Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

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Introduction to Renormalization

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6.3 How does a particle move the plasma? » Quiz Solution

How does the temperature of the plasma alter the effective electric charge at long distances?

A. as temperature rises, it reduces the effective charge at large distance.
B. as temperature rises, it increases the effective charge at large distance.
C. it has no effect on the charge, but just changes the law of electromagnetism.
D. (B) or (C)

Answer (D). We can talk either in terms of a new "effective" charge, which changes. Or we can talk about an alteration to the 1/r law for the electric potential. Either way, the effect of increasing the temperature is to make the particles *less* sensitive to the electric potential; this means that there's less rearrangement of the particles in response to the test particle; and this means that the "shielding" -- the flow of positively charged particles inwards -- is less.