back to article Swiss, German physicists split the electron

An international research team has observed an electron being split into two “quasi particles”, one carrying the original particle’s spin, the other carrying its orbital movement. Spin (giving rise to magnetism) and angular momentum (the path the electron follows around the nucleus of an atom) are two out of the electron’s …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Swiss Light Source

    I didn't realise Steve Jobs was Swiss, nor that they had preserved his backside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Brainstorming Boffins Split Spin

      It's fundamental dontcha know!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know you guy's are just cutting and pasting press releases, but the Bohr model was abandoned almost 90 years ago.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

      Maybe so, but not AFAICT the standard model which says that electrons are, eh, infrangible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

        Neutron walks into a pub...

        Neutron: How much for a pint of bitter?

        Landlord: For you... No charge!

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

          Barman says: "We don't serve your kind in here?"

          A neutrino walks into a bar.

          1. John G Imrie Silver badge

            A neutrino walks into a bar.

            With any luck this is the first instance of this joke and we can spend the rest of the day waiting for it to be discovered.

          2. Ged T
            Happy

            Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

            LMAO next week!

          3. Gannon (J.) Dick
            Meh

            Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

            A neutrino^H^H^H^H^H^H^H tachyon walks into a bar.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

          Aaand, while we're at it ...

          An atom says to his friend, "Man, I think I've lost an electron." The friend says "Are you sure?" He answers: "I'm positive!"

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

        Electrons are still "infrangible"

        This here phenomenon seems to occur in a more complex materials that have several electrons and nucleai bunched up in a fracking complex structure.

        The problem is that the reporter tries to describe something using imagery that doesn't necessarily apply. One would have to start from the mathematical foundations. The methaphors may come later..

        1. Mike Bell
          Boffin

          Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

          Agreed. English language and the quantum world don't mix very well.

          Physicists use maths (including lots of imaginary numbers) to very successfully describe that world. But trying to imagine something like an electron as an object made of other stuff just doesn't apply.

          For example, Quantum Field Theory describes an electron as being something that is as big as the entire universe. It has a bit of "electronness" everywhere (the field being the whole universe and not just a football field). Only in some places and in some circumstances is it instantiated into something that you imagine a small point of charge to be.

          Then you get onto equivalences. A photon can be a bit of light one moment, and a pair of particles the next. Stand in an accelerating lift and you can't tell whether you're in a strong gravitational field or are simply accelerating.

          It's fascinating stuff, but so weird that it hurts my head thinking about it.

  3. Robert E A Harvey

    this is why I read El Reg

    See, this is possibly the most important bit of news this week, and certainly the most exciting. And none of the 'big' web sites are covering it.

    Presumably because it is not about football, or illustrated with a candid nap of an x-factor judge's gusset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: this is why I read El Reg

      This why I don't rely on El Reg, this story was posted 6 hours before El Reg could cut and paste it

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418134847.htm

      Broaden your horizons. However, you might be the first sighting of a Register Fanboi though.

      Am I biting the hand that feeds it? Oh yes!

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Am I biting the hand that feeds it? Oh yes!

        Pah!

        The Register has been seperating trolls from bridges for years.

        1. Graham Dawson

          Re: Am I biting the hand that feeds it? Oh yes!

          AC, with those sorts of charges you're going to be lepton.

      2. mhenriday
        Boffin

        There are, no doubt, a plethora of reasons for not «relying» on the Reg

        when it comes to contemporary science, but Richard Chirgwin's reports are, in my humble opinion, not among them. He does a excellent job of reporting scientific developments in popular (i e, non-mathematical) language, at least as good a job as such pop sci sites as Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/) or Phys Org (http://phys.org/). Moreover, from what I have seen, Mr Chirgwin is ready to correct his articles if and when errors of fact are pointed out to him. There are, alas, other bloggers here on the Reg whose dedication to scientific objectivity is far less evident and who would be much more appropriate subjects for your criticism....

        Henri

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: this is why I read El Reg

      I wouldn't call Ars Technica a 'small' site and they had it before El Reg

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: this is why I read El Reg

      "And none of the 'big' web sites are covering it."

      The BBC news website covered it a few hours before the reg.

      Is that 'big' enough?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17754216

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Science eh

    Just when we reckon we know it all, they go and discover new stuff.

  5. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Where did the charge go?

    Did it stay with the spinon, orbiton or wander off by itself to cry in the corner all alone?

    Is this result really that significant? Afaik this wasn't a true splitting of a discrete electron but rather the apparent shift of some of its properties around the electron sea in a semi conductor - whilst it's an exciting result - it's not the revelation that breaking apart a single electron orbiting a hydrogen atom would be.

    Having said that it may have theoretical and practical uses analogous to the 'electron holes' concept in semi-conductors.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Where did the charge go?

      A good question Gordon. It seems important enough to expect them to go looking for it or at least mention it. I suspect that what has happened is that the X-rays picked out some aspect of the properties of the quantum 'mush' that is smeared around the electron 'sea' of this complex crystalline solid.

      I also wonder what temperature the solid was at when they detected this.

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Where did the charge go?

      It's behind you!

    3. Marshalltown
      Coat

      Re: Where did the charge go?

      Probably the bar tender asked for cash. The split was the result of the quasi-particles hunting for their wallet and purse.

  6. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Kingons, Queeons & Republicons

    Splitting electrons is soooo boring. They'll just find another little Russian doll.

    I want to see proper, popular research, research that would be published by my journal of choice, namely 'Hello!'. When are we going to get concrete proof of the Pratchettian Kingons, Queeons and Republicons. The theory [1] has been around since the late 1980s. I, personally, am prepared to undertake the torture of minor royals in order to assist this valuable and necessary research.

    [1] http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mort-Discworld-Novel-Novels/dp/0552131067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334815856&sr=8-1

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kingons, Queeons & Republicons

      I propose that henceforth a population of holons be known as Roy.

      (orbiton)

      1. TheRealRoland
        Joke

        Re: Kingons, Queeons & Republicons

        Is he wearing black sunglasses? Oh, no, that's Roy Orbison...

        Keep mixing up names. Thursday yet?

  7. SimonG

    The seperation of spin . . .

    If you take the spinon out of politics - does that leave the true'on particle behind . . . there might be light at the end of the tunnel or is that mixing theories up?

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: The seperation of spin . . .

      Yes, but creatively. We might of course find that politics is nothing but spin, and taking spin away leaves nothing but emptiness (or a residue of hot air at most).

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: The seperation of spin . . .

        Nah. Take away the spin and you'd still have greed, rabid control-freakery and a smattering of pure evil left.

        Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

          The Nannyon?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

            The Tonyon?

            1. expat jan
              Big Brother

              Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

              Only recently shed ourselves of 13 years of the real rabid control freaks. The UK hadn't yet reached the 'glories' of North Korea and Stalinist USSR, but was well on the way.

              The Tories are doing a fine job of undoing the control mess left behind, but it is so great that socialist sect followers have difficulty distinguishing what is inherited control-freakiness from reality.

              1. Shakje

                Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

                I'll bite.

                "hadn't yet reached the 'glories' of North Korea and Stalinist USSR, but was well on the way"

                "have difficulty distinguishing [...] reality"

                Do you actually know what the Stalinist USSR was like?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

                  Cranks don't 'do' reality, so I think your biting will be in vain.

                  The 'rabid control' was indeed inherited - a continuation of policy from the 1980s onwards. I don't see much sign of it slowing down, let alone being 'undone'. Renaming the 'Interception Modernisation Programme' as the 'Communications Capabilities Development Programme' is not exactly bringing down the Berlin Wall, is it?

                  1. Graham Dawson

                    Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

                    I thought they renamed that the Berlin Transverse Aerial Navigation Aid.

                2. JEDIDIAH
                  Big Brother

                  Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

                  > Do you actually know what the Stalinist USSR was like?

                  You never knew if you, your friends, or your family members might suddenly disappear in the night.

                  Plus lines to get toilet paper.

                  1. Marshalltown
                    Devil

                    Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

                    And you really, really don't want to know about Marxist-Leninist toilet paper.

            2. Alvar

              Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

              The mandelson, surely?

          2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

            I prefer the Politicion. It comes in three quantum "flavours": Labour, Conservative, and Libdem. When observed before an election, the three flavours are distinctly observable. After an election Conservative and Labour turn out to be identical in terms of greed, incompetence, and all other observable quantum properties, and Libdem vanishes.

            1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
              Boffin

              Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

              when you split the Politicion and take out the spin, the orbit will become an inward spiral that will cause orbit particle to eventually disappear up its own arse, as usual the charge will be passed to the maninthestreetion.

            2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

              Libdem particle

              I think the Libdem particle is a good example of the uncertainty principle, you're never quite sure if it's there. The only thing you know for sure is that it has zero impact on anything else..

          3. Christoph Silver badge

            Re: Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?

            The Bliaron

        2. toadwarrior

          Re: The seperation of spin . . .

          Yourmomium

        3. h4rm0ny

          Re: The seperation of spin . . .

          "Hmm, I wonder what the fundamental particle of rabid control-freakery is called?"

          Money.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: The seperation of spin . . .

      You can take the spin out of politics, but you'll still get screwed by the remaining momentum... And the charge is always too high.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Totally off-topic

    An idea on a future approach on how to get rid of the pesky spacetime and unify QM and Gravity:

    http://media.scgp.stonybrook.edu/video/video.php?f=20120411_2_Arkani-Hamed_qtp.mp4

    Some of the Anons here may be interested.

    1. Red Bren
      Coat

      What's an "Anon"?

      Some kind of particle with unknown attributes, used to convey embarrasing or controversial information? this is probably what makes up dark matter. Can I have my Nobel prize now?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's an "Anon"?

        a memetic particle created by the Lulz-Haet Collider

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm uncertain

    "Spin here, orbit there..."

    Well, probably.

  10. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    According to the BBC blue cars can beat traffic jams, I'm going to buy one.

    "An analogy of this slippery idea is a traffic jam on a one-lane road - it is as if one blue car, pointed west and running at 1,000 RPM, passes on its blueness, its engine speed and its direction to adjacent cars."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17754216

  11. Blubster
    Coat

    Re: re: Bohr model was abandoned 40 years ago

    Two electrons walk into a bar. One turns to the other and says "Your round".

  12. despun

    "Spin .. and angular momentum ... are two out of the electron’s three quantum properties, the other is charge

    You guys really don't know your QM, do you ?

    Charge and spin are 2 intrinsic (fixed value) properties of an electron, as is rest mass. Angular monentum of an electron "orbing" a nucleus ( if and when it is part of an atom ) is one of several descrete but variable eigen values that will have at a particular time. If your counting that as a "quantum property " (eh ?) , then you need to count spin orientation and energy eigenvalue as well. The 2 out of 3 comment makes no sense at all.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Joke

      Well as meatloaf said/sang, "2 out of 3 ain't bad"

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      If they can be seperated, they can be useful.

      Use the spinions to build gyroscopes, use the orbitons to get up into orbit and the left over charge can be used to power the whole system. Simples.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spin (giving rise to magnetism)

    Taking a few minutes off from serious physics, they defined marketing!

  14. Andrew 98
    Coat

    Tricky things electrons

    A hydrogen proton went into a bar complaining that he'd lost his electron.

    "Are you sure?" asked the barman

    "Yes, I'm Positive!", wailed the proton.

    Sorry.

    1. Rocket888

      Re: Tricky things electrons

      A Higgs boson walks into a church. The priest says "We don't allow your sort in here!". The Higgs Boson says "But without me, how can you have mass?"

  15. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Happy

    Uncertainty

    http://www.dilbert.com/fast/2012-04-17/

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do a neutrino and I have in common?

    We're both constantly penetrating your mom.

  17. skuzzzy

    an electron starts bouncing up and down, next electron says:

    don't get too excited or you'll end up in a state

  18. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    New worst movie idea (political intrigue/thriller): Charge of the Spin Brigade.

    Can't be any worse than TTSP - man that was so sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.

  19. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Joke

    Harumph

    My last cell bill data usage indicates that ATT has already split the electron.

  20. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Splitting electrons...

    So, it's an onion - as per Feynman. Next they split the spinon into a spin and an on.

  21. hi_robb
    Facepalm

    Well..

    I'm just glad this wasn't another story about the Higgs Boson.

    They cause mass hysteria..

    /gets coat

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019