According to the prevailing belief, the spin of the electron or of some other particle is a mysterious internal angular momentum for which no concrete physical picture is available, and for which there is no classical analog. However, on the basis of an old calculation by Belinfante [Physica 6, 887 (1939)], it can be shown that the spin may be regarded as an angular momentum generated by a circulating flow of energy in the wave field of the electron. Likewise, the magnetic moment may be regarded as generated by a circulating flow of charge in the wave field. This provides an intuitively appealing picture and establishes that neither the spin nor the magnetic moment are ‘‘internal’’—they are not associated with the internal structure of the electron, but rather with the structure of its wave field. Furthermore, a comparison between calculations of angular momentum in the Dirac and electromagnetic fields shows that the spin of the electron is entirely analogous to the angular momentum carried by a classical circularly polarized wave.

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