# Comment on: Can you split an electron?

There are many possible ways that an electron can evolve into other particles, depending on the energy. As an electron interacts with the vacuum, at some point the “electron” ceases to be a localized and simple thing. The waves induced in the vacuum can take many forms. The most useful representation (my own preference) is soliton solutions of the nonlinear Schrodinger equation, but the more we probe the stable vacuum states, the more complex and wonderful the examples.

You might be interested in electron pairs, and electron-positron pair. The electron and positron can bind with only Coulomb attraction balancing rotational forces. But at very close distances the magnetic dipole force will dominate. Because there are several possible stable states for magnetic dipoles – parallel, co-linear, dynamic during short collisions – the outcomes and properties vary. Because a magnetic dipole force can stabilize the pair and not allow them to annihilate, varying amounts of energy can be stored in the bonds. So the states will be quantized, but nonlinear. Not simple integer steps. A good model is the kinds of higher order modes for cantilever (or string) vibrational states with nonlinear material properties and hysteresis.

The same bound states will occur for proton-antiproton, neutrino-antineutrino, quark-antiquark or any other particles with non-zero magnetic moments. Since moments can be induced in many situations, I (personally) just assume there will be a magnetic component in every interaction, and just calculate its values and states. Since the magnetic energy density is pretty well defined and a useful representation, I also use that to convert to other units, as a first approximation.

The “stuff” that electrons and their fields are made of has many names. I have to use them all for the Internet Foundation, as I try to fit all the Internet information into standard units and representations. But “physical vacuum” or “quark gluon plasma” I find to be the most useful and commonplace. And that is just a very human habit of people looking to fluids and gases and flows and properties of things around to represent things we cannot directly see.

Personally, I represent the electron as a field of much smaller, magnetic dipole active, uncharged particles. To be specific, about 7 million for each electron. That is because I needed a model for the gravitational field at the earths surface for routine calculations and estimates. So it is the mass of a particle, in equilibrium with an ideal gas at standard temperature and pressure, where the speed of the particles is the speed of light. That works out to about one 7 millionth the mass of the electron.

Then, you are not just working with lumps or large swirls of space that you can “half an electron” or “1/3 an electron”, but any combination. It is out detectors and generators and sensor that set the expected values of things. Not what reality can provide or do.

So the “vacuum” I work with has physical properties – density, velocity, vorticity, pressure, temperature, compressibility, viscosity, all kinds of diffusion properties, stable states, compressional waves, transverse waves, chaotic flows, vortices, folding, bifurcations, dendritic flows — a very long list. Why? Because I read and scan hundreds of thousands of papers and these human models of what is going on with things like fields, flows, waves, properties, behaviors, spectra, sizes, textures — are what people say when they try to describe what they are thinking about and seeing.

So how does it get sorted out? Well, actually it seldom does. The engineers and product designers and applications groups just keep making new things – and the modelers and theorists play catch-up. At least most of the time. But that is changing slowly (I have to look at the whole world, there are a few groups who make steady progress in methods and approach. They go sort of in one direction for a while, then key people lose interest, die, retire, or brash new ones come and say what they want to do. It is interesting, chaotic, and very human and organic. Just not very efficient or fast.)

The best model I have for the vacuum – where a simple stationary or unaccelerated electron is just one toy model – is a cold compressible, nearly inviscid, liquid that supports transverse and longitudinal waves. Its compressibility is measured by the Lortentz equations since they are identically the same in form as the compressible flow equations when trying to exceed the speed of sound in air. The vacuum can cavitate and boil. You can heat it enough to form bubbles and boules. It can have vortices. More practically, it can have a spectrum of vorticity. The quark gluon plumes and hadronization and particle formation are just like jets of gas phase material in a colder fluid. And, when the pressure is intense, inside a quark star core, it will crystalize and release enough energy for a big bang, depending on the amount and distribution of quark gluon material and its state.

Part of why I (personally, I don’t tell others what to think or do) use this model for organizing my model of the world around me, is because GW170817 showed that the speed of light and the speed of gravity are identical. Not close, but identical. What that told me, after spending more than 50 years studying electrodynamics and the gravitational potential, is that gravity and electromagnetism share that same underlying potential. And that potential (in Joules/kg) can best be represented (for practical things) as a compressible fluid material that can also freeze, boil, cavitate, and other things.

You don’t really say what you are doing, or why you ask. The world (at least the Internet that I study every day) is filled with people looking at tiny facets of things. It doesn’t matter if the “electron” is blue or pink or black or white or smart or dumb. What do you want to do, if you figure it out? Me, for the survival of the human species, because that is what I determined the purpose of the Internet is for, I am trying to encourage the groups working on warp drives, faster than light vehicles and communications, atomic fuels, 100 times smaller fuel tanks for rockets based on atomic fuels that are safe and practical. Better memory storage, analog computational algorithms that can usefully bolt into digital networks and provide fast estimates of initial states that will converge quickly in traditional digital algorithms (the analog makes a fast good guess, then it gets verified, it bolts into the existing systems so there is not a lot of re-engineering required).

The laser vacuum experiments are going to probe the properties of the vacuum with photons and lasers. You can do the same with electrons, muons, neutrinos, protons, and the whole range of particles, fields, clusters and molecules. I saw a nice detector yesterday using molecular states rather than simple atomic transitions for better inertial measurements. Lower power, more precise, faster, and lower cost. I see that sort of thing every day. And it is accelerating. But much chaos, massive waste (the Internet is only operating at at about 0.5% efficiency and things are taking years for things that should only take a day).

Not sure if you wanted this kind of reply. You have to know what you want to do, and why it is important to get really good answers. Collecting trivia and memorizing facts fills a lifetime, but it not very productive. Use your electron for something worthwhile.

Richard K Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation