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Okay, assume that the energy of a charge inside a small volume goes as the square of the charge.

Then, 2 = 1 + 1 has an energy of 4, and 2 = 1 + 1 has an energy of 4 as well. But 0 = 1 + 1 has an energy of 0.

The energy of 1 or 1 is 1. If two unit charges are very widely spatially separated, than their joint energy is 1 + 1 = 2, regardless of the signs.

But if the two charges are together, the energy can be 4 if they are similarly charged or 0 is they are oppositely charged.

So, similar charges will increase their energy if brought together, and opposite charges will decrease their energy if brought together. Mechanics then dictates that opposite charges attract and similar charges repel.

Note how I avoided the use of the '-' sign by recourse to underlining.

It'd be nice if the battle were only against the right wingers, not half of the left on top of that — François in Paris

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 23rd, 2008 at 11:09:21 AM EST
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