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CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Re-Imagining the Discovery of the Positive Electron by Mark D Rosen [refresh]
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Author Mark D Rosen wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 15:23 GMT
Essay Abstract

Since the discovery of the positive electron in 1932, physics has ignored the more plausible possibility that charge is not a fixed property of subatomic particles. Instead of looking for the conditions under which this property might be altered, it has become dogma that the same particle with different charge states are distinct entities solely based on the negative energy solutions of the Dirac equation (formulated in 1928)1 with its truly bizarre negative sea of electrons construct (with “holes”) in 19302. KISS and Occam’s razor seem to have taken a back seat to the continued bias of that era (due mostly to the perceived stature of the physicists involved). It is about time to consider the alternate more logical interpretation. As will be discussed, allowing the electron’s charge state to change is not only a viable approach to understanding many recently discovered physics phenomena (high Tc superconductivity, fractional quantum hall effect (FQHE --fractional charge entities), anomalous coulomb drag3, etc.) but a potential solution to our energy, economic, and political problems as well.

Author Bio

Mark David A. Rosen began working on the nature of the electron in high school – it has been a lifelong passion. He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard University where he remained for another 3 years as a Research Fellow in both the Physics Department and Center for Earth and Planetary Physics. He left academic life to work on the energy crisis in industry because he felt basic physics research had no relevance to solving real world problems in the near term. It took going back to teaching introductory physics to prove him wrong.

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Anton Lorenz Vrba wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 22:50 GMT
Hi Mark,

A really thought provoking idea to flip the charge of an electron and gain some of the energy from the electron-positron annihilation.

The follow up question to your essay is: Are the phenomena of charge, electric potential and electric current correctly defined? This question I discuss in my essay.


Anton @ (  ../topic/1458  )

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Mark David A. Rosen replied on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 00:27 GMT

Thanks for your comments.

I will definitely take a look at your essay.

Best regards,


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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 20:05 GMT

Interesting essay. This reminds me of neutrino oscillations, which were only recently discovered. By the way, I heartily agree with you on the absurdity of the Dirac sea. Recently QFT has been treating this more and more as an embarrassment (Weinberg explicitly deprecates it in his books), so hopefully it will exit stage permanently in the coming years. Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Mark David A. Rosen replied on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 00:35 GMT

While I believe in keeping an open mind about ideas, there are times in physics where common sense has been suspended. You are right about Weinberg. Supposedly, in 1972, he asked Dirac about how this negative sea would work for non-fermions (bosons). Dirac did not have an answer. (

Thanks for your comments,


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Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 04:00 GMT
Hi Mark,

Your idea sounds interesting, but as conservation of charge is perhaps considered one of the deepest and most hallowed principles in physics, you face an uphill battle.

I think if an experiment can be performed to directly test your idea, and your idea gives the correct prediction whereas the orthodox view fails to do so, then it is a lot more likely that people will take it...

view entire post

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Mark David A. Rosen replied on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 15:12 GMT

Thank you for your comments -- it does help me in understanding and addressing the concerns and viewpoints of my peers. The idea of this essay contest is exactly "criticizing something that most physicist would not even think to question" (i.e., "Questioning the Foundations- -- Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions are Wrong?").

You are absolutely right -- this process would violate charge conservation as we know it -- so what? Progress in physics has depended, in many cases, on finding the violations of cherished principles. Dirac originally thought that the "hole" in his bizarre negative energy sea was a proton -- the only known positive particle at the time. Initially there was reluctance in main stream physics to accept Anderson's discovery of a positively charged electron. The biases of the time are always barriers to new ideas. Robert Laughlin in his book "A Different Universe" expressed this as

"The key breakthroughs in science have always been made by people of integrity who went their own way, defied authority and paid a stiff price for doing so." (p. 185)

I have already proposed a possible simple experimental verification in the paper. If this process is taking place in the phenomena discussed (FQHE, High Tc Superconductivity, anomalous coulomb drag effect), then the electron-positron annihilation gamma ray signature should be seen.

Understanding the profound practical implications of an idea is extremely important. It should add to the impetus to consider and investigate this further. A potential viable source of positrons would be an incredible "game changer."

By the way, some of your comments seem just as relevant to string theorists.

Thanks again for your feedback,


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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 13:47 GMT
Dear Mark,

you suppose the possibility of transformation of electron to positron. In substantial model of electron the difference between electron and positron is in their origin processes of formation. The electron is born usually as a result of beta-decay of neutron. But for positron it is necessary to take a core of nucleon which is positively charged. It is possibly only in high energy nuclear or particle reactions. About the model of electron you can see in § 14 of the book: Fedosin S.G. The physical theories and infinite nesting of matter. Perm: S.G. Fedosin, 2009-2012, 858 p. ISBN 978-5-9901951-1-0. By the way the problem of electron spin is explained in the book.

Sergey Fedosin Essay

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James Putnam wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 01:01 GMT
Dear Mark D Rosen,

No comments yet. Just want to jump at the opportunity to say that your essay is exciting to read. Thank you for submitting it.


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James Putnam replied on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 15:39 GMT
Dear Mark D Rosen,

Do you have ideas about how or why electron's would change their charge? It seems that, in your descriptions, you take it as a spontaneous effect that occurs without a cost of energy. I appreciate original thinking. I like it when it comes from experimental physicsts. I would have liked to read more, even speculative ideas, about the physics involved. Is there change in mass involved as a result of switching charge either experimentally or theoretically? Your sections on possible social benefits took up space that I think would have been better spent on sharing more of the physics. It appeared that there perhaps may be no more to say yet. You did give an experimental idea to be followed up on. It is the empirical evidence that interests me before theoretical considerations.


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Mark David A. Rosen replied on Sep. 24, 2012 @ 05:39 GMT

Thank you for your interest and comments. I never either implied or stated that charge changes spontaneously. I did indicate what I propose the conditions might be. This can be looked at as analogous in some ways to flipping the spin of an electron (a well-established phenomenon with no change to the mass of the electron). We also know that the mass of the electron and positron are identical – so experimentally no mass change would be expected. You are asking some very good questions about a fundamentally new idea for which, at present, there are no answers. We have always assumed charge is an intrinsic property of a particle that is fixed (we really do not understand charge at a more fundamental level). Unfortunately, because the paper was limited to 9 pages, I had to decide what could be included. It is so rare that a fundamental physics idea, if true, would have such tremendous immediate real world implications -- even I was somewhat surprised. The energy, economic and political impact are probably more important motivating factors for determining if this has any validity than its potential impact on physics.

I am working on two physics related papers (listed below) that I did not include in the reference list since I have a strong belief that references should be available to readers.

M. D. A. Rosen, A new Perspective on the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect (in preparation)

M. D. A. Rosen, New Physics to Help Solve High Tc Superconductivity (in preparation)

Thanks again for your interest,


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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 09:05 GMT
Dear Mark Rosen,

If ‘charge’ is not a fixed property of subatomic particles, detection of Positron is indicative of the chirality of two eigen-rotational strings and a relatively variable eigen-rotational remaining string in a cluster-matter holon, described with Coherently-cyclic cluster-matter paradigm of universe.

With best wishes,


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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 2, 2012 @ 07:19 GMT
After studying about 250 essays in this contest, I realize now, how can I assess the level of each submitted work. Accordingly, I rated some essays, including yours.

Cood luck.

Sergey Fedosin

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 04:14 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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Mark David A. Rosen wrote on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 15:08 GMT
New Compelling Evidence for the Formation of Positive Electrons

In the September 2012 issue of Nature Physics, an article by Venkatachalam et al (Local thermometry of neutral modes on the quantum Hall edge, pp. 676-681) describes a situation for a quantum Hall edge where the heat injected is not only carried downstream by the negative electrons but under certain conditions upstream as well. The simplest explanation for this is the presence of positive electrons which would obviously move upstream and carry the heat just as their negative counterparts. This may be the first direct experimental evidence that negative electrons can be transformed into positive electrons.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 22:49 GMT
Hello Mr Rosen,

Nice to know you. I found this essay very interesting. I didn't know this electron-positron annihilation gamma ray. It is very relevant considering the bosonic energy liberated during this collision if I can say. I beleive humbly that my theory of spherization more my equations can help. The volumes of entangled spheres are essential it seems to me. The taxonomy of our forces can be made with determinsim. The protons, the neutrons, the electrons, the positrons.....all these spheres can be classed and better understood. I beleive strongly that we cannot see the truths if the number of uniqueness is not inserted.

If these productions of positrons with isotops for example and if they are in collision with electrons so we have 2 gamma rays/collision. It is relevant considering the total energy liberated.

The energy matter conservation is essential for the stability of gravitation in time and space evolution. The wavelenghts can be correlated with the rotations spinal and orbital more the volumes.My equation mcosV=constant becomes relevant. If the number of uniqueness is finite like a finite group.So we can better understanding the energy matter conservation.

Best Regards

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