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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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 ...
34
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
10
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1answer
839 views

How does one experimentally determine chirality, helicity, spin and angular momentum?

If I've got an instance of a fundamental particle, how can I separate out the measurements of these three concepts? (I think) I understand the theory behind them, and why the particles in the ...
52
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9answers
4k views

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 ...
23
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4answers
5k 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 ...
10
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5answers
804 views

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 ...
55
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1answer
5k 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 ...
17
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4answers
1k views

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 ...
11
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3answers
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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] + ...
3
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1answer
444 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 ...
8
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4answers
548 views

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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1answer
497 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 ...
12
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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 ...
8
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3answers
516 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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3answers
1k 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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1answer
930 views

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 ...
7
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2answers
480 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 ...
6
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1answer
838 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 ...
8
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1answer
224 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 ...
9
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2answers
453 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 ...
4
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2answers
633 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
251 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 ...
7
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2answers
843 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
460 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 ...
12
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1answer
745 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 ...
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2answers
384 views

what does it mean for a particle with no size to have angular momenta?

I recently was reading about higgs boson and particle spin recently and I stubble upon an question that contains an answer to what a spin is. It explains that electrons etc. have no size yet they ...
17
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1answer
415 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 ...
6
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1answer
170 views

Can closed loops evade the spin-statistic theorem in 3 dimensions?

The famous spin-statistics result asserts that there are only bosons and fermions, and that they have integer and integer-and-a-half spin respectively. In two-dimensional condensed matter systems, ...
6
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3answers
361 views

What is the massless limit of massive electromagnetism?

Consider electromagnetism, an abelian gauge theory, with a massive photon. Is the massless limit equal to electromagnetism? What does it happen at the quantum level with the extra degree of freedom? ...
2
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4answers
474 views

Can the Klein-Gordon Equation represent Particles with non-zero spin?

Every Solution of the Dirac Equation is also a solution of the Klein-Gordon equation. So the K-G equation does not necessarily represent particles with non-zero spin. Would it be incorrect to ...
8
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2answers
464 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 ...
8
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2answers
2k 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 ...
8
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4answers
2k views

What does spin 0 mean exactly?

I heard two definitions: (1) Spin 0 means that the particle has spherical symmetry, without any preferred axis. (2) The spin value tells after which angle of rotation the wave function returns to ...
5
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2answers
440 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)?
4
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2answers
416 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 ...
3
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1answer
180 views

Symmetric transverse traceless tensors of rank $s$ and $(s,0,0,..,0)$ representations of $SO(n)$

Can someone help see this connection as to why a spin $s$ (an Integer) particle is to be thought of as a symmetric transverse traceless tensor of rank $s$ and that they lie in the $(s,0,0,..,0)$ ...
6
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1answer
248 views

Spin of 125 GeV Higgs boson

Can someone please explain to me why (according to decay of Higgs boson into 2 photons) Higgs boson cannot have spin $S=1$?
3
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0answers
142 views

Chirality, helicity and their relationship for the massless case

Chirality can be interpreted as a property of Lorentz group - Lorentz transformation of field through representation $(s, 0)$ or representation $(0, s)$. For the massless particles one says, that ...
1
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3answers
758 views

Energy Spectrum of pair of spin-1/2 particles with general Hamiltonian

I found this problem, and so far I am stumped. I was wondering if anyone wanted to solve it with me, or help me calculate eigenvectors, or just give insight on my questions. Consider a system of ...
7
votes
2answers
247 views

Is there record of a bosonic Stern-Gerlach measurement?

I cannot seem to find any peer-reviewed (or other) reference to an integer-spin Stern-Gerlach experiment. It shouldn't be too hard to do: just find you friendly neighbourhood Deuterium ion and shoot ...
7
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5answers
6k views

Why are some galaxies flat?

What is the explanation for the flatness of some galaxies? (If it's due to their rotation then why they are rotating, why some other galaxies are not flat etc., I would like to hear a nice and ...
5
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2answers
348 views

Do other particles besides scalars admit tachyonic solutions?

Do other particles besides scalars admit tachyonic solutions? For example fermions or gauge-boson tachyons? The picture in my head is that a tachyonic scalar simply rolls off some unstable potential ...
4
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1answer
204 views

Is the symmetry group of two spin 1/2 particles $SU(2) \times SU(2)$ or $SU(4)$?

This is a simple question. Please forgive me, as I am a lowly experimentalist. Suppose we have two free spin 1/2 particles, i.e. a 4-fold degenerate system. What is the set of symmetry operations ...
3
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1answer
123 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 ...
3
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2answers
334 views

Why can't I just think the spin as rotating?

I'm going mad about the problem. I really don't understand why do electron have 1/2 spin number, why they are not actually spinning. I can accept that the electrons have their own magnetic field, ...
3
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1answer
196 views

Lorentz spinors of $SO(n,1)$ and conformal spinors of $SO(n,2)$

It would be great if someone can give me a reference (short enough!) which explains the (spinor) representation theory of the groups $SO(n,1)$ and $SO(n,2)$. I have searched through a few standard ...
2
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0answers
286 views

The connection between classical and quantum spins

I have two questions, which are connected with each other. The first question. In a classical relativistic (SRT) case for one particle can be defined (in a reason of "antisymmetric" nature of ...
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2answers
226 views

Doubts concerning Wigner's classification

Wigner classified particles in function of the eigenvalues of $P_\mu P^\mu$ and $W_\mu W^\mu$. Then, it can be proved that for massless particles spin values can be only $\pm s_{max}$. But for a ...
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1answer
438 views

Spin of an electron [closed]

I have a conceptual difficulty in understanding the electron spin. On the one hand, it is an experimental, observable feature of electrons. The problem is in understanding to what it belongs - to a ...
8
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0answers
453 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 ...