Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If the sinusoidal electric component of a light wave were off-set to one side of the magnetic component and then the smaller "lobe" were to cancel out with much of the larger side, then where would the energy go? Would it not form a closed loop much like a mass-bearing string? Could the electrical energy not be converted into a gravitational field to bend space-time over the length of the wave to form a 1-D "string" along the junction of the perpendicular E and B fields? This would be much like folding a sheet of paper in half so that one edge protrudes past the other. The protruding edge being the electric component and the rest being electrical energy converted into mass/gravity (comparable to a mass-bearing string). The magnetic component could then arise from Lorentz symmetry as described by Lubos:

If you only start with the $E_z$ electric field, the component $F_{03}$ is nonzero. However, when you boost the system in the $x$-direction, you mix the time coordinate $0$ with the spatial $x$-coordinate $1$. Consequently, a part of the $F_{03}$ field is transformed into the component $F_{13}$ which is interpreted as the magnetic field $B_y$, up to a sign.

Is the described "string wave" model possible?

I realize that I haven't provided a mechanism to explain the proposed model. However "I do not reject food because I do not understand digestion." -Oliver Heavenside

From here on the rest of this post is merely a compilation of the "evidence" that circumstantially supports the proposed idea. Please do not feel required to address these topics. They are here because I think electromagnetic mass is real. I realize this borders on "promoting unaccepted theories," but it is merely my way of assessing the possibility. I promise not to bring this up again on SE if it is refuted.

The concept seems compatible with the standard model:

a.) an origin of charge has been proposed.

b.) eliminating one lobe has reduced the "spin" or magnetic field by 1/2 relative to a light wave.

c.) Lepton number 1 applies due to the "strong interaction" of the remaining electric component

d.) a mechanism of mass has been proposed.

Maxwells equations seem to fit:

The Laws of Electromagnetism have geometric relations incorporated into them that naturally arise from the proposed electron-as-an-EM-wave model: the dot product and the cross product specifically.

Ampere's Law

Ampere’s Law describes the magnetic field produced by the flow of electrons along a wire. The negative components of electrons flowing along the wire should repel each other, which would mean that the negative components should protrude from the wire like the dorsal fins of sharks swimming parallel and breaking the surface. Since the electrons are travelling in the same direction along the wire the magnetic components (in the direction of the side fins of the shark analogy) should be tangent to the surface of the wire, which results in a circular magnetic field around the wire just as Ampere’s Law and the Biot-Savart Law predict.

Faraday's Law

Faraday’s Law describes the electric voltage produced in a coil of wire as a magnetic field through it changes. The voltage is proportional to the number of loops of wire, which is counter-intuitive/non-conservative. Why should the voltage depend on the number of loops? An explanation naturally arises from the proposed model. Electrons inherently have velocity in the form of a "Poynting-like" vector. When the loop of wire encounters a changing magnetic field the "poyinting vectors" align and under the right orientations they align with the wire loops and thereby form electric current.

enter image description here

In the bottom orientation the magnet produces no EMF along the wire. In the top orientation the EMF is along the wire as seen in generators.

Schrodinger's statistical model won because Maxwells equations had already divorced physics from first causes. Saying that the surface covered area of a loop was the cause of EMF instead of the poynting vectors of electrons adding over the distance of the circumference.

Gauss's Laws

Gauss’ laws of electricity and magnetism are easily integrated with the proposed model as the net magnetic flux is zero and the net charge is unchanged. However Coulombs Law does not hold true at the subatomic level. The force between two charged electrons is modified by the presence of other electrons if electrons are not point charges, but electric components of an EM-wave.

Coulomb's law

Coulomb's law for point charges:

$$F=k\frac{q_1 q_2}{r^2}=\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\frac{qq_0}{r^2}\hat{u}$$

Does not hold at the subatomic level for all directions if a blip of negative charge sticks off one side of a mass-bearing electromagnetic wave. This naturally provides a classical explanation for "quantum tunnelling:" certain orientations of subatomic particles behave unlike point charges.

Atomic Orbitals

Take one electron and one proton and place them near each-other. The proposed model suggests an intrinsic and intuative reason why electrons don’t fall into the nucleus, which current theories lack. The velocity of an imbalanced EM wave is perpendicular to both the electric and magnetic components, which means that the radial acceleration of attraction towards the nucleus experienced by the electric component of an electron is always perpendicular to its velocity or the “Poynting vector” of an electron. All that is left for the electron to do is to set up the lowest energy standing wave possible. This also suggests that the proton rotates with the electron's orbit so that the "fins" constantly point toward eachother. Spherical harmonics should arise naturally from this arrangement and approximate to the schrodinger equation.

Relativistic Explanation of the Lorentz Force

Using relativistic tensors: "If you only start with the $E_z$ electric field, the component $F_{03}$ is nonzero. However, when you boost the system in the $x$-direction, you mix the time coordinate $0$ with the spatial $x$-coordinate $1$. Consequently, a part of the $F_{03}$ field is transformed into the component $F_{13}$ which is interpreted as the magnetic field $B_y$, up to a sign\cite{Lubos}."

If the electron is an E-M wave as proposed and the magnetic components align with the extern magnetic field, then performing the reverse of the above transformation should convert the external magnetic field into an electric component in the $E_z$ direction so that the electron feels the equivalent to a charge perpendicular to its direction of motion, which explains the Lorentz force.

Numerous Other Explanations

There are many other phenomena that seem to fit with the proposed model. I'm just running out of steam!

A Little History

Electrons were viewed as "matter waves" in DeBrogli's model. "Matter waves" is a polite way of saying: something is waving but we don't know what. Heisenberg came along and said that despite not knowing what is waving we can assume that the wave doesn't have any undiscovered properties that would allow for knowing both position and momentum (an arrogant assertion!). Schrodinger then came along and noticed that tweaking spherical harmonics provided a reasonable model of atomic orbitals (statistically). That all led to the Copenhagen interpretation, which Einstein called the "Born-Heisenberg tranquilizing philosophy, or religion." Electrons have continued to be treated as point charges or matter waves as is convenient for interpreting experimental results ever since.

QED and QCD have introduced "virtual photons" in explaining the interactions of "point charges" and light, etc. Surely "virtual photons" would be unnecessary if the point charges were instead modelled as EM waves themselves.

Particle physicists have invented a "higgs field" which they propose vibrates to create mass. The higgs field seems like adding epicycles: sorta unnecessary when there is a simpler and better alternative (that I have not really understood yet!). It has been obvious for decades that physics has stalled while trying to model hadrons as point charges. String theory has been a lonely success story waiting to happen. Electromagnetic string-waves are the future! (unless someone refutes me :-).

share|cite|improve this question
"Surely "virtual photons" would be unnecessary if the point charges were instead modelled as EM waves themselves." Uhm. I don't think that follows. Whatever the electron "is" it can be shown to be highly localized (no substructure down to $10^{-18}\,\mathrm{fm}$ at least), and yet you are asking that they reach out and touch things at a distance as an integral part of themselves (if I has misinterpreted that then you still haven't explained the interaction mechanism). – dmckee Jul 16 '13 at 18:35
@dmckee when you says "touch" at a distance, would that be referring to a planar electric field interacting with other particles to attract them from a distance? – Dale Jul 16 '13 at 18:44
Joe I mean any interaction at a distance. I am concerned that you don't understand what virtual particles are in the theory: they are an organizational tool for writing out a perturbation series that can be summed to give the full interaction. That theory can replicate classical electrodynamics and can also explain the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron to unreasonable precision (which classical E&M can not). That's what you have to replace if you want to do away with virtual particles. – dmckee Jul 16 '13 at 18:51
The Meissner effect comes to my mind when I read 'electromagnetism' and 'mass'... – Andre Holzner Jul 16 '13 at 19:51
Please supplement better your original idea with pictures and clarity. I did not get, what is the origin of charge? You are using already electric field (which is undefinable without charge). – Asphir Dom Jul 16 '13 at 20:05

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.