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Poincaré stresses


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Nonelectric forces postulated to give stability to a model of the electron. Because of the difficulties in regarding an electron as a point charge it is possible to postulate that the electron is a charge distribution with a nonzero radius. However, an electric charge distribution alone is unstable. In 1906 Henri Poincaré postulated unknown nonelectric forces, now called Poincaré stresses, to give stability to the electron. Considerations such as these are now thought to be irrelevant, as it is accepted that an electron should be described by quantum electrodynamics rather than classical field theory.

Subjects: Physics.


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