Electrons and Gravity?

A forum set up for physics questions from students in the courses PHYS1121, 1131, 1221 and 1331 at the University of New South Wales. It is intended for questions that cannot readily be answered in class,
either because they fall outside the main syllabus and therefore would be distraction (however interesting) or for other reasons.

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Boris Lagutin

Electrons and Gravity?

Post by Boris Lagutin »

Hello,

Could somebody prompt any experiments which have been ever made regarding electrons falling down in Earth's gravitational field? I am interested in how electrons interact with the gravity. Links to information about such experiments would be great.

Thanks a lot.
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joe
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Location: Sydney

Re: Electrons and Gravity?

Post by joe »

A direct measurement would be a very difficult experiment, because the gravitational effect is so small and any stray electric or magnetic effects so large.

However, lots of indirect experiments have been made to look at possible different gravitational effects on n, p and e. Suppose that you measure g using two pendulums. In one, the mass is made of plastic, in the other it is made of metal. The fraction of mass due to electrons is very different (much higher in the plastic). One could also compare different isotopes or different metals to determine the possible differences between n and p, as well as e.
Boris Lagutin

Re: Electrons and Gravity?

Post by Boris Lagutin »

Hello,

As far as I know, there are not any photos of electrons. In other words, nobody has ever seen electrons. Moreover, dualism of electrons' behavior (particle-wave) is paradoxical. Therefore, I assume that there are not electrons as particles. But then, many questions emerge...

Thank you.
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joe
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:57 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Electrons and Gravity?

Post by joe »

If your definition of a particle is something that can be seen with the eye or photographed with an ordinary camera, then yes, an electron is not such a thing.

In physics, particles have well defined position, moment and trajectory. Waves have well defined wavelength and frequency. I think that all physicists would agree with a statement such as "The particle model of an electron is not always appropriate, nor is the wave model". For a beam of electrons in a cathode ray tube, most would use the particle model to calculate features of the beam.
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