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Thread: Electrons with Positive Charge / Negative Mass

  1. #1
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    Electrons with Positive Charge / Negative Mass

    According to the Coulomb law of electrostatics, and Newton's second law of motion, a negative charge with a positive mass would have the same response to an external electromagnetic field as a positive charge with a negative mass. They both have the same charge / mass ratio and so would follow the same path in a cloud chamber. They're both charged and so would have an ionising effect on the gas in the chamber.

    Therefore we would not be able to tell them apart and would call them both "Electrons"...

    Likewise with a positive charge / positive mass vs a negative charge / negative mass, i.e we would call them both "Positrons"...

    Therefore if electrons / positrons with negative mass exist, it's entirely possible that we would not spot them because they would be confused with their already-known positive-mass counterparts.

    For further details, please see my website http://www.dirac-was-right.com

    Mark

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    If there were electrons with a positive charge, we'd expect them to have shown up in experiments like the Millikan oil drop experiment, and similar experiments that have been used to measure the charge of an electron. In that case, the gravitational force is exerted on the entire drop of oil (the electrons themselves provide an insignificant fraction of the mass involved), so it wouldn't make a difference whether the electron's mass were positive or negative. That type of experiment determines the absolute charge, not just a charge to mass ratio.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Not necessarily. Clearly the electrons that show up in the Milliken oil drop experiment have an absolute negative charge as you point out. And we would have to live on an anti-matter world to conduct the reverse experiment with positrons. However, that doesn't preclude positive-charge / negative mass electrons from showing up in other places such as sub-atomic particle interactions.

    As a further example ... see the following article that suggests electrons in a semi-conductor lattice show evidence of negative inertial mass:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0412084525.htm

    And thanks for your polite response!

    Mark

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    What on earth is negative mass anyway?

    ETA: Is negative matter antimatter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    What on earth is negative mass anyway?

    ETA: Is negative matter antimatter?
    No, antimatter has a normal, positive rest mass. Negative mass is a completely hypothetical thing. Theoretically, it could behave as markridler suggests: you exert a force to the right on a particle, but since the m in F = ma is negative, the acceleration is in the opposite direction, to the left. We have no evidence that such a thing actually exists, but we can certainly imagine how it would behave if it did. Certainly, if particles with negative matter do exist, they'd have to be quite rare, because there are a number of ways that they would not behave like normal electrons (I pointed out one), so they could not just be hiding in among the electrons indistinguishably.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    No, antimatter has a normal, positive rest mass. Negative mass is a completely hypothetical thing. Theoretically, it could behave as markridler suggests: you exert a force to the right on a particle, but since the m in F = ma is negative, the acceleration is in the opposite direction, to the left.
    Thanks Grey. That behaviour is bizarre. If I pushed at a ball of negative mass, it would stick to my hand. And how about the gravitational force? If a +ve mass and a -ve mass repel, then the two masses would still move towards each other. Or is that double-counting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    Thanks Grey. That behaviour is bizarre. If I pushed at a ball of negative mass, it would stick to my hand. And how about the gravitational force? If a +ve mass and a -ve mass repel, then the two masses would still move towards each other. Or is that double-counting?
    It might be a bit different than that. There's an idea called the diametric drive that might be possible if useful negative matter existed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakth...iametric_drive

    The diametric drive was a speculative proposal for an "engine" which would create a non-conservative gravitational field with non-zero curl. It was argued that in such circumstances, the side of the field which creates more force on the spacecraft will accelerate the spacecraft in the direction of the force.

    One idea for realizing this concept involved hypothetical particles with negative mass, originally proposed by Robert Forward and Jamie Woodward. If one were to construct a block of negative mass, and then attach it to a normal "positive" mass, the negative mass would fall towards the positive as does any mass toward any other. On the other hand, the negative mass would generate "negative gravity", and thus the positive mass (the spaceship itself generally) would fall away from the negative mass. If arranged properly, the distance between the two would not change, while they continued to accelerate forever. It has been argued that stability issues might arise.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2011-Dec-16 at 10:21 PM.

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    We had a pretty good discussion over here about how "negative mass" might behave. There are a couple of different possibilities (all completely hypothetical, of course), which have various kinds of strange behavior.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markridler View Post
    According to the Coulomb law of electrostatics, and Newton's second law of motion, a negative charge with a positive mass would have the same response to an external electromagnetic field as a positive charge with a negative mass. They both have the same charge / mass ratio and so would follow the same path in a cloud chamber. They're both charged and so would have an ionising effect on the gas in the chamber.
    They would have the same response as electrons to an external field, but electrons would not have the same response to their field. An electron would be attracted toward the negated-electron by the same amount that the negated-electron is repelled by the electron. You'd have to construct your cloud chamber out of negative matter as well, and keep any stray electrons out of the way.

  10. #10
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    What on earth is negative mass anyway?

    Would you accept -(m)? :P

    How about a curvature of space without a measurable body where lack of body exerts no forces on another object? Or howabout all that "stuff" at the mathematical origin that ended up being mass, would that have been negative mass given equalbirum of some kind is now positve mass?

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