The name vector boson arises from quantum field theory. The component of such a particle's spin along any axis has the three eigenvalues −ħ, 0, and +ħ (where ħ is the reduced Planck constant), meaning that any measurement of it can only yield one of these values. (This is, at least, true for massive vector bosons; the situation is a bit different for massless particles such as the photon, for reasons beyond the scope of this article.) The space of spin states therefore has three degrees of freedom, the same as the number of components of a vector in three-dimensional space. Quantum superpositions of these states can be taken such that they transform under rotations just like the spatial components of a rotating vector. If the vector boson is taken to be the quantum of a field, the field is a vector field, hence the name.
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Famous quotes containing the word explanation:
“Are cans constitutionally iffy? Whenever, that is, we say that we can do something, or could do something, or could have done something, is there an if in the offingsuppressed, it may be, but due nevertheless to appear when we set out our sentence in full or when we give an explanation of its meaning?”
—J.L. (John Langshaw)
“Herein is the explanation of the analogies, which exist in all the arts. They are the re-appearance of one mind, working in many materials to many temporary ends. Raphael paints wisdom, Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakspeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it. Painting was called silent poetry, and poetry speaking painting. The laws of each art are convertible into the laws of every other.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“The explanation of the propensity of the English people to portrait painting is to be found in their relish for a Fact. Let a man do the grandest things, fight the greatest battles, or be distinguished by the most brilliant personal heroism, yet the English people would prefer his portrait to a painting of the great deed. The likeness they can judge of; his existence is a Fact. But the truth of the picture of his deeds they cannot judge of, for they have no imagination.”
—Benjamin Haydon (17861846)