View Full Version : Why do things spin?

04-29-2006, 03:32 AM
Why does everything, from subatomic particles to galaxies, spin?

04-29-2006, 04:26 AM
Why does everything, from subatomic particles to galaxies, spin?
IAMA quantum or astro physicist, but:

Subatomic particles and galaxies don't spin in the same way.

Galaxies spin because of gravity. (So do solar systems, etc.) Big "things" that don't spin (fast enough) contract to become one lump.

Subatomic particles have characteristics that for the sake of confusion are called spin. Subatomic spin is completely incomprehensible and has very little to do with spin as it applies to lumps of rock or balls of gas.

04-29-2006, 04:39 AM
I'm not a real scientist, but I play one when I teach HS chemistry. IIRC, electron "spin" is a term we use to describe the fact that electrons have an up magnetic pole and a down one. This gives the impression that they are spinning. I used to understand it more, but 10 minutes on other web sites hasn't helped. Feel free to burn this post, y'all out there who really get this.

Sage Rat
04-29-2006, 05:41 AM
If you're moving straight and then attracted to something, you're either going to:

1) Hit it (or rotate around it in a slowly shrinking circe until you do hit it)
2) Rotate around it perfectly.
3) Have your path curve around it until you break free of the influence and go flying off again in a straight line.

Given enough time, eventually most everything is going to end up in either states 1 or 2.