Energy-momentum vector of the classical electron

  • Jeffrey M. Cohen
  • Errol Mustafa


One of the problems often attributed to the classical electron is that energy and linear momentum do not transform as components of a 4-vector under Lorentz transformations. It is shown (with the example of an uncharged balloon) that this problem is not unique to the classical electron with its electromagnetic field extending to spatial infinity. For the balloon model and the classical electron it is shown that the cohesive surface stress makes a contribution to the energy and momentum in such a way that they transform as 4-vector components. From these and other considerations it is shown that the classical electron may be treated in a self-consistent manner.


Field Theory Elementary Particle Quantum Field Theory Electromagnetic Field Surface Stress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abraham, M. (1905).Theorie der Electrizität, Vol. 2, Teubner, Leipzig.Google Scholar
  2. Bergmann, P. G. (1942).Introduction to the Theory of Relativity, p. 129, Prentice-Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, J. M. (1968).Journal of Mathematical Physics,9, 905–906.Google Scholar
  4. Fermi, E. (1922).Physikalische Zeitschrifts,23, 340–344.Google Scholar
  5. Jackson, J. D. (1975).Classical Electrodynamics, p. 793 John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Kwal, B. (1949).Journal de Physique et le Radium,10, 103.Google Scholar
  7. Leighton, R. B. (1959).Principles of Modern Physics, p. 52, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Lorentz, H. A. (1909).The Theory of Electrons, Teubner, Leipzig.Google Scholar
  9. Pais, A. (1948).Developments in the Theory of the Electron, pp. 5–7, Institute for Advanced Study, and Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  10. Poincaré, H. (1906).Rend. Circ. Mat. Palermo,21, 129–176.Google Scholar
  11. Rohrlich, F. (1960).American Journal of Physics,28, 639–643.Google Scholar
  12. Synge, J. L. (1960).Relativity, the General Theory, p. 43, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  13. Wheeler, J. A. (1962).Geometrodynamics, p. 238, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey M. Cohen
    • 1
  • Errol Mustafa
    • 1
  1. 1.Physics DepartmentUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia

Personalised recommendations