So what is energy?

The late Richard Feyman, a well respected physicist said ” It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is” Energy is there in light, heat, food, mechanical, sound, gravitational, electrical, chemical, biological and nuclear forms. Many of these use their own units prompting Feynman to say “For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy”.

Our universe is one of energy and space. All observed motions and interactions are the result of energy desires. Energy is an everlasting living pro active thing. It is there in neutron, proton and electron energy nodes, in all other discovered energy nodes and in the photon energies they exchange. Different energy nodes have different roles to play but they all communicate and interact with one another in the interests of the whole.

We are just advanced energy gathering and storing structures that it created. All of our energy driven senses, systems and abilities evolved to satisfy the energy needs of our particle nodes. Energy will only do what it wants to do. It has desires and, by creating the conditions where it can satisfy those desires, what it wants to do can also be what we want it to do. So what are its desires?

a) The desires of particles

Particles have different roles to play. If there is a more controlling particle in structures it is the neutron. Its name might lead you to believe that it has little or no involvement in activities, but I suggest protons and electrons are there to support neutron energy desires. The more mobile electrons link to the surround environment and provide neutrons with their energy needs via protons. Neutron’s seem to desire some protection that gives them a degree of stability no matter what turmoil there is in the environment. They can create protons and electrons and can reverse those changes as befits their energy desires. They can dispatch a positron energy particle to annihilate an electron and create gamma ray photon energies when required. Neutrons are not neutral, they are pro active in getting the energies they want.

Electrons are about a 2000th the mass energy of the protons and neutron particles in the nucleus. Their size makes them much more mobile than the nuclear particles and their support roles involve the avoiding, intercepting, collecting, dispatching and delivering of photon energies. Being energy collectors means they energy interact with other electrons so as to have their own space volumes. They are also held at a distance from protons to control nuclear energy flows.

The diagram shows how an incoming photon absorbed by an electron sends it toward a proton. The proton and electron don’t want to be closer and they exchange energies to reverse the motion. This kinetic energy thrusts the electron away but one of its roles is to feed energy to nuclear particles and the desire to do that slows the electron down.

If the incoming photons are of low energy the electron will most likely vibrate about its established location. If the incoming photon is high the electron can locate in an accepted location further from the nucleus leaving a “hole” to be filled or even escape the atom.

Protons are the collectors, processors and emitters of nuclear energies. They take energies from electrons, which is why in most structures proton and energy numbers are near the same, and energy feed neutrons. On earth those energy feeds and the associated energy discharges are high volumes of low energy photons. The high volumes make for a strong nuclear force and their low energy ensures that the photons are easily attracted to the nuclear particles. It is why the “strong nuclear force” does not act beyond the nucleus.

Perhaps the best example of our putting particle desires to good use is in electrical energy flows where we use the desire of electrons to keep at a distance from others to move mass energy along wire. Semi conductor technology is likewise mostly about particle energy interactions. In it we dope semi conductor materials like silicon and germanium that are quite stable and electrically of high resistance with other elements that make them less stable and thereby reacting to energy pressures in ways that we desire.

b) The desires of interacting structures

Some particle structures come together and stay together because their particle energy needs are better catered for. Some come together but undergo change for the same reason. Here we discuss the majority of structures which don’t want to come too close together because there is no energy advantage doing so. Yet neither do they want to be too far apart because being close better satisfies their particle energy needs. The action of particle structures is not unlike the above described electron actions.

Energies emitted by structures moving too close to one another decelerate and then accelerate apart those structures. These motion changing interaction energies we call kinetic energy. They may noticeably compress a structure’s particles together in the act of deceleration and acceleration. In doing so they add to structure mass energies but such gains are soon lost when the structures are at near steady speed. The gains are not a motion energy store and there is no motion energy store. In fact structures in near steady state motions have a mass energy the same as that when at a supposed state of rest. I say near steady state because in reality any velocity is a vibratory state of accelerations and deceleration’s because no structure is ever truly independent of others.

Particles in structures are energy linked but will move to satisfy their energy desires. If there are multiple energy sources around a structure the structure appears as going nowhere. If there are dominant energy sources near the structure all particles and therefore the structure move to such sources. These motion changing energy desires are what we term gravity. They draw structures together noticeably accelerating smaller structures toward larger ones but as described above, when coming too near kinetic energies increase to thrust them apart. Stood on the earth we are in a never ending but unnoticeable vibratory state where the desire of our structure particles for earth energies is opposed by the interacting kinetic energies that resist our structures close approach. In fact the same applies to every object on the earth.

We often use the gravity desire for energy to our advantage as with the water that comes out of our taps and the pendulum swing of a clock. As to kinetic energy, it is present in every thrust that changes an objects motion. Many a time those thrusts are induced by a deliberate release of structure energy.

Potential Energy is just what it says it is a reference to a yet to be implemented desire of energy for change; a potential output energy if you like. Particles held at a height above the earth, like water in a dam, petrol, batteries and compressed or extended spring all have potential energy. They all have mass energy which they will readily part with so as to become more efficient if the circumstances are right.

c) The desire of a structure to be energy efficient

The atoms of the periodic table are all efficient particle combinations, with some more preferred than others. Their particles have come together and work together, performing their roles so as to satisfy their energy desires more efficiently than they could separated. When such elements join together as molecules or compounds they do so in the interests of energy efficient. When in a high energy environment they will change to more efficiently accommodate the additional energy they take.

Einstein said “If a body gives off the energy L in the form of radiation its mass diminishes by L/v2”. His v was a reference to the speed of light. He was clearly telling us that mass is energy and that radiant energy given off is a loss of mass energy. It puzzles me as to how science continues to speak of photons as having no mass when it accepts that photon radiations emitted from a structure diminish the mass energy of that structure.

To me the mass energy of a structure is the total of the fragments of energy that make for particle mass plus the photon energies acting between those particles that are its photon mass. The mass of a photon may be so tiny as to seem like nothing but the numbers of interacting photons are such that they are a considerable part of a structures mass energy. Understandably, the mass energies of structures are forever mildly changing as they continually exchange photon energies with other structures. By presenting them with an opportunity to be more efficient we can secure substantial energy releases.

Stand next to a bonfire and feel the heat coming off it. Much energy is being released as we burn (oxidise) the wood. The wood is being changed into the more energy efficient structures of carbon dioxide, water vapour and ash. The burning of petrol in car engines similarly releases much mass energy but in a controlled manner that allows us to use it. The potential energies mentioned above were all potential mass energy savings, often confusingly termed binding energies.

Living structures like plants make mass energy changes. They take particle energies from the earth and the air and photon energies from the sun so as to grow efficient mass energy structures. They are a mass energy store. Animal and human life structures use the mass energies of plants and other animals. Our digestive system and respiratory system take in and process mass energies that we store as mass energies in our particle based body cells. We store those mass energies for use by our body particle energy gathering activities.

I have previously explained that we evolved to satisfy particle energy desires in a sometimes hostile environment. Our modern desires have strayed from this basic purpose and only time will show how particles determine our future evolution.

d) The energies of photon interactions

Photon energies are common to all of the three forms of energy desires I list. We should not picture them as passing outward from or inward to particles in straight lines. The theory of charge is one in which a test charge measuring the influence of another charge finds it to be distance related. It then assumes an all direction straight line radiating energy field but that is not how it is. In reality wherever you place the test charge in relation to the under test charge they become aware of one another’s photon emissions and attract them if that is desired.

Particles are never still because of their interactions with photon energies. Their desires for photon energies mean photon flows to them are all curving, highly curving in the case of low energy photons as we saw when looking at magnetism. High energy starlight has been shown to curve passing our sun. We should also think of photon energies as interacting with other photon energies, moving in flow paths following other photons or alongside other photons as in cohered energy flows.

We have seen in discussing electricity, magnetism, light and space energies that photons exchange energies and interact. The principle that all particles emit at light speed and absorb at light speed makes sense. However in structures where energy exchanging particles are making many relative movements that would only be possible if photons used their “on board” energies to change their speed and match it to the desired and required light speed. In view of what we know about particle energies I am convinced this is what happens. It was my explanation of red and blue shifting.

Radiant energy is described as the energy of electromagnetic waves. It is seen as massless photon particles or as waves that are emitted into space at light speed by vibrating particulate matter. They travel through space at light speed and are absorbed by often highly distant particulate matter. These radiant photons can have wide ranging energies that are linked to their frequency as in the spectrum shown.

Although science attributes the source of radiant photon energies to moving electrons and protons, it rarely speaks of photons as passing between particles within structures where electron and proton motions abound and where there is considerable space between them. Instead it teaches that a particle charge property is responsible for particle attractions and repulsions. If it does mention photons they are virtual.

Energy measures

There are many ways we calculate energy. We use E = mc2 to calculate mass energy releases, either E = 1/2mv2 or E = Fd to calculate the interaction energies that deliver structure motions, E = mgh for gravity energies, E = VIt for electrical energy, E = 1/2LI2 for energy held in a magnetic field and E = 1/2C V2 for the energy stored in a capacitor. The terms in the various calculations have all been defined so as to deliver energy results that are comparable.

It is difficult to reconcile one equation with another. They are all about mass energy changes or potential mass energy changes. Interestingly the 1/2v in the 1/2 mv2 references an average velocity in an assumed linear acceleration (something that is increasing less true at high speed interactions). There is no 1/2 in Einstein’s famous E = mc2 because there is no acceleration. Might it be that the less directional motions of energies within particle nodes are all at light speed.


There is no energy other than that in particles and photons. Energy in the raw is there in the mass energy of particles and the mass energy of photons. Whilst total mass energy is never lost local mass energy may choose to rearrange or re-position itself if such change is to its benefit. We may see changed mass energy in motion as a result. Potential energy, binding energy, radiant energy, thermal energy, nuclear energy, etc are like kinetic energy all references to aspects of mass energy. Kinetic energy is the photon mass energy that delivers motion change. It may add to mass energy during the motion change but it does not become a velocity related energy store.

Here at the end of my articles on energy, my hope is they have set you thinking and that at the very least you now see particle structures as living energies in control of their actions rather than as inanimate objects that are pushed about. Perhaps you will also see that the teaching and understanding of science doesn’t have to be so mathematical. The majority of students won’t have careers in science or engineering and even those who do may only rarely use its mathematics.

Regards, Albert Simpson.

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