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Entropy and the Destruction of Matter

  1. May 18, 2011 #1
    (Note: Move this if this particular forum isn't appropriate)

    This is going to be a bit philosophical and is mostly me rambling, but I would like to hear the insights of others on this topic.

    I was thinking to myself about how as a general physical principle, things tend towards disorder. I was trying to think of how this extends to the nature of atoms. In considering how things change with time, is it really true that given subatomic particles stay completely in tact and useful in the same way? What I'm wondering is if it is possible that even at the subatomic level, matter is imperfect and with time it perhaps degrades to a point where it behaves poorly relative to its former state.

    We know from thermodynamics that heat can not be purely transformed into work. Isn't this buildup of lost work is what is responsible for the supposed heat death theory of the universe? Is it possible this lost work plays a role in what I described before in the denaturing of subatomic particles? Furthermore, what of the forces which govern atoms? Is the nuclear force perhaps altered by this continuous entropy?

    I feel personally that the universe began in a way which matter and energy interacted very fluidly and effectively, and in time a sort of middle-ground was achieved in which energy influenced the creation of more complex beings, but knowing that similar to when you make a mess, it won't clean itself back up without effort.

    Does anyone have thoughts on this, and could anyone perhaps provide articles on this matter?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I suggest seeing this thread for a little bit of info and discussion on entropy: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=499922

    The fundamental forces of nature are not altered in any way over time as far as we know. Also, I've never heard of the "nucleus force", which of the fundamental forces are you referring to?

    As far as science knows, the universe was initally all "energy". As the universe expanded during inflating and cooled down, this energy created stable matter as quarks and such. As it cooled further, more complex forms of matter were able to be created and formed, such as protons, neutrons, and electrons. Eventually the universe was cool enough for these particles to combine and form the initial Hydrogen, Helium, and various other elements that dominated the early universe.

    What do you mean by useful? A single particle is useless, it is only the interactions between multiple particles that provides work and such. As far as we know all stable particles will forever stay that way and not spontaneously decay on their own.
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