you have an alternative wording for the phrase in the article, "upper limit of the particle's radius is 10−22 meters", feel free to propose it here. Spiel496 (talk) 21:55, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I see this discussion which seems to be needing a clarification. Perhaps the mentioned phrase "taking the limit" points to the consideration whether the mathematical concept of limit applies here to radius of the electron. The mentioned exponentiated value is different from zero. Zero (electron radius) can only be seen as 10−inf by applying the mentioned mathematical concept.-- (talk) 11:48, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Another experimental fact that points to non-zero electronic radius is the existence of the solvated electron in ionic solutions. A point particule (zero radius) can't have a solvation shell, can it?-- (talk) 12:48, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
The solvation shell article doesn't even mention the size of the core ion. Please drop this discussion. Spiel496 (talk) 17:32, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Virtual Particles: Zitterbewegung "caused by" virtual photons, "causes" spin?[edit]

My understanding is that Zitterbewegung is inherent in the Dirac equation, and that spin was generally agreed upon to be an elementary/irreducible concept...but both of these seem to be contradicted in the last paragraph of the Virtual Particles section:

The apparent paradox (mentioned above in the properties subsection) of a point particle electron having intrinsic angular momentum and magnetic moment can be explained by the formation of virtual photons in the electric field generated by the electron. These photons cause the electron to shift about in a jittery fashion (known as zitterbewegung),[89] which results in a net circular motion with precession. This motion produces both the spin and the magnetic moment of the electron.[9][90] In atoms, this creation of virtual photons explains the Lamb shift observed in spectral lines.[83]

I've yet to get past the source's abstract (, but it sounds like it's a historical survey of different (and mutually-contradictory) ideas about Zitterbewegung. So, is it a controversial/unsubstantiated interpretation being presented as fact, or am I an ignoramus (or both)? 15:38, 15 October 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:9:3400:74:387B:B56A:92D3:EA18 (talk)

Update - got through the source, which in turn cites for the interpretation at issue Huang's Statistical Mechanics, page 75...I happened to have a copy of the second edition on my shelf, and I'm not seeing this on or around page 75, and there's no entry for Zitterbewegung or Dirac equation or Spin or Electron in the index (nor do I recall this from when I plowed through it last year, though I wasn't exactly thorough); obviously this refers to a different edition, so perhaps it was removed? (talk) 18:43, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps the original articles by Foldy and Wouthuisen or the book reference should be checked for details.-- (talk) 12:47, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

Spin can also be related to the finite non-zero radius of the electron as pointed out by Penning trap experimental values.-- (talk) 12:53, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

A useful link on the connection between Zitterbewegung and electron is: A. O. Barut and A. J. Bracken, “Zitterbewegung and the internal geometry of the electron,”Phys. Rev. D 23, 2454 (1981).-- (talk) 21:46, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Standardize subatomic particle organization?[edit]

I've noted that the articles for neutron, proton, and this article, have disparate article organizations. I've been raising the notion of standardizing the organization of these key articles to some extent. So far, I suggest that after the Introduction, there be a brief Summary or Description section summarizing the main characteristics of the particle, followed by the History section, then other sections as needed. The Summary section is to provide readers with the essentials (a Cliff Notes of the article, if you will), while the History section provides not only the history, but oftentimes key details for understanding the particles. This article could likely benefit from a brief Description section at its start - many readers will just want to know some of the basic facts up front, and prefer not to have to read the entire article and glean the main points only after some labor. Seems to me that all of these articles can be made better by synchronizing them about their relative strengths. It would be hopeless to attempt complete standardization; but these articles should at least have a similar look about them! Bdushaw (talk) 02:35, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Request: Make this page semi-protected[edit]

I don't know if there is a template for this request but anyway... Lately there has been no useful edits by IPs. Most, if not all of them, have been reverted by Materialscientist, so I wanna know whether you agree to semi-protect this page Tetra quark (talk) 14:09, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Yet another disruptive editing. Is there any one who reads this talk page? Tetra quark (talk) 15:01, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Well, I requested a semi protection onWikipedia:Requests_for_page_protection and it has been accepted. Nice Tetra quark (don't be shy) 12:24, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Weak Isospin[edit]

If I understand correctly, only left-handed electrons interact via the weak force. If correct, its pretty important and should be included here. Probably both in the RH Table, and in the missing text discussion of spin, chirality, isospin and weak isospin; imho.Abitslow (talk) 20:02, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

electron to photon conversion[edit]

I believe the solar cell, the radio, vision and the incandescent light are examples of the electron to photon process. I do not know the mechanics of this process. I just accept what appears to be obvious and go from there.Does anyone share this view? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

No, this is not correct. These processes are all well-understood in physics, and cannot be described as an "electron-to-photon conversion". —Quondum 16:52, 15 May 2015 (UTC)