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1answer
34 views

Building blocks of particles in different theories

If I understand it correctly, in most theories in physics we exploit the notion of point, i.e. we have e.g. point-like particles. In string theory, we don't have points, but a notion of string. What ...
1
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0answers
59 views

point-particle vs rigid-body [closed]

As pointed out here point-particle-based modeling can lead to very inaccurate predictions. Could you give an example where point-particle-based model describes reality accurately enough and one where ...
1
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2answers
81 views

Divergence of conservative electric field

I have a little doubt about the following: according Gauss law in the form of Maxwell's equation, we know that: $$ {\rm div} (D)~=~ \rho(v) $$ This just tells us that the electric field has nonzero ...
28
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6answers
4k views

Do electrons have shape?

According to the Wikipedia page on the electron: The electron has no known substructure. Hence, it is defined or assumed to be a point particle with a point charge and no spatial extent. Does ...
8
votes
5answers
133 views

How can point-like particles in an ideal gas reach thermodynamical equilibrium?

Having learned that the particles of an ideal gas must be point-like (for the gas to be ideal) I wonder how they can reach thermodynamical equilibrium (by "partially" exchanging momentum and energy). ...
8
votes
3answers
655 views

Why must the particles of an ideal gas be point-like?

Why is a gas of elastically colliding hard balls of finite size not ideal? Respectively: Why is it essential that the particles of an ideal gas are point-like? Especially: Which ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Spatial bound on the internal electron structure

In 2006 the radius for a possible internal structure of the electron has been pinned down to $10^{-18} m$. This validates the approximation of electrons as point particles at long distances, e.g. in ...
5
votes
0answers
106 views

Are point particles the reason for 'infinities' in QFT?

One of my professors told us this semester, that the 'infinities' that arise in QFT are partly due to the use of the $\delta$-distribution in the commutator relations which read (for fermions) ...
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Curved spacetime point particle Lagrangian density

This is probably trivially related to the question: Action for a point particle in a curved spacetime , but am a bit unsure how to write it as a Lagrangian density. In curved spacetime the action is ...
1
vote
1answer
195 views

How can spatially extended objects behave like point particles?

Wikipedia states: Sometimes due to specific combinations of properties extended objects behave as point-like even in their immediate vicinity. For example, spherical objects interacting in ...
5
votes
2answers
120 views

Counting of brownian particles: Point Process

Imagine a point process defined by the passage time of purely brownian particles through a given point (in 1D), line (2D) or plane (3D). I'm interested in the variance of the counts (number of ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

How fair is it to say that all chemistry arises from failures of the ideal gas law?

I was reading here about how the ideal gas law assumes point masses and non-interaction. Is it fair to say that all chemistry arises from failures of that? Of course, such a sweeping generalization ...
3
votes
1answer
317 views

Infinite Energy of Point Charges (in the context of classical field theories)

In the context of classical physics,is there any renormalization method to avoid infinite energy of point charges?
2
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1answer
252 views

Point charge 4-current derivation

How do I derive that the 4-current of a point charge is $$j^{\mu}(x)=ec\int_{-\infty}^{+\infty}\dot{z}^{\mu}(s)\delta(x-z(s))ds$$ where $\dot{z}^{\mu}(s)$ is the 4-velocity of the charge and $s$ is ...
1
vote
0answers
408 views

Point charge moving towards a conducting plane

A point charge $q$ of mass $m$ is released from rest at a distance $d$ from an infinite grounded conducting plane. Show that the charge hits the plane after an amount of time given by: $ \Delta t= ...
2
votes
1answer
622 views

Discrete point particles stress energy tensor

I am trying to solve an exercise in Sean Carroll's GR book "Spacetime and Geometry". Basically we need to derive the stress-energy tensor of a perfect fluid (ie $T^{\mu\nu}=(\rho +p)U^{\mu}U^{\nu} + ...
4
votes
1answer
658 views

Does the speed of sand flow in a hourglass depend on a height of a sand column above the hourglass neck?

In a hourglass, does the sand flow through the neck depend on the amount of sand in the upper glass? If we consider a sand flow analogous to fluid flow, then it should depend linearly, but in that ...
6
votes
3answers
767 views

Point particle moving on a frictionless semicircular hill

Consider an point particle moving on a frictionless semicircular hill (curve). The particle's initial kinetic energy is equal to the potential energy on the top of the hill, i.e it has the necessary ...