I am reading a book and in a quote it says that if electrons acted as bosons, then all the electrons would occupy the lowest energy state, and there would be no chemistry.

What does the author mean exactly by this? What exactly happens if electrons (for that matters protons) acted as bosons instead of fermions?

  • $\begingroup$ arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0508207 $\endgroup$ – Count Iblis Apr 25 '15 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ Hint: The Pauli exclusion principle, which forces particles to be in different states, only applies to fermions. $\endgroup$ – Danu Apr 25 '15 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ My opinion is since PEP only affects fermions and if without PEP the electron will be attracted to the proton due to unlike charges without outer electrons for bonding hence no chemistry just my humble opinion. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Apr 25 '15 at 0:52

Chemistry as we know it would not exist if electrons were Bosons, because many of the details of the chemical "bonding" of atoms are strongly affected by the requirement that the overall wavefunction of all the electrons involved be anti-symmetric. This anti-symmetrization principle (which is the basis of the "Pauli Exclusion Principle") along with the fact that, at low temperatures (compared to $\frac{e^2}{a_0 k_B}$), the dominant wavefunction is the ground state (and low-lying excited states) is what makes our atoms behave as we typically observe them to behave.

There could still be a complex "chemistry" of Bosonic electrons, it would just not likely look anything like what we understand chemistry to be in our current physical universe.


It seems to be referring to the fact that bosons don't have to obey the Pauli exclusion principle, whereas fermions do. With fermionic electrons, only one can occupy each atomic energy state at a time, so as you add more electrons, they have to form sequential shells, which makes different atoms behave differently chemically.

If electrons were bosons, then they would all clump together on the first energy level/shell. In that case, I'm not sure how you would define when the first shell is full, which is what drives chemical reactions: atoms usually want to have full electron shells.

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    $\begingroup$ atoms don't "want" anything... $\endgroup$ – hft Apr 25 '15 at 1:19

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