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Quantum Mechanics: Need Some Help Understanding "SPIN"

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I am trying to understand how sub-atomic particles like a proton have "spin"?

I have come to understand that this term "spin" is just an analogy for scientists as the proton doesn't literally spin like a ball or a planet.  Spin apparently means that it is just the intrinsic property of the particle which makes it behave as tiny magnets even when they are at rest.


So in classical physics, if we take an electrically charged object and spin it, we get a magnetic field. But apparently a proton or electron doesn't need to physically spin to create magnetism, physicists say that this is "intrinsic" in the particle, like it's mass.  

But this raises for me several questions and I was hoping that some of our excellent scientific minds here on JWtalk could help me, please.



1)  What does it mean that the "spin" or angular momentum is "intrinsic"?

In other words, how does a particle just automatically behave as a magnet even though it is as rest?

I understand the word intrinsic, but I don't understand how a particle just naturally would have magnetism at rest


2) This statement below by this professor of physics just amazed me, I had never heard this before.

So is this professor saying and is he correct that the "spin" of a body like the Earth is made up of the total sum of every single spin of every single elementary particle that exists within the Earth?  If so that is mind blowing! 


Victor J. Stenger, professor of physics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, offers another, more technical perspective:

"Spin is the total angular momentum, or intrinsic angular momentum, of a body. The spins of elementary particles are analogous to the spins of macroscopic bodies. In fact, the spin of a planet is the sum of the spins and the orbital angular momenta of all its elementary particles. So are the spins of other composite objects such as atoms, atomic nuclei and protons (which are made of quarks).


So any help, explanations, thoughts that anyone could share on any of this would be great, thanks! :detective:

Edited by Beggar for the Spirit
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I can't explain it. I do find it interesting that spin is intrinsic to everything from a partical to a universe. I'm sure it reveals something about Jehovah, his physical laws being intrinsic to all material creation.

I am a believer, do I have to know why? :D

Edited by Old
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We can say that the "spin" is not physically producing the magnetism because the particle is too small (mass).  To produce the observed reaction in a magnetic field, the amount of magnetism produced by rapidly rotating the particle would require rotational speeds in excess of the "speed of light".  That is why the observed "spin" phenomena is labeled intrinsic.  It is part of the objects nature and not produced by actions of the object.  These observed forces "act" like spin or angular momentum but are not caused by the rotating abilities of the particle, they just are.  Most of the study of sub-atomic physics is mathematics based.  I clipped a small part out of a web report on this subject.


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40 minutes ago, Chijwas said:

From what understand it, you stay in one spot and turn clockwise or counterclockwise clockwise.


turn or cause to turn or whirl around quickly.





Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Spin, something never seen on the O'Riley show!

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The above link discusses;

"What exactly is the 'spin' of subatomic particles such as electrons and protons? Does it have any physical significance, analogous to the spin of a planet?"


To simplify, subatomic particles act as if they were spinning magnets when they encounter a magnetic field, but since they are point particles and have no size, they can't really spin. Their spin is an intrinsic or fixed property since the spin is fixed and can't slow down or speed up. If they really were little spinning balls, their spin rate could be changed and when they struck another particle, the spin would effect the bounce or direction they fly off in. The reason terms like "spin" are used is because we really don't know what we are talking about, and we use analogies as a rough approximation. It is like primitive people looking into the sky and seeing a jet flying overhead, they call it a "bird". They have no real idea what it is, what it is made of or how it works, but they can write big technical books about their theories on "birds".  Modern science is still at this stage since we don'the know so many fundamental things about the universe like dark matter or dark energy. They are call dark because we are completely in the dark about what they are.


Really had to look this one up, it has been so long since I read up on this stuff and it is pretty confusing as you are finding out, when we really don'the understand it. From what I can tell, though they run a good game, the scientists in this field are nearly as confused we are.

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