Electron is perfectly spherical
Real particle physics refutes big bang dogma
Some very fine experiments have measured the roundness of the electron with exquisite sensitivity.1 For comparison, “if an electron were the size of Earth, they could detect a bump on the North Pole the height of a single sugar molecule.”2
Big bang vs particle physics
The big bang is the leading naturalistic cosmogony (Greek: ‘birth of the universe’). It basically states that energy appeared from nothing and turned into matter, as per Einstein’s most famous formula, E = mc2.
However, The Standard Model of particle physics, among the best-attested theories in all science, throws up severe problems. In particular, any conversion of energy into matter must produce an equal amount of antimatter. Antimatter comprises antiparticles of the same mass but opposite charge (if the particle is charged) and magnetic moment as the corresponding matter particle. When an antiparticle meets its corresponding particle, both are quickly annihilated with a huge release of energy, again as per E = mc2. That is, antielectron (positron) with electron, antiproton with proton, antineutron with neutron, etc.
The problem for the big bang is that the universe comprises overwhelmingly matter, with hardly any antimatter except for fleeting moments. As the article says:
For one thing, our mere existence is proof that the Standard Model is incomplete since, according to the theory, the Big Bang should have produced equal parts matter and antimatter that would have annihilated each other.2
But notice the logical fallacy known as begging the question (Latin: petition principii)! That is, any argument where the conclusion to be proved is presupposed (‘begged’) in one of the premises.3 In particular, although real operational science overwhelmingly supports the Standard Model, there must be something wrong with it because it means that the Big Bang would not work. How do we know that the big bang is true? Because we are here, and we got here from the big bang. This question-begging arises from previous question-begging: that we arose by naturalistic means—no Creator necessary.
Because of this question-begging a priori commitment to naturalism (only ‘nature’ exists), evolutionary cosmologists have been trying to find loopholes in the Standard Model. In particular, any asymmetry that could explain why much more matter than antimatter was produced in the big bang.
Previous attempts to refute the Standard Model
In a previous article, I wrote about attempts to show that an antiproton was even slightly different from a proton. However, the experiments showed that they had an equal but opposite magnetic moment, to within 1.5 parts per billion. The difference, if any, is far too small to explain the observed preponderance of matter. The lead researcher also exhibited question-begging when he admitted (as cited in the article):
All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist.
Here again, the big bang as the universe’s origin is assumed to be true in advance, regardless of whether the evidence supports it.
In another previous article, I discussed experiments where high-energy electrons with alternating ‘spins’ were shot at electrons. The experiment was trying to find an asymmetry in the ‘weak’ force responsible for fusion and beta decay. But the difference was only 226.5 parts per billion, agreeing with the Standard Model again. One researcher cited in the article admitted:
We were just hoping this was one path to finding a crack in the Standard Model. … I was disappointed. I was hoping for some deviation, some signal. But other people were relieved that we weren’t far away from what the Standard Model predicted.
The question-begging is still there, but the experimentalists are objective enough to recognize that their results were problematic for their favourite theory. But experimentalists not wedded to a particular naturalistic hypothesis were happy that a good operational science model was still intact.
Baryons and leptons
In the Standard Model, electrons and protons are very different. Protons are almost 2,000 times more massive than electrons, so they are classified as baryons (Greek: βαρύς/barýs = heavy). Baryons comprise three quarks, while antibaryons comprise three antiquarks. E.g., a proton is made of two up quarks (charge +⅔) and one down quark (−⅓); and its corresponding antiparticle, the antiproton, is made of two up antiquarks (−⅔) and one down antiquark (+⅓). A neutron comprises two down quarks and one up quark; the antineutron comprises two down antiquarks (+⅓) and one up antiquark (−⅔). The charged components of the neutron and antineutron cause them to have equal but opposite magnetic moments. The quarks enable baryons to be affected by the strong nuclear force.
Electrons are classified as leptons (Greek: λεπτόν/leptón = small, thin). During the classical Greek and Roman empires, a lepton was also the name of a tiny coin. Mark 12:42 records a poor widow dropping two lepta (Greek plural of lepton; KJV: ‘mites’) into the collection box. Now the word is a class of subatomic particles.4
Unlike baryons, leptons are simple—not composed of any simpler particles. So it was understandable that big bang theorists were trying to find asymmetries in baryons.
Trying to find electron asymmetry
The electron seems to be perfectly spherical. But under quantum mechanics, “virtual particles” pop into existence for the tiniest fraction of a second, then pop out. This is due to the uncertainty principle. Big bang theorists hope for virtual particles beyond the standard model, which would provide a loophole for the preponderance of ordinary matter.
However, such particles would lower the perfect spherical symmetry of the electron. That is, one tip of the electron would have a more positive charge and the other a more negative charge. The positive and negative charges or ‘poles’ would give the electron an electric dipole moment (EDM). The Standard Model predicts practically zero EDM, nearly a million times smaller than what current techniques can probe.”2
How could we tell? An electric field would exert a torque on an electric dipole, making it rotate. But without an EDM, an electron has no ‘handles’ on which an electric field could ‘grab’ and twist. (In contrast, electrons are well known to have a magnetic dipole moment (MDM), and magnetic fields interact readily with the MDM).
Another problem is that the electron is so tiny. So researchers hope to amplify any EDM by anchoring it to a heavy molecule. But one advantage of tininess is that there are lots of them. One team probed 10s of millions per second but held each for only a few milliseconds. Another team worked with only a few molecules at a time but trapped them for up to three seconds. The two methods can cross-check each other.
Results: no EDM detected
Even with the incredible sensitivity of the latest experiments, the “result is consistent with zero and improves on the previous best upper bound by a factor ∼2.4.”1 This is great support for the Standard Model but a serious problem for the big bang. As stated at the beginning of the article, the experiments have not found any deviation from a perfectly spherical electron, despite unparalleled experimental precision.
Also, trying to find tinier and tinier deviations from a sphere is equivalent to looking for particles at higher and higher energy scales. In turn, this is equivalent to looking for more and more massive particles beyond the Standard Model. This experiment is so sensitive that it’s equivalent to energies above 1013 eV (electron volts). This is over ten times the energy the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can currently generate.
Conclusion: great operational science versus bad historical science
There is no question that this is excellent science: both great ingenuity and careful checking and cross-checking of data. The results back up an extremely well-supported and useful theory of particle physics. However, those committed to the big bang, regardless of real particle physics, continue to be disappointed. The best solution is: stick to real science and abandon the naturalistic faith that demands the big bang.
References and notes
- Rousy, T.S., A new bound on the electron’s electric dipole moment, arxiv.org, 22 Dec 2022. Return to text.
- Savitsky, Z., The electron is so round that it’s ruling out potential new particles: If the electron’s charge wasn’t perfectly round, it could reveal the existence of hidden particles. A new measurement approaches perfection, quantamagazine.org, 10 Apr 2023. Return to text.
- Begging the question is classed as an informal logical fallacy, because it doesn’t break any laws of formal logic. After all, “P is true, therefore P is true” is logically valid. But it hardly proves P to be true to those not inclined to accept P in the first place. But see also Using the Bible to prove the Bible? Are biblical creationists guilty of circular reasoning? (Note, it is often considered wrong to use “beg the question” when “prompt a question”, or “raise a question” is meant. If you mean either of the latter, it’s better just to say so.) Return to text.
- The English word lepton is usually stressed on the first syllable, but the original Greek word λεπτόν was stressed on the last syllable. Return to text.