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Q & A: Electrons spining forever

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
If electrons spin forever, and have a magnetic field forever, doesn’t that mean that they violate the laws of science? The energy they exert (magnetism and electrical charge) is constant and eternal. That means that new energy is eternally being created from nothing. Is this a miracle, sign, or wonder?
- dennis (age 46)
richlands, nc
A:
I guess the law of physics that you're thinking about is the conservation of energy. It says that the total amount of energy doesn't change. An electron which 'spins' forever keeps the same magnetic field forever, and keeps the same energy forever. I also keeps the same angular momentum, another conserved quantity.

I think you may have the impression that the electron is somehow sending out waves of energy, without losing any. That would violate conservation of energy, but it's not what happens.

I suppose that nonetheless you could say that the electron behavior, or even any of the conservation laws themselves, could be taken as 'a miracle, sign, or wonder'. So could any aspect of nature. It's a matter of taste.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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