Virtual Particles

The Standard Model and beyond, QED, QCD, etc.

Virtual Particles

Postby FrediFizzx » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:18 pm

There are many people that contend that virtual particles are not real and are just mathematical abstraction. However, in particle physics, the term "virtual" just means "off mass shell" so perhaps "virtual" is a bad name for particles that are "off mass shell". And a muon can't decay without there being a virtual W boson involved. For me, virtual particles also explain electromagnetic fields.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby jdfriedgen » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:53 pm

"For me, virtual particles also explain electromagnetic fields."

Would you mind posting a basic summary of your concept of this relationship, for those of us just coming into the discussion?
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby FrediFizzx » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:59 pm

Sure. Take an electron then there is a field of of virtual fermionic pairs that surround it with the majority being virtual electron-positron pairs. The positrons in the pairs will be attracted to toward the electron thus "tilting" the field of pairs in such a way that we have the familiar coulomb field that surrounds the electron and the "tilting" will drop off with the inverse square.

Man, those snowboarders at the winter olympics are crazy!

I wonder if I can put an image in here for something else.

Image
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby jdfriedgen » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:41 pm

Thanks!
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby gill1109 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:16 pm

It appears that inserting an image means inserting a link to an image elsewhere. Yet the image seems thereafter to be located on the forum.

Does the forum allow to upload attachments? (pdf files, computer scripts). That would be handy.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby FrediFizzx » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:33 pm

Sorry, no attachments for now. This forum is on a limited server as of right now. That may change in the future if traffic warrants it. Images for linking must be equal to or smaller than 800 x 800 pixels using the img tag.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby gill1109 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:31 pm

Thanks for explanations.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby gill1109 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:33 pm

Back on topic, there is a point of view that all "particles" are just abstractions. Words for objects in mathematical theories. We don't "see" photons, electrons. Rather, detectors respond (we imagine) to photons, electrons, whatever ... In quantum optics, the real things are the clicks of the detectors. We only *infer* the photons.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby FrediFizzx » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:43 pm

Well... I don't consider photons as "strict" particles. They are more like "wavicles" for me; phonons of the medium. But most particle physicists would disagree that elementary particles are just abstractions.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby gill1109 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:10 pm

None of these things are "just abstractions". They turn up in mathematical models and the models predict experiments very well indeed.

If we want to decide whether a particle is real or virtual, we had better come up with a definition of "particle".
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby minkwe » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:06 am

FrediFizzx wrote:Well... I don't consider photons as "strict" particles. They are more like "wavicles" for me; phonons of the medium. But most particle physicists would disagree that elementary particles are just abstractions.


It seems to me that particle mediated forces must be repulsive. If that is the case, attraction is a side-effect of a repulsive force. If "virtual particles" are mediating an attractive force, then those "virtual" particles would not be real but an abstraction of the more complicated mechanics which results in the attraction. For example, two particles which repel each other less than everything else repels them in their environment will appear to be attracted to each other. We might abstract the attraction in our mathematical models as a "virtual" particle mediating attraction but really, it is just an abstraction. If the abstraction is good, we will be able to make very accurate experimental predictions based on it, without it ceasing to be just an abstraction.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby FrediFizzx » Sat Mar 08, 2014 1:20 pm

Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of the thread, "virtual" in particle physics just means "off mass shell". For example, a virtual W boson is involved in the decay of a muon. If that virtual W boson is not real then a muon could not decay. And of course the W boson has to be way off mass shell in that scenario. A "virtual" particle has all the properties of its "real" counterpart except it is just off mass shell. That is the only difference.

Now the point you bring up is exactly why I believe all elementary gauge bosons to be phonons of the quantum "vacuum" as a relativistic medium. It is easier to visualize how attractive forces work in that viewpoint. But for another way to visualize it here is a link.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby Ben6993 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:22 pm

I hope I can add a few amateurish speculations here. My idea of an electron is a collection of preons (aka strings in my model). They are tightly bound in an elementary particle which cannot be undone without an interaction with another elementary particle. The electron is both a wave and a particle but it (or rather its wavefunction) is supposed to collapse at interaction. It is a wave when not at an interaction. So you could imagine it as a wave particle sequentiality. An interaction is needed to undo the knot of strings holding the electron together. In my model an elementary particle always changes structure at an interaction. A (say) left-handed electron goes into an interaction but a right-handed electron comes out of the interaction. So in a nearby thread the question was asked did the photon (or electron) exist before the interaction. Well, no, it cannot be the exact same particle. But was there a precursor particle to the photon in space (S3, R3, S7, or ???) ? Possibly not. But was the precursor particle existing somewhere. Definitely yes.

My idea of what happens to an electron at an interaction is fractally similar to Penrose's idea of the end of cycle in the CCC universe. The electron receives energy which sends it into a cold dark expansive end of electron, a BEC state where the electron contents are all bosonic [but fractally smaller than the normal bosons] and the electron's metric evaporates and starts again at a point. So that is how the electron wavefunction collapses.

A virtual particle is one which is neither inputted nor outputted in an interaction. But that depends, for me, too much on the observer influencing what is or is not an interaction. I think of a virtual particle as one where the knot of strings is half undone and temporary new particles are formed and undone and re-formed without fully tightening the knot and finishing the interaction. Like working with a "cat's cradle" rather than a knot.

With respect to the Bell experiments, Susskind says that having a beam of electrons prepared similarly, one can split the beam and rotate one half of the beam in a magnetic field. The magnetic field needs to rotate by 4π before things return to normal. But in a Bell experiment there is no possibility of any preparation of an electron. But say we could prepare an electron fully, and know its hidden variables fully. Then we could predict exactly the outcome of that electron at any detector setting. The detectors would all have to be set between 0 and 4π. The angle (e) would also be between 0 and 4π. The electron has no choice of outcome, the apparent choice occurs only when the observer does not know the hidden variables. As well as needing to set the detectors between 0 and 4π for a given electron, there are two kinds of electron, left-handed and right-handed and we would need to know which one we are dealing with. And ditto for the positron partner particle. But I firmly believe that the electron has no choice of outcome as how else could there be perfect anticorrelation of outcomes when A and B detector settings are equal.
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby Mikko » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:44 am

FrediFizzx wrote:There are many people that contend that virtual particles are not real and are just mathematical abstraction. However, in particle physics, the term "virtual" just means "off mass shell" so perhaps "virtual" is a bad name for particles that are "off mass shell". And a muon can't decay without there being a virtual W boson involved. For me, virtual particles also explain electromagnetic fields.


If a particle is present in some terms of a series and absent in other terms, can we call it "real"?
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby FrediFizzx » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:54 am

You are highlighting exactly the problem with the name "virtual" to describe particles that are "off mass shell". Both particles are "real" but there is a difference and it is unfortunate that particles that are "off mass shell" are connotated by a term that makes them seem as if they are not "real". How would you describe muon decay without a real "off mass shell" W boson being involved?
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Re: Virtual Particles

Postby lkcl » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:14 pm

FrediFizzx wrote:Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of the thread, "virtual" in particle physics just means "off mass shell". For example, a virtual W boson is involved in the decay of a muon. If that virtual W boson is not real then a muon could not decay. And of course the W boson has to be way off mass shell in that scenario. A "virtual" particle has all the properties of its "real" counterpart except it is just off mass shell. That is the only difference.

Now the point you bring up is exactly why I believe all elementary gauge bosons to be phonons of the quantum "vacuum" as a relativistic medium. It is easier to visualize how attractive forces work in that viewpoint.


after a *lot* of work and logical reasoning i'm coming around to some strongly-correlated conclusions which i'm willing to share (and am writing up here http://lkcl.net/reports/rishon_model_lexicon/ - work-in-progress please bear in mind )

(1) there is NO SUCH THING as a "Weak Force". there is however good supporting evidence for something called the "Weak Interaction".

(2) there is NO SUCH THING as a W or Z Boson. there is however a previously undiscovered (un-noticed) ultra-up and ultra-down quark, comprised of the superposition of five up/down quarks, such that some things called "ultra-pions" exist in a previously unnoticed family of pions and have been *mis-named* as "Bosons". this family happens to also include two leptons called ultra-proton and ultra-neutron which have similarly been misnamed "Higgs". i deliberately use the word "misnamed" because the amount of confusion that the term "Bosons" is creating is so ridiculously high.

(3) there is NO SUCH THING as a "gluon". there are however such things as "fantastically-short-lived pions which are created and instantaneously destroyed in a timeframe of the order of the compton wavelength". there are EIGHT of them - not one. there are therefore EIGHT different types of quotes gluons quotes (including both left and right chiral types) because there are eight different types of pions.

so.

would you agree, fredifizzx, that the firm existence of an ultra-pion (aka "Boson") would indeed make much more logical sense and allow *actual* particles to *actually* "decay" rather than be "nebulously possible only we don't know what's going on, really, when you get down to it"?

the reason why the W and Z quotes Bosons quotes can exist at such really ridiculously low energy levels compared to its actual mass is because when you look at its constituent parts it's actually made up of *five* pions (superimposed), four of which are entirely neutral and the last pair give the actual "charge" or "type". the amount of energy needed to bring a pion into existence is really rather low. five pions likewise rather low. they're "permitted" for a fantastically-short timespan to "jump" into a rather large radius, but by the time they've done so they've also "done their job", and they may collapse again near-instantaneously, and thus the constituent pions may wink out of existence as well.

believe it or not, energy is *completely* conserved throughout the entire process.

it *really is* a lot simpler than people suspect.
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