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How many physical states are there (that we can't physically touch)?

  1. Aug 11, 2003 #1
    I know this sounds like a strange question but I'm trying to make a thesis-paper/informational on the physical states of matter (Yes ofcourse I know liquid, solid, gas, and plasma) but I once read in a physical science book (and even saw an illustration) of certain particles that come from space that constantly pass *through* US and the EARTH. They don't apply physically to us and (most likely) we can't illuminate them in our visible spectrum. I also know of another state of matter that is reached at "absolute zero" but that is still a physical state.

    Please help me if you can to find out which particle (if any) can pass through us and give examples (and preferably a link so I can have a reference for my paper besides: someone told me). Thnx.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2003 #2
    I guess the particles that constantly pass through us they were referring to are called "neutrinos". They are almost mass-less, have no charge and travel at near the speed of light. They don't often interact with other particles.

    The near-zero state applies only to Bosons and it is called an "Einstein-Bose Condensate". The particles involved all lose much their energy due to the low temperature and consequently "falls" down to the lowest state of energy. Because levels of energy are quantized all the particles gets to share the same state and become indistinguishable from each other, acting together as one giant particle.
  4. Aug 11, 2003 #3


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    I don't think the neutrino is really a "state of matter", but just a fundamental particle, like your electron. What is the state of matter of a beam of electrons? As they aren't matter in the baryonic sense, I don't think you can say the neutrinos are in any particular state.
  5. Aug 12, 2003 #4
    I think it was a neutrino that I was thinking of when I mentioned a particle that passed through almost everything. Thnx for your help.
  6. Aug 13, 2003 #5


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    Aren't there also other physical states at extremely high temperatures, including the unification of the electromagnetic and the weak nuclear forces, as well as the unification of the strong nuclear force high up at the temperature scale? I've read that the universe has undergone several phase transformations after the Big Bang, in which the forces started to seperate from each other.
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