Electrons, quarks and gluons made from something or nothing?

In summary: Exactly. These states of matter refer to how large numbers of atoms and molecules are configured. E.g. ice, liquid water and water vapour are all composed of the same ##H_2O## molecules - which themselves are systems of many elementary particles (electrons and quarks, with the quarks being composed into protons and neutrons).So, gaseous, liquid and solid don't apply to elementary particles.Correct. They are composed of quantum fields.
  • #1
Most articles said electrons, quarks and gluons are indivisible thus have no compositions unlike the other particles. So, does that means electrons, quarks and gluons are composed of nothing and these elementary particles are indeed 100% void?
 
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  • #2
wonderingchicken said:
Most articles said electrons, quarks and gluons are indivisible thus have no compositions unlike the other particles. So, does that means electrons, quarks and gluons are composed of nothing and these elementary particles are indeed 100% void?
Why would that follow? A lot of your recent posts suggest you would rather speculate about fringe stuff than get the basics straight. What do you actually mean by "nothing"?
 
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  • #3
sophiecentaur said:
Why would that follow? A lot of your recent posts suggest you would rather speculate about fringe stuff than get the basics straight. What do you actually mean by "nothing"?

Nothing such as a perfect vacuum where there is no gas density at all. Most, including me, thought that since elementary particles like electrons, quarks and gluons are indivisible and have do not consist of compositions, I guess the only difference between void and elementary particles is that void is infinite while elementary particles have mass, charge, etc.
 
  • #4
This is silly. “Indivisible” is not the same as “composed of nothing”. Fundamental particles are indivisible meaning that they are not composite particles. Not composite means they are not created by composing other things, “composite” and “composed” have the same root word. So since they are not composed they cannot be composed of nothing.

What would composed of nothing even mean? How could nothing be part of a composition?
 
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  • #5
Dale said:
This is silly. “Indivisible” is not the same as “composed of nothing”. Fundamental particles are indivisible meaning that they are not composite particles. Not composite means they are not created by composing other things, “composite” and “composed” have the same root word. So since they are not composed they cannot be composed of nothing.

What would composed of nothing even mean? How could nothing be part of a composition?
So, it is something then that composed those indivisible elementary particles. But we don't know what are those "something"... right?
 
  • #6
wonderingchicken said:
Most articles said electrons, quarks and gluons are indivisible thus have no compositions unlike the other particles. So, does that means electrons, quarks and gluons are composed of nothing and these elementary particles are indeed 100% void?
I fail to see how anyone could interpret "elementary particle" as vacuum. Something is fundamentally mixed up in the physics you have learned.
 
  • #7
PeroK said:
I fail to see how anyone could interpret "elementary particle" as vacuum. Something is fundamentally mixed up in the physics you have learned.
Well, judging by the replies I guess elementary objects are actually composed of something that can't be divided into several compositions or parts. But then, does that means elementary objects are solid? Not sure. I thought elementary particles are point particles in which they don't have boundaries or what not. That's why I thought those elementary objects are somehow similar to vacuum with the differences being elementary objects have mass, charge, current, etc. while vacuum, void or empty space doesn't have anything at all.
 
  • #8
wonderingchicken said:
Well, judging by the replies I guess elementary objects are actually composed of something that can't be divided into several compositions or parts. But then, does that means elementary objects are solid? Not sure. I thought elementary particles are point particles in which they don't have boundaries or what not. That's why I thought those elementary objects are somehow similar to vacuum with the differences being elementary objects have mass, charge, current, etc. while vacuum, void or empty space doesn't have anything at all.
Classically, they are point particles. In the modern theory of particle physics, they are the quanta of the elementary quantum fields: the electron field, the quark field etc. That's why they are indivisible.

"Solid" is a state of macroscopic objects and cannot be applied to elementary particles themselves.
 
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  • #9
PeroK said:
Classically, they are point particles. In the modern theory of particle physics, they are the quanta of the elementary quantum fields: the electron field, the quark field etc. That's why they are indivisible.

"Solid" is a state of macroscopic objects and cannot be applied to elementary particles themselves.
So, gaseous, liquid and solid don't apply to elementary particles.

But being indivisible, that still mean the elementary objects are composed of "something". Isn't it?
 
  • #10
wonderingchicken said:
So, gaseous, liquid and solid don't apply to elementary particles.
Exactly. These states of matter refer to how large numbers of atoms and molecules are configured. E.g. ice, liquid water and water vapour are all composed of the same ##H_2O## molecules - which themselves are systems of many elementary particles (electrons and quarks, with the quarks being composed into protons and neutrons).
wonderingchicken said:
But being indivisible, that still mean the elementary objects are composed of "something". Isn't it?
Define "something". Quantum fields are the basic building blocks of matter. Whether you consider them "something" or not is not a question of physics but terminology.
 
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  • #11
PeroK said:
Define "something". Quantum fields are the basic building blocks of matter. Whether you consider them "something" or not is not a question of physics but terminology.
Have energy, charge, currents, etc. instead of just empty.
 
  • #12
wonderingchicken said:
Have energy, charge, currents, etc. instead of just empty.
Then quantum fields are something. They have energy, for example, in terms of excitations of the field, which are better known as elementary particles.
 
  • #13
PeroK said:
Then quantum fields are something. They have energy, for example, in terms of excitations of the field, which are better known as elementary particles.
Can we somehow say elementary particles are composed of "energy"?
 
  • #14
wonderingchicken said:
So, it is something then that composed those indivisible elementary particles. But we don't know what are those "something"... right?
The "something" of which an electron is composed is 'electron', to the depth that it's been studied.
 
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  • #15
sophiecentaur said:
The "something" of which an electron is composed is 'electron', to the depth that it's been studied.
Itself composed of itself... sorry but doesn't that sounds circular?
 
  • #16
Yes. Circular and it needn't involve 'nothing'. If you want to go deeper then you need to look at other forms of Physics - like String Theory, for instance. But that is more metaphysics than physics because we have no way to prove or disprove it.
 
  • #17
sophiecentaur said:
Yes. Circular and it needn't involve 'nothing'. If you want to go deeper then you need to look at other forms of Physics - like String Theory, for instance. But that is more metaphysics than physics because we have no way to prove or disprove it.
As elementary objects have mass, energy, charge, etc. can we safely say elementary objects are composed of "energy"?
 
  • #18
wonderingchicken said:
As elementary objects have mass, energy, charge, etc. can we safely say elementary objects are composed of "energy"?
Saying there is a property which we call energy is not the same as saying it is composed of energy. I think you are looking for a nice tidy answer but I don't think one exists just yet.
 
  • #19
sophiecentaur said:
Saying there is a property which we call energy is not the same as saying it is composed of energy. I think you are looking for a nice tidy answer but I don't think one exists just yet.
So I'll just conclude elementary objects are composed of something that we don't know for sure, but not nothing.
 
  • #20
wonderingchicken said:
Can we somehow say elementary particles are composed of "energy"?
Energy is a property of things. Quantum fields have energy, but it makes no sense to say things are composed of energy.
 
  • #21
wonderingchicken said:
So I'll just conclude elementary objects are composed of something that we don't know for sure, but not nothing.
Elementary particles are the quanta of their corresponding quantum field. That is physics. You cannot say it differently and hope to achieve more meaning.
 
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  • #22
PeroK said:
Elementary particles are the quanta of their corresponding quantum field. That is physics. You cannot say it differently and hope to achieve more meaning.
This is confusing because some people said the field is the product of the particle while others said otherwise.
 
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  • #23
PeroK said:
Energy is a property of things. Quantum fields have energy, but it makes no sense to say things are composed of energy.
But I think it is better than saying the elementary particles are mostly space.
 
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  • #24
wonderingchicken said:
But I think it is better than saying the elementary particles are mostly space.
They are both equally wrong. A quantum field is something defined at every point in spacetime.
 
  • #25
PeroK said:
They are both equally wrong. A quantum field is something defined at every point in spacetime.
Even saying it is composed of something that we are not sure yet?

I think it depends on context. When we are talking in the context of quantum physics, we say quantum fields are the ones that produced elementary particles but in classical physics it is the other way around. Is that correct?
 
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  • #26
This sounds like a simple semantic issue. @wonderingchicken it sounds like you don’t understand the meaning of the word “composed” and “indivisible” or “fundamental”.

Something that is “composed” or “composite” means that it is formed from at least two separate parts which are joined in a specific way to form a whole. So a statement like “composed of nothing” or “composed of itself” makes no sense. Something can be “composed of X and Y” or even “composed of two X”, but “composed of X” doesn’t even make sense.

Fundamental particles are not composed of anything. There is no substructure. No parts with a defined relationship. Any statement of the form “composed of ___” will be false when applied to an indivisible thing like a fundamental particle.
 
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  • #27
wonderingchicken said:
As elementary objects have mass, energy, charge, etc. can we safely say elementary objects are composed of "energy"?
Energy is no „stuff“. It is a concept to allow physicists to quantitatively investigate phenomena. It is one measure of the state or condition of a system.
 
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  • #28
wonderingchicken said:
But I think it is better than saying the elementary particles are mostly space.
And why should your opinion on what is "better" matter? The universe does not arrange itself to suit our preferences.
 
  • #29
Dale said:
Something that is “composed” or “composite” means that it is formed from at least two separate parts which are joined in a specific way to form a whole. So a statement like “composed of nothing” or “composed of itself” makes no sense. Something can be “composed of X and Y” or even “composed of two X”, but “composed of X” doesn’t even make sense.

Fundamental particles are not composed of anything. There is no substructure. No parts with a defined relationship. Any statement of the form “composed of ___” will be false when applied to an indivisible thing like a fundamental particle.

Okay, so if they are not composed of anything, they are not solid, not liquid and certainly not gaseous. But people understand elementary particles are point particles in which they don't have physical boundaries. Void, especially beyond the finite but unbounded Universe, have no physical boundaries too.
 
  • #30
wonderingchicken said:
So I'll just conclude elementary objects are composed of something that we don't know for sure, but not nothing.
You are, perhaps without recognizing it, making an an unwarranted and (as far as we know incorrect) assumption, namely that elementary particles have to be composed of anything at all. There's nothing in our best descriptions of elementary particles that suggests this.
 
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  • #31
Vanadium 50 said:
And why should your opinion on what is "better" matter? The universe does not arrange itself to suit our preferences.
Gotcha. Then depending on different opinions, some said elementary particles are nothing, almost similar to void, but with energy, charge, etc. while some said elementary particles are products of quantum fields, others said they are composed of themselves, etc.
 
  • #32
wonderingchicken said:
if they are not composed of anything, they are not solid, not liquid and certainly not gaseous
"Solid", "liquid", and "gas" are not fundamental concepts to begin with; they are emergent concepts. So thinking of elementary particles as having to be either one of those things, or some other "thing", is getting it backwards. Solids, liquids, and gases are composed of elementary particles (huge numbers of them in particular configurations), not the other way around.
 
  • #33
wonderingchicken said:
people understand elementary particles are point particles in which they don't have physical boundaries.
A point particle does have a "physical boundary": it's only one point. Every other point is outside it.

wonderingchicken said:
Void, especially beyond the finite but unbounded Universe
This is meaningless word salad.
 
  • #34
wonderingchicken said:
some said elementary particles are nothing, almost similar to void, but with energy, charge, etc. while some said elementary particles are products of quantum fields, others said they are composed of themselves, etc.
Nobody has said any of these things except you. The closest thing here to anything that an actual physicist would say is the bit about quantum fields; but an actual physicist would say that elementary particles are quantum fields.

I think you need to discard your basic conceptual framework and learn a better one.
 
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  • #35
PeterDonis said:
A point particle does have a "physical boundary": it's only one point. Every other point is outside it.This is meaningless word salad.
According to Wikipedia article of point particle, "Its defining feature is that it lacks spatial extension; being dimensionless, it does not take up space.[3] A point particle is an appropriate representation of any object whenever its size, shape, and structure are irrelevant in a given context."

It said it lacks spatial extension... and I still don't understand anything.
 

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