1. What’s the matter?

We say “seeing is believing”, but is it? We see our world as one of life forms and non life forms with shapes and colours and composed of solid, liquid and gaseous structures. However that is not how our world is; it is how our senses perceive it to be. The matter of our world is vastly different to that we perceive

Our sun outputs infinite numbers of multi sized photon energy packets that science calls electro-magnetic radiations. Every second, in full sun, each square centimetre of earth’s surface attracts about a million trillion of those photons to it. Earth’s living and non living structures absorb photon energies and emit most of that energy as other photon energies. The intakes and outgoings are not always the same and that accounts for a warming up or cooling down of those structures. The emitted photons are likewise highly numerous and go in many directions spreading warmth and light.


The images we see are photon energy radiations from particles

The mechanism of sight is one where a range of photon energies (visible light) coming from in view structures land on our retina sensors and they send related energy signal pulses to our brains.  Retinas have about 6 million cone sensors sensitive to the energy differences of the photons in this visible light range and they provide colour information and shapes to our brains whilst about  90 million rod sensors provide more general brightness data. Your eyes focus on one point in view and bring it into best focus.

Contact, we feel, when our skin touch sensors send energy signals to our brain. However, and even in love making, no matter contact is ever made. The signals to our brain are related to the level of the energy exchanges between our touch sensor matter particles and the touched structure’s particles. Such energy exchanges are also of photon electro-magnetic radiations, but the photons involved have much lower energy levels than those that provide our sight.

Structures that we see and feel as matter are composed of particles but not jelled together. The particles of earthly structures make for less than 0.0001% of those structures.  Atoms,  molecules, compounds and larger structures are more than 99.9999% space, the same space as exists in particle free outer space.

Atoms have a nucleus containing protons and neutrons surrounded by electrons. Consider the seeds in the grape above as representing the particles in a nucleus.  On that scale a “near” electron particle would be a grain of sand about a kilometre away.  Atom nuclei do not have shells like the grape. They and all structures are merely compositions of energy linked particles that have a vague space boundary.

At school we learn how a fixed particle property called charge is responsible for electron and proton interactions. We are told how a strong localised nuclear force binds protons and neutrons together in a nucleus. We learn how input energies expand particle structures and change solid states to more fluid ones. We are introduced to the spectrum of electro-magnetic radiations and hear how photons that travel at light speed (c) of 300,000 kilometres per second are absorbed and emitted by electrons causing them to make jumps between energy levels in atoms. In later studies we may learn of Einstein’s famous E = mc2 linking energy  to mass and the speed of light and hear how protons and neutrons have in them quarks of a tiny 2000th their size all held together by gluon particles.

Many physics students at this stage of learning will have realised that atomic particles are in no way ball like masses and started to wonder if electrons do act like planets going round the sun. Some will have wondered why electrons don’t crash into the nucleus with its attracting protons, why atomic particles all vibrate and why higher energy fluid structures don’t always feel hotter.

In biology we learn how living structures like those of animals and plants have trillions of cooperating cells and that bacteria are just single smaller cells. We discover how cells need energy to survive and that plant cells gather photon energies from the sun whilst animal cells get energies by consuming plants or other animals.

In chemistry we learn about atomic elements and how they will combine into molecules or into structures with covalent, ionic and metallic bonds. We don’t always here that they make such particle arrangements because they are more energy efficient. We also learn how some elements are much more reactive than others but maybe don’t realise it is also about particles finding efficient energy arrangements.

Knowing the above we must consider the idea that particle masses are energies. Suppose we view all atomic particles as energy machines that behave pro actively.  They are no longer ball like particles that are pushed and pulled around by energies but are intelligent and use their internal energies to move and thereby control their energy processing.

A space ship uses its on board energy to make desired space motions. Is that not what particles are doing; they move to collect desirable photon energies coming from particle sources and away from them when their needs are met. Does this picture not better explain the vibrating nature of particles, why they are energy linked to one another and how and why they hold themselves at a distance from one another?

Neutrons, protons and electrons have different roles but work as energy efficient teams in structures.  Atomic elements, molecules and compounds are energy efficient particle team structures. They will energy link to their like or to other structures so as to make more energy efficient structures but only when they are in an environment that makes possible such change otherwise energy efficient structures will want to remain as they are and highly resist combining using their energy the close approach of any other energy efficient structure.

Chemical changes are all about structures seeking best possible energy arrangements. We often have to provide an energy input to initiate structural changes. Such energy inputs may agitate or pressurise structures and thereby encourage them to change into more energy efficient arrangements and so release energy. Think of how we burn things. Be aware that the energy content in any structure (particle energies plus exchange energies) is always less than that of its separated particles.

All chemical changes are either exothermic reactions that release photon energies so as to become a more energy efficient but lesser energy structure or endothermic where external energies are accommodated into a more efficient higher energy structure. Particle energies always seek to satisfy their energy desires with least energy input by themselves and cooperate with their surround to that end.
To separate particles from structures you have to input energy.

The particles of heated structures will move apart so as to control the level of their energy exchanges. When it is beneficial to them to do so and to accommodate higher exchange energies electrons will use input energy to move further from the nucleus and thereby create less dense, more fluid, higher energy structures as with liquids or even separate into molecular structures as with gases. Temperature is a measure of photon densities and their energies and so is no indication of heat accommodated in a structure as when particles move further apart the photon densities exchanged diminish.

Think of earth’s neutron energies as desiring high volumes of low energy photons and getting those energies using the support of protons and electrons. I think the strong localised nuclear force between protons and neutrons is the exchange of high volumes of low photon energies. It is a highly localised force because the low energy photons seriously curve to the attracting particles. We should think of all photon energies as curving. Even the highest of photon energies are influenced by other energies. Starlight curved by our sun is an example.

Think of the highly mobile electrons as having the role of collecting and sorting photon energies on behalf of nuclear particles. They find space volumes away from other electrons where they can “feed” protons with suitable photons.  Outer electrons have feed links to their parent atom protons but also links to other atom protons. Covalent, ionic and metallic bonds are all such energy links.

The more mobile electrons also protect nuclear particles and will avoid or disperse the less desirable photon energies. Fluid structures with their more distant particles are better able to avoid unsuitable energies whilst denser solid particle structures rely on electrons intercepting and dispatching them. It is why we see through liquids and gases but see solid structures.

We recognise matter as having mass that is independent of gravity. Newton introduced mass as a measure of inertia then Einstein in his 1905 paper “Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content” decided radiation conveys inertia (mass) from emitting to absorbing bodies. He said an energy E lost or gained by a body equated to a mass loss or gain of E/c2 and indeed that is so because a heated object has more mass (and weighs more) than the same object when cold. That is because the objects particles are exchanging higher radiations.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity gave rise to the idea that massive objects warp space time. The reality is that all particle structures are influenced by and bear influence on photon energy radiations and what is time if not the ever changing photon influences or in life terms experiences.

Whilst most structure changes involve particle rearrangements some involve particle changes. Neutron energies for example can decay to an energy saving proton and electron.  It happens in neutron rich nuclei and happened at the time of the big bang when zillions of lone neutrons became protons and electrons. Such protons and electrons did not link together as hydrogen atoms because high exchange energies kept them apart. We may wonder if the creation of electron and proton energies are deliberate acts by neutrons to improve energy arrangements.

Big bang theory says all the energy of the universe was compacted into the space volume of something akin to a golf ball. That’s hard for us on earth to imagine as gold is one of the densest materials on earth and denser than lead. Gold has a density of 19.3 grams per cubic centimetre but it is nearly all space.  Contrast that with a neutron star, which has a density estimated at a little under a hundred million tons per cubic centimetre. Its particles clearly are much more close together but I suspect it still has in it substantial space. The big bang becomes a little more credible.

Our macro measures are in no way absolutes. Everything vibrates. Straight lines and perfect circles only exist in a mathematical world. Everything is space and energy that is the source of all intelligence.

2 thoughts on “1. What’s the matter?”

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