What does it mean for an electron to have a spin?

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What does it mean for an electron to have a spin?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Quick, simple answer, they literally (enough for a simple explanation) rotate during their orbits enough to be detectable under certain circumstances. This was (as far as I remember) demonstrated by shooting an electron beam into a magnetic field and observing that it split, with the split beam being explained by the spin since it causes opposite force on the electrons. Additional detail that will likely be explained better in future answers: they also have a “spin” to differentiate two electrons of otherwise identical energy levels so we can have two electrons of an atom share the same energy in a shell but still be distinct in some way

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

It doesn’t mean that its actually a little ball spinning. “Particles” don’t really exist at electron scale, its weird down there so don’t think too hard

One fundamental property that “particles” can have is called “spin” which is really a quantity and direction of angular velocity. It can only take very specific values so you can’t make an electron spin faster or slower, it always has a spin of 1/2 (why? Welcome to quantum mechanics, the answer is “because!”)

Spinning charged things (electrons and protons) act like little magnets and their spins interact with magnetic fields. If you’ve got a hunk of iron then the spin direction of the electrons is pretty randomly assigned. If you keep it in a strong magnetic field you’ll cause the spins to align and when you remove the field the various electrons spinning around will all have aligned spins and you’ve created a new magnet. If you heat it up high enough they start to scramble again and your magnet stops being a magnet

It has a bunch of far more technical implications like the Pauli Exclusion Principle but magnetism is about the only one you’ll ever care about