• Question: What is your explanation for the reason why all electrons are exactly the same, there is an argument that there is only one electron that moves back and forward within time, what are your veiws.

    Asked by jabbathepizzahut to Ben, Ezzy, Mario, Sam on 21 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Sam Vinko

      Sam Vinko answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      That view was proposed by Feynman or Wheeler, and while the two were phenomenal physicists, I don’t give much credence to that idea. It was put forward 70 years ago and I think its fair to say we know more now then we did then.

      Personally, I don’t think its particularly weird that all the electrons are the same (although to be fair, if the weren’t, I’d probably say the same about them being different). The idea that there are only so many different particles making up the universe is quite a nice and elegant one.

      Why thats the case? I don’t know… You’ve just posted what is perhaps the deepest question in this game so far.

    • Photo: Ben Smart

      Ben Smart answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      From our current understanding, all electrons are made up of electron quantum-fields (wavefunctions and probability densities, if you’ve come across those terms). Sum those fields together and you have an overall electron field. Each field will span all of space an time (the 4 dimensions that we’re aware of), so you could think of all electrons as being part of one big electron field that permeates all space and time. This doesn’t mean that there is one single electron that is going back and forth in time though.

      As for why all electrons are the same, well if you think of them as all being part of the same one big electron field then they are the same automatically. You could say that they are all parts of the same thing (the electron field).

      Why the universe works in this way though… that’s one of the great mysteries that we’re trying to work out 🙂