Fundamental characteristic property of particles which together with orbital angular momentum acts as the generator of rotations and which doesn't have a classical equivalent but is sometimes compared to and contrasted with classical intrinsic angular momentum.

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What is spin as it relates to subatomic particles?

I often hear about subatomic particles having a property called "spin" but also that it doesn't actually relate to spinning about an axis like you would think. Which particles have spin? What does ...
37
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7answers
3k views

Why does everything spin?

The origin of spin is some what a puzzle to me, everything spin from galaxies to planets to weather to electrons. Where has all the angular momentum come from? Why is it so natural? I was also ...
63
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9answers
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Is Angular Momentum truly fundamental?

This may seem like a slightly trite question, but it is one that has long intrigued me. Since I formally learned classical (Newtonian) mechanics, it has often struck me that angular momentum (and ...
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2answers
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How does one experimentally determine chirality, helicity, spin and angular momentum of a fundamental particle?

If I've got an instance of a fundamental particle, how can I separate out the measurements of these four quantities? (I think) I understand the theory behind them, and why the particles in the ...
33
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4answers
23k views

Why do same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

I know plus pushes another plus away, but why, really, do they do that? On the other hand, molecules of the same type are attracted to each other. I find that weird. I do know some stuff about four ...
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What are some useful ways to imagine the concept of spin as it relates to subatomic particles?

The answers in this question: What is spin as it relates to subatomic particles? do not address some particular questions regarding the concept of spin: How are some useful ways to imagine a ...
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4answers
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Why is the $S_{z} =0$ state forbidden for photons?

If photons are spin-1 bosons, then doesn't quantum mechanics imply that the allowed values for the z-component of spin (in units of $\hbar$) are -1, 0, and 1? Why then in practice do we only use the ...
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1answer
1k views

Why does photon have only two possible eigenvalues of helicity?

Photon is a spin-1 particle. Were it massive, its spin projected along some direction would be either 1, -1, or 0. But photons can only be in an eigenstate of $S_z$ with eigenvalue $\pm 1$ (z as the ...
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4answers
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How to tackle 'dot' product for spin matrices

I read a textbook today on quantum mechanics regarding the Pauli spin matrices for two particles, it gives the Hamiltonian as $$ H = \alpha[\sigma_z^1 + \sigma_z^2] + ...
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2answers
8k views

Why do we not have spin greater than 2?

It is commonly asserted that no consistent, interacting quantum field theory can be constructed with fields that have spin greater than 2 (possibly with some allusion to renormalization). I've also ...
11
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2answers
929 views

Why gravity is a spin-2 field? How can I read the spin from Einstein-Hilbert action?

I have often heard that the gravitational field has spin $2$. How can I read the spin of the field from the Einstein-Hilbert action $$S=\int \! \mathrm{d}^4x \,\sqrt{|g|} \, \mathcal{R} \, \, \, ?$$
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3answers
682 views

Why does spin have a discrete spectrum?

Why is it that unlike other quantum properties such as momentum and velocity, which usually are given through (probabilistic) continuous values, spin has a (probabilistic) discrete spectrum?
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1answer
564 views

Why is the value of spin +/- 1/2?

I understand how spin is defined in analogy with orbital angular momentum. But why must electron spin have magnetic quantum numbers $m_s=\pm \frac{1}{2}$ ? Sure, it has to have two values in ...
12
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3answers
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Adding 3 electron spins

I've learned how to add two 1/2-spins, which you can do with C-G-coefficients. There are 4 states (one singlet, three triplet states). States are symmetric or antisymmetric and the quantum numbers ...
10
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1answer
453 views

Spacetime Torsion, the Spin tensor, and intrinsic spin in Einstein-Cartan theory

In Einstein-Cartan gravity, the action is the usual Einstein-Hilbert action but now the Torsion tensor is allowed to vary as well (in usual GR, it is just set to zero). Variation with respect to the ...
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4answers
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Huge confusion with Fermions and Bosons and how they relate to total spin of atom

I am supremely confused when something has spin or when it does not. For example, atomic Hydrogen has 4 fermions, three quarks to make a proton, and 1 electron. There is an even number of fermions, ...
14
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4answers
3k views

Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
8
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2answers
710 views

How do you find spin of a particle from experimental data?

So I was wondering, with all this Higgs talk going on, they just detected a particle with a mass of 125 GeV (CMS) or 126.5 GeV (ATLAS). But they still don't know what it is, since there is tons of ...
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4answers
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Where is spin in the Schroedinger equation of an electron in the hydrogen atom?

In my current quantum mechanics, course, we have derived in full (I believe?) the wave equations for the time-independent stationary states of the hydrogen atom. We are told that the Pauli Exclusion ...
15
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1answer
727 views

A reading list to build up to the spin statistics theorem

Wikipedia's article on the spin-statistics theorem sums it up thusly: In quantum mechanics, the spin-statistics theorem relates the spin of a particle to the particle statistics it obeys. The spin ...
13
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5answers
2k views

Difference between spin and polarization of a photon

I understand how one associates the spin of a quantum particle, e.g. of a photon, with intrinsic angular momentum. And in electromagnetism I have always understood the polarization of an EM wave as ...
9
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2answers
4k views

Why Silver atoms were used in Stern-Gerlach experiment?

For the Stern-Gerlach experiment done in 1922: Why were silver atoms used? Silver atoms contain many electrons in different shells (with different angular momemtum quantum numbers. Why are those not ...
9
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2answers
813 views

Spin - where does it come from?

I study physics and am attending a course on quantum field theory. It is hard for me to draw connections from there to the old conventional theories. In quantum field theory spin originates from the ...
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4answers
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Why would Klein-Gordon describe spin-0 scalar field while Dirac describe spin-1/2?

The derivation of both Klein-Gordon equation and Dirac equation is due the need of quantum mechanics (or to say more correctly, quantum field theory) to adhere to special relativity. However, excpet ...
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1answer
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Why do galaxies and water going down a plug hole spin?

We all experience things spinning, whether it's water down a drain, the earth on its axis, planets round the sun, or stars in a galaxy - even electrons round an atom. But why is spin so common in ...
18
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1answer
473 views

Is there a field equation which can reduce into all three flavors of spin (zero, one, one half)?

Is there a known particle field equation of a similar form $$ \begin{equation} (\Gamma^n \pi_n)^2 \Psi = (mc)^2 \Psi \tag{1} \end{equation} $$ such that by reducing the number of degrees of freedom ...
12
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1answer
808 views

What is the difference between the properties of Electron spin and Photon polarization/helicity?

What is the difference between a photon's polarization/helicity and an electrons spin half? I know that the photon is spin 1 but isn't its polarization analogous to spin half? This question stems ...
7
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2answers
697 views

Meaning of spin

I'm pretty astounded that I did not hear about this sooner, but in my course on QFT our professor told us that the concept of spin can be used to mean three things: Mechanical spin (apparently a ...
13
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1answer
953 views

What is a general definition of the spin of a particle?

In quantum field theory, one defines a particle as a unitary irreducible representations of the Poincaré group. The study of these representations allows to define the mass and the spin of the ...
8
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3answers
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What's is the origin of Orbital Angular Momentum of electrons in atoms?

Consider the Hydrogen 1s electron. We know that, in the quantum picture, the electron isn't orbiting or rotating at all, rather we simply state that the electron is spread over the entire space with ...
8
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1answer
265 views

Is conservation of statistics logically independent of spin?

If the number of fermions is $n$, we expect the quantity $(-1)^n$ to be conserved, i.e., $n$ never changes between even and odd. This is known as conservation of statistics. In the normal context of ...
6
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2answers
857 views

How does one show using QED that same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

Why do same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other (please explain the phenomenon using real laws of nature (QED) not with the approximation model)?
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2answers
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Why do many people say vector fields describe spin-1 particle but omit the spin-0 part?

We know a vector field is a $(\frac{1}{2},\frac{1}{2})$ representation of Lorentz group, which should describe both spin-1 and spin-0 particles. However many of the articles(mostly lecture notes) I've ...
5
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2answers
631 views

Number of Components of a Spinor

I'm trying to develop my understanding of spinors. In quantum field theory I've learned that a spinor is a 4 component complex vector field on Minkowski space which transforms under the chiral ...
12
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3answers
2k views

An electron has no known internal structure, does that imply it has an unknown one?

I'm currently reading Alonso and Finn's Electromagnetism book. It explains that the spin contributes to the magnetic moment and is somewhat comparable to a rotation of the particle around its own ...
10
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2answers
572 views

Groups acting on physics - a clarification on electrons and spin

My first question is fairly basic, but I would like to clarify my understanding. The second question is to turn this into something worth answering. Consider a relativistic electron, described by a ...
3
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4answers
730 views

Why, for a spin-½ particle, are the possible outcomes of measuring spin projection along any direction the same?

If one measures the projection of spin of a spin half particle along the $x$ axis one will always get $\pm\tfrac12\hbar$. Measuring it along the $y$ axis one will always get $\pm\tfrac12\hbar$. ...
3
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1answer
333 views

Twistor notation in space-time (Part 1)

This is sort of a continuation of this and this previous discussions. In the first of my links one sees the surjective isometry between real or complex $(1,3)$ signature Minkowski space and the real ...
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2answers
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Why is the string theory graviton spin-2?

In string theory, the first excited level of the bosonic string can be decomposed into irreducible representations of the transverse rotation group, $SO(D-2)$. We then claim that the symmetric ...
5
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1answer
548 views

Matrix representation angular momentum

We are supposed to give a matrix representation of $L\cdot S$ for an electron with $l=1$ and $s=\frac{1}{2}$. I read $L\cdot S$ as $L \otimes S$. Is this correct? Then we would have e.g. for ...
4
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2answers
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What does it really mean that particle has a spin of up/down? And how is spin actually meassured?

I been reading some physics articles (related to the recent discovery of the particle that could be a Higgs boson) posted online and it was talking about electron spin and how it can only have values ...
2
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3answers
623 views

Spin decomposition in general

I can turn-the-crank and show that $\frac{1}{2}\otimes \frac{1}{2} = 1\oplus 0$ etc, but what would be a strategy to proving the general statement for spin representations that $j\otimes s ...
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How can a point-particle have properties?

I have trouble imagining how two point-particles can have different properties. And how can finite mass, and finite information (ie spin, electric charge etc.) be stored in 0 volume? Not only that, ...
3
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0answers
107 views

What are the assumptions behind “term symbols”?

In multi-electron atoms, the electronic state of the optically active "subshell" is often expressed in "term symbols" notation. I.e. $^{2S+1}L_J$. This presumes that the system of electrons has ...
2
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1answer
134 views

What is the spin state of a spin-1/2 particle when it comes out of a Stern-Gerlach apparatus?

Having a particle entering the apparatus with spin state $|+\rangle$, for which $\hat S_x|+\rangle=+\frac\hbar 2|+\rangle$, I have a question about how to express the spin state when it comes out. I ...
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2answers
392 views

Quantization of Electron Spin

Why is electron spin quantized? I've seen the derivation for the Hydrogen atom's energy levels, but my professor jumped to electrons having spin 1/2 or -1/2 as experimental. Why do electrons obey the ...
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523 views

How can a particle with no size have angular momentum?

I was recently reading about Higgs boson and particle spin and I stumbled upon a question that explains what is spin. It explains that electrons have no size yet they have angular momentum. I don't ...
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0answers
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Entanglement of two particles with same values of the entangled parameters?

The question For an entangled state consisting of systems A and B, if A is measured when does the wavefunction at B collapse? contains next entangled state: If there are two systems A and B, with ...
0
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2answers
761 views

How to find that a molecule has zero spin?

I read that Ne has $S=0$. How can this be found, knowing the electron configuration? Electrons, protons and neutrons all have 1/2 spin. The Pauli exclusion principle implies that the even number of ...
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1answer
397 views

Can nowadays spin be described using path integrals?

In Feynmans book, "Quantum mechanics and Path Integrals" he writes in the conclusions (chapter 12-10) With regards to quantum mechanics, path integrals suffer most grievously from a serious ...