So here’s what I understand so far

A moving charge produces a magnetic field but I don’t know why(maybe something to do with special relativity but that doesn’t really explain why a single charge produces a magnetic field in an isolated area)

Secondly electrons have spin and spin alignments basically causes magnetism(but I don’t really get spin,I don’t think anyone does since spin is really like charge and energy)

So that got me thinking,a stationary electron and a moving electron both can in theory produce magnetic fields,and since the electric and magnetic force are two sides of the same coin,can we like electric charge consider magnetism to be a fundamental intrinsic property of elementary particles


2 Answers 2


can we like electric charge consider magnetism to be a fundamental intrinsic property of elementary particles

Possibly, but I suspect most of us would consider the relevant fundamental properties to be charge and angular momentum.

The electron has a magnetic dipole moment because it has both a charge and an angular momentum. If we view things this way then the magnetic dipole moment is a derived quantity given by:

$$ \mu = \gamma L $$

where $\gamma$ is the gyromagnetic ratio. A quark would have a magnetic dipole for the same reason.

Classically any charge body that is spinning will generate a magnetic field, though we should emphasise that you cannot apply the classical equations to quantum particles.


How the electron got its spin

The spectral lines of atoms are split into subtler lines under the influence of a magnetic field. UHLENBECK and GOUDSMITH in 1925 proposed to explain this by a self-rotation of the electron. Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit treated spin as a consequence of classical rotation, while PAULI shortly afterwards emphasised that spin is a non-classical and intrinsic property.

Spin got its name from the phenomena of the deflection of the electron in a magnetic field and the splitting of spectral lines in the magnetic field.

Spin vs. Magnetic dipole

Since both the splitting of the spectral lines and the Lorentz force always occur in connection with magnetic fields, the spin must always be considered as a magnetic dipole of the electron. Neither for the explanation of the Lorentz force nor for the splitting of the spectral lines a spin is needed.

Magnetic Dipole and Elementary Charge

The electron is the origin of two fields. Both fields - the magnetic and the electric - have constant field strengths:
• The elementary magnetic dipole is a constant (https://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/cuu/Value?muem).
• In an unbounded state, the electric elementary charge is a constant (https://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/cuu/Value?e).

Conclusion: Electrons are in unity both magnetic dipoles and electric elementary charges.

Is magnetism an intrinsic property of matter like electric charge).

Yes, that's right.

  • $\begingroup$ I had a follow up question,I’m still in high school so bear with my lack of knowlege $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ Is intrinsic angular momentum(quantum spin) the reason an elementary particle might gain magnetic moment and so basically quantum spin causes electrons to behave like tiny magnets and so quantum spin causes magnetic moment(giving intrinsic properties of magnetism to a particle) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ Why so complicated Elektrons are magnetic dipoles. We had introduced spin because we saw how moving electrons in a magnetic field get deflected. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ wait so whats the difference between the magnetic moment of an electron and the intrinsic spin of an electron.what i understand so far is that magnetism arises only from charges(Moving and stationary) so i thought that intrinsic spin which is different from classical spin creates properties that are similkar t0 movement generating magnetic field.i still have no idea why moving charges generate magneti fields but thats an entirely different question $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 28 at 8:07

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