We say “seeing is believing”, but is it? We see our world as one of life forms and non life forms that have shapes and colours and which are 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. It has no substance; in reality there is no matter.
Our sun outputs infinite numbers of multi sized photon energy packets. Every second, in full sun, each square centimetre of earth’s surface attracts about a million trillion of those photons to it. Science refers to the range of these energy packets as electromagnetic radiations. They radiate across space at light speed. Earth’s living and non living structures absorb such photon energies and then emit most of it as other photon energies. The intakes and outgoings of photon numbers and their energies are near but not the same which is why structures warm up or cool down.
The mechanism of sight is one where we have at the back of our eyes retina sensors that react to visible light photon radiations coming from points in our view. About 6 million cone sensors sensitive to photon energy differences provide colour information and shapes to our brains. About 90 million rod sensors provide more general brightness data. Our eye lenses can swivel and adjust so as to best focus the energies from a single point in view whilst still collecting and interpreting energies from all point in view.
Contact, we feel, when our skin touch sensors send energy signals to our brain. However, and even in love making, particle never make contact. Our body touch sensor particles exchange photon energies with the touched object’s particles. The level and nature of these photon energy exchanges pass along nerve channels in our body to create a sense of feeling in our brain. These nerves are just specialist particle structures linked by photon electro-magnetic radiations. The photons involved in touch are much lower in energy level than those that provide our sight.
All earthly structures are composed of particles but what are they? I have said they are not matter and now I tell you they are not compacted together. In fact particles make for less than 0.0001% of structures. All atoms, molecules, compounds and larger structures are more than 99.9999% space, the same space as exists in particle free outer space.
Atoms have proton and neutron particles in a space volume called a nucleus. That nucleus volume is surrounded by distant 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. An atom has no shell like the grape. Like all structures it is just a combination of particles in space that link well together via photon energy exchanges between them.
At school we learn about states of matter and how energy inputs and releases accompany such changes. We learn about the spectrum of electro-magnetic radiations and how photons that travel at light speed (c) of 300,000 kilometres per second are absorbed and emitted by electrons. We may come to know of Einstein’s famous E = mc2 linking energy to mass and the speed of light.
We are taught that an in-built particle property called charge is responsible for electron and proton interactions with protons attracting opposite charge electrons, electrons repelling like charge electrons and protons attracting like charge protons. We learn how a strong but local nuclear force binds protons and neutrons together in a nucleus. Charge fails to explain why it is that electrons don’t crash into a nucleus, why structures change particle formations and compositions to accommodate or release energy and why all particles vibrate. At advanced level we do not see the photons that pass between particle structures as passing between particles inside structures except as virtual photons and may learn that gluon particles acting between the three quarks in neutrons and protons (each just one 2000th particle size) deliver that strong force.
My atomic picture is one in which particles are energy nodes with “on board” energy that they use pro actively to seek out photon energies and thereby satisfy their photon energy desires. They with other particle energies to their mutual energy desiring benefit. I see very high volumes of low energy photons being exchanged by particles within structures. I see the outermost particles of structures as either energy bonding to other structures if it is in their interest to do so or energy defending against other structures if there is no energy benefit to be had.
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 hear how cells need energy to survive and that plant cells gather photon energies from the sun whilst animal cells get energies by consuming plants and/or other animals.
In chemistry we learn about atomic elements and how they will combine into molecules or into structures through covalent, ionic or metallic bonds. What isn’t made clear is that all chemical changes happen because in changing they make more efficient use of energy. If you have encountered a reactivity series for metals or for halogens showing how one metal or halogen will displace another in a compound it is because the new compound is more energy efficient than the one replaced. Chemistry is all about energy.
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 use their internal energies to intelligently move so as to best satisfy their energy desires. Particles move to absorb desired photon energies and withdraw when their needs are met. Will such a picture not better explain the vibrating nature of particles and how they come to be energy bound to one another yet held at a distance from one another?
Think of neutrons, protons and electrons as having different roles but as working together to make for energy efficient teams in structures. Atomic elements, molecules and compounds are just such energy efficient structures that can energy link to their like. They will link to other structures if by doing so they make for more energy efficient arrangements and if the energy environment is supportive of such change. If no beneficial arrangements are to be had the energy exchanges between such close structures can build to seriously high repulsive forces.
Einstein’s mass related energy of any structure E = mc2 is the total of its particle energies and its photon exchange energies. It is always less than the mass related energy of its separated molecules, atoms and particles. Clearly when particles come together in more energy efficient arrangements some “on board” particle energies are used as photon energies and some of those are released into the environment.
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. We apply a spark of energy that upsets some part of a structures particles. They find a way of recombining in a more energy efficient, energy releasing manner that supports the burning process.
All chemical changes are either exothermic reactions that release photon energies so as to become a more energy efficient, lesser energy structure or endothermic where external energies are input and have to be accommodated as efficiently as possible into a higher energy structure. Particle energies always seek to satisfy their energy desires with least energy input by themselves and they will cooperate with their surround particles to that end.
The particles of heated structures will move apart so as to control the level of their energy exchanges. Electrons absorbing higher energy photons will use their “on board” energy to move further from the nucleus and thereby create less dense structures. They will convert to the more fluid, higher energy structures of liquids or gases if it suits their purpose. Temperature is a measure of photon energies at a location in a structure. It is no indicator of the total heat accommodated in that structure. because the more distant particles exchange higher but fewer photons. energy photons.
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. Fruit pickers don’t all go for the same tree or bush. Electrons have similar intelligence. They find space volumes away from other electrons where they can “feed” protons with suitable photons. Outer electrons may feed their parent atom protons and 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. I said above that the mass energy of a structure is the total of structure particle energies and structure particle exchange energies so I am not saying something entirely different.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity gave rise to the idea that massive objects warp the dimensions of space time. Time became a fourth dimension. Massive structures are no different to any other structure. They are all influenced by and bear influence on photon energy radiations. Particle structures and their photon exchanges are ever on the move and their interactions mean none of them ever travel in straight lines. Time is our description of the ever changing energy events that we experience. To measure it we seek some perfectly repetitive energy interaction but none is truly possible.
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 to imagine on earth where gold is one of the densest materials and denser than lead. A neutron star, has a density estimated at a little under a hundred million tons per cubic centimetre. Its particles must be closer together than those in gold at 19.3 grams per cubic centimetre but I suspect there is still substantial space between its particles. The big bang becomes a little more credible.
Our measures of matter and its motions are all observations of energy formations and interactions. Energy acts pro actively and intelligently. Its particles are a basic life form.