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18

The up quark has a charge of $+2/3$, the down has a charge of $-1/3$. If you have a bound state of charged particles, the total charge is just the charge of the elementary constituents. The neutron consists of one up quark and two down quarks, so the total charge $Q$ is: $$Q = 2/3 + 2 \times (-1/3) = 0$$


16

Because it was defined by measurements (the force between to wire segments) that could be easily made in the laboratory at the time. The phrase is "operational definition", and it is the cause of many (most? all?) of the seemingly weird decision about fundamental units. It is why we define the second and the speed of light but derive the meter these days.


15

It's not a mistake, and conventional current is not wrong or backwards. The labeling of one polarity of charge as "positive" and the other as "negative" is totally arbitrary. It could be done either way and everything would still work out the same. Franklin didn't choose wrong; he just chose. Labeling protons as negative and electrons as positive wouldn't ...


14

Charge is a fundamental conserved property of particles. It is, if you like, a measure of how much a particle interacts with electromagnetic fields. A particle with charge can produce and be affected by electromagnetic fields. This is what we mean when we say a particle has charge. Its a simple quantised way to measure the coupling strength of particles with ...


12

Massless charged particles can't exist in Nature because they would be easily produced by the colliders, and they haven't been. Such a production would simply arise from the Feynman diagram with an intermediate photon that "splits" into the new charged massless particle and its antiparticle. The cross section of this process would be calculable, and not ...


12

There's no problem in writing down a theory that contains massless charged particles. Simple $\mathcal{L} = \partial_{\mu} \phi \partial^{\mu} \phi^*$ for a complex field $\phi$ will do the job. You might run into problems with renormalization but I don't want to get into that here (mostly because there are better people here who can fill in the details if ...


12

Let me add two references to points already mentioned in this discussion: Today, there is no reason known why the electric charge has to be quantized. It is true that the quantization follows from the existence of magnetic monopoles and the consistency of the quantized electromagnetic field, which was shown first by Dirac, you'll find a very nice exposition ...


12

The maximum charge a capacitor stores depends on the voltage $V_0$ you've used to charge it according to the formula: $$ Q_0=CV_0 $$ However, a real capacitor will only work for voltages up to the breakdown voltage of the dielectric medium in the capacitor. So in reality, for every capacitor there is a maximum possible charge $Q_{max}$ given by: $$ ...


10

It seems you are contrasting the speed of propagation of current with the speed of the individual charge carriers. These two things are clearly separate. There are many examples. Consider sound. A fire cracker goes off at the other end of a football field from you. You hear the sound a few 100 ms later. The air molecules that were by the firecracker ...


9

Charge comes from discrete symmetries and is countable and additive. Mass comes from continuous 4d space, is exchangeable with energy and, in quantum mechanical dimensions not linearly additive, thus not countable. Suppose you have an elementary quantum of mass, $m_q$. In the world we know two such quanta would not end up as $2m_q$. One would add the ...


9

At the particle level the verb "charge" has no definition. Charge cannot be added to a particle. A particle has charge ( noun); it is a quantum number that characterizes the particle, and its charge may be 0, +/-1/3, +/-2/3, +/-1 (and some resonances +/-2). A photon has charge 0, spin 1 and mass 0. That is why it is called a photon and not an ...


9

James Clerk Maxwell thought about this one and showed the following. Suppose we have two concentric conducting spheres and we charge one up to a potential $\Phi$ relative to some grounding plane. Then the voltage of the inner sphere relative to the same ground is: $$\Phi_{inner} = \Phi \,q\, ...


9

I believe that the "roughly" term is applied because of the associated experimental error when measuring its charge. The same cannot be said to the electron because "we" decided to make the electron the reference charge. So, the reference charge is definitely -1. However the muon charge must be measured. According to this paper, Muon Mass and Charge ...


9

If you put your rod in a ultra high vacuum it will stay charged almost forever, but since you probably keep it exposed to air, this is where the electron excess slowly migrates (and the same for the electron defect in the silk). Since the charge exchange requires an hit between an air molecule and a spot of the rod where an electron excess is present, and ...


8

Coulomb repulsion it is. Specifically, if a black hole has a lot of charge, then particles with a high charge-to-mass ratio will be repelled. Anything that falls in will contribute "more mass than charge," heuristically, keeping the charge-to-mass ratio of the black hole from getting too big.


8

Dear asmailer, the reason is simple and completely understood: the electric charge is the generator of a $U(1)$ symmetry which is compact and may be parameterized by an angle, $\phi$. So wave functions may only depend on the angle $\phi$ in a periodic way, $\exp(iQ\phi)$ where $Q$ is integer (or an integer multiple of $e/3$, if I look at the elementary ...


8

Actually, mass and charge are only superficially similar. Yes, they both appear in inverse square force laws, namely Newton's law of gravitation and Coulomb's law of electrostatic force, but both of those are approximations. Coulomb's law ignores quantum effects, which is a very slight approximation, but Newton's law ignores all of relativity, which makes a ...


8

In fact, an electric charge at rest on the Earth's surface is accelerated and this actually poses a challenge to the idea that uniformly accelerated charge radiates. I believe this is still an open question. For example: One of the most familiar propositions of elementary classical electrodynamics is that "an accelerating charge radiates". In fact, ...


7

There is a limit on how much charge a black hole may have: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremal_black_hole In general, rotating, charged black holes is described by a Kerr-Newman metric. Intuitively, eventually the Coulumb repulsion is enough that a charged particle which does not contribute more mass than charge will be repelled.


7

In quantum field theory and its extensions including string theory, the electric charge is a generator of a $U(1)$ symmetry which should be promoted to a local symmetry i.e. gauge symmetry. In string theory, the $U(1)$ symmetry and the gauge field often appear as parts of the low-energy effective action. This could be enough to answer the question: we ...


7

To address John Rennie's comment in the comment section regarding the existence of a systematic, human-guess-independent algorithm for determining the LCM of a data series in the presence of significant experimental error and without the aid of single-electron-charged droplets to make a human-sensible guess: a = 12.5654; L = 400; list = Table[a ...


7

When it comes to fundamental charges, the (left-handed) up-type quarks actually have either the same values of the charge as the down-type quarks, or exactly the opposite ones. It just happens that the electric charge isn't a fundamental charge in this sense. Let me be more specific. All the quarks carry a color – red, green, or blue – the charge of the ...


6

Remember that voltage is always expressed as a "potential difference." You can't measure the absolute value of voltage because everything is invariant when you add a constant voltage everywhere. That expresses a symmetry just like time translation invariance. When you bring in the magnetic field this invariance or symmetry can be generalised to a bigger ...


6

On the level of QED and above, the equality of the charges has no theoretical explanation. But it is extremely well established experimentally, as even small deviations would add up to huge amounts of electricity in bulk matter. On the level of the standard model, the value of the charges of the up and down quark comes from simple arithmetic from those of ...


6

Electric charge is just a measure of the strength of a particle's interaction with the electromagnetic field (i.e., photons). Particles don't obtain a charge from the the field. Saying that a particle has a given charge is the same as saying it interacts with the electromagnetic field with a certain strength. Just a shorthand way of saying it. The overall ...


6

Four possibilities come to mind, in decreasing order of feasibility: Is barefoot an option? I'm willing to bet it will significantly mitigate the buildup of charge. The two of you only experience a shock on contact because you are at different electric potentials. If you can't keep him at your potential, why not try to join his? Before helping him down, ...


6

Your intuition for the first one is correct; the extra charges are held to the surface by the electrostatic force, which is many orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational force. The second one (and part of the first one): You're confusing free electrons with "extra" electrons. In a conductor, the highest energy electrons are not bound to any ...



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