How elementary particles form matter

In summary, the conversation discusses how elementary particles, despite being point-like and having no physical extension on a larger scale, are able to form matter with observable physical extension. It is explained that this is due to electromagnetic interactions between particles and the fact that matter is mostly empty space. The conversation concludes with gratitude for the clarification.
  • #1
LeInvertedPenguine
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Hello,

So i wonder how elementary particles which are said to have no physical extension on a larger scale are able to form what is known to us as matter? Aka stuff with an observable physical extension.
 
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  • #2
That elementary particles are point-like does not mean that they cannot interact at a distance. What stops you from smashing your hand through the table is really electromagnetic interactions between the molecules in the table and the molecules in your hand. Just as it is electromagnetic interactions that keep the molecules together. Most of what you experience in everyday life that is not due to gravity is due to electromagnetic interactions.
 
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  • #3
The nucleus and electrons in atoms are not touching - they are about an Angstrom apart.
 
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  • #4
LeInvertedPenguine said:
Hello,

So i wonder how elementary particles which are said to have no physical extension on a larger scale are able to form what is known to us as matter? Aka stuff with an observable physical extension.
To add to what others have already said, 99%+ of what you think of as matter with "observable physical extension." in 3D is actually totally empty space.
 
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  • #5
Ok, thanks everyone! Your answers helped me understand how i went about it wrong :)
 

Related to How elementary particles form matter

1. What are elementary particles?

Elementary particles are the smallest known units of matter that cannot be broken down into smaller parts. They are the building blocks of all matter in the universe.

2. How do elementary particles form matter?

Elementary particles come together through various interactions such as the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravity. These interactions create different configurations of particles, which then form atoms and molecules, eventually leading to the formation of matter.

3. What are the different types of elementary particles?

There are three main types of elementary particles: quarks, leptons, and bosons. Quarks and leptons are known as matter particles, while bosons are force-carrying particles.

4. Can elementary particles be observed?

Some elementary particles, such as electrons and protons, can be observed using advanced technology like particle accelerators. However, others, like neutrinos, are much more difficult to detect due to their elusive nature.

5. How do scientists study elementary particles?

Scientists study elementary particles through various experiments and observations, including particle collisions in accelerators and studying the behavior of particles in cosmic rays. They also use mathematical models and theories, such as the Standard Model, to better understand the behavior and interactions of elementary particles.

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