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Is matter frozen radiation?

  1. Jan 25, 2015 #1
    It is said, that in the beginning the universe was a singularity and then it exploded. A picoseconds or so after the explosion it was a fiery ball trillions of degrees in temperature and containing pure radiation. as it expanded it cooled down until quarks and then barons and other particles formed. so as it cooled the particles condensed out of the radiation soup. So, can we say then that matter particles are frozen bits of radiation or energy or what ever it was?
     
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  3. Jan 25, 2015 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, but that's more poetry than physics.

    Physics theories are mathematical in nature - they are not about finding the right words and putting them in the right order.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  4. Jan 25, 2015 #3
    That's a neat question, actually.

    Here's the thing: You can turn lots of energy into a little matter, and you can turn a little matter into a lot of energy. That much is true.

    Now, apart from that... what other things would your phrasing entail? What would need to happen for us to be able to say, with 100% certainty, that "matter is condensed energy"? To phrase it a different way: What good would it do us to think of matter as condensed energy?

    If it would do us zero good, then yes, it would be more philosophy than physics.
     
  5. Jan 25, 2015 #4

    ZapperZ

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    Let's go ahead and test your premise.

    I take a bunch of photons (after all, photons are "radiation") and then "freeze it" somehow. Can I make an electron out of it (after all, electron is a "matter" particle).

    1. I can account for the energy content requirement, i.e. I only need 511 keV of photon energy to make an equivalent electron. Fine.

    2. But wait, how to get a charge out of all these photons? After all, the electron has a net charge.

    3. More problems. How do I arrange the photons spins so that I get a net spin of 1/2? A photon has an intrinsic spin of 1. The only spin projection that I can get from 1 photon is +1, 0, and -1. Even with many photons, how do I end up with 1/2?

    We get this type of question very often on here, and almost every single time, the person asking the question either never carried out that thought to this level, or never realized of such an issue. As I've said elsewhere recently, if you have an idea of something, don't just spew it out. Try to figure out the outcome or consequences of your idea and see if it matches what we already know!

    Zz.
     
  6. Jan 25, 2015 #5
    ...I thought that could be trivially overcome by creating an electron-positron pair simultaneously? Every book I've read thus far on quantum physics mentioned that you can get a particle-antiparticle pair if two sufficiently high-energy photons collide.
     
  7. Jan 25, 2015 #6

    ZapperZ

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    But this is DIFFERENT than asking of a matter is made up of nothing more than frozen radiation. In e-p pair creation, you'll notice that ALL the conservation rules are obeyed. My point here is that simply by saying that a particle is nothing more than made up of "frozen" radiation has a number of conservation rules that have gone AWOL.

    Zz.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2015 #7

    phinds

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    Well, it might be said somewhere but it is not said by physicists who know what they are talking about. Physics uses very precise, well-defined, terms and "explosion" implies a single point in space. The Singularity was not like that. It did not happen from a point, it happened everywhere at once.
     
  9. Jan 25, 2015 #8
    Ah, I see that now.

    Hrm...

    Hrmmmmmmmmmmmm...

    What about combinations of particles? For instance, an atom of helium-4 can be both electrically neutral and have a spin of 0, and so can a molecule of parahydrogen. For such a composite particle, would there be any other considerations with regards to the original question?
     
  10. Jan 25, 2015 #9

    ZapperZ

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    But why consider a more complicated configuration when you can't account for the existence of elementary particles in the first place? It is not as if an electron cannot exist by itself in an unbound state. The Standard Model says that an electron, as we know it, has no internal structure. So it is the "simplest" particle of matter. Now how do we reconcile the idea that it consists of "frozen radiation" while not violating any of the conservation laws?

    Zz.
     
  11. Jan 25, 2015 #10
    I think it would be prudent to split the discussion into two separate flows, here.

    First: If a group of fermions can be created by the collision of photons, could we consider that group of fermions to be "frozen radiation"?
    is (a derivation of) what the original poster was asking.

    Second: Are there any theoretical obstacles towards creating an atom of Helium, or a molecule of parahydrogen, out of a huge amount of photons?
    is what I'm currently wondering about.

    I cannot think of an answer to either, so... any ideas?

    Edit: If I understood correctly, you're of the opinion that "To consider them to be frozen radiation, one must be able to create either of them in isolation, not necessarily in pairs. Since that's impossible, we should not consider them to be frozen radiation."
    That's an interesting opinion. I don't think it'll be the only one, however.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  12. Jan 25, 2015 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    This is the problem with trying to form theories out of words. As Zz points out, there are problems with conservation laws, and the reaction has been to try and adapt the meaning of the words to avoid these problems. In science, we want definite predictions, ideally quantitative, which is why theories are expressed largely in equations, not words.
     
  13. Jan 25, 2015 #12

    ZapperZ

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    There is a HUGE jump from "A being converted to B" versus "A changes to B, and so, B must be made up of some form of A". Do you see the difference here? The latter requires several more steps to show that it is valid!

    Zz.
     
  14. Jan 25, 2015 #13
    Well.. doesn't the sum of this series 1-1+1-1+1-1.... equal 1/2 according to mathematics?
     
  15. Jan 25, 2015 #14

    ZapperZ

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    Then this implies that an electron is made up of an INFINITE NUMBER of photons. Does this make any sense to you considering that it's energy content is finite? In trying to accommodate one, you've ruined the other.

    Zz.
     
  16. Jan 25, 2015 #15
    No, this makes zero sense to me. It also doesn't make sense to me that mass and energy are equivalent, but if we take photons and try to make electrons out of it, somehow we end up with a different spin. It also doesn't make sense to me why we shouldn't be able to make matter from energy, electrons from photons.

    Also, there is a relation between the energy and the wavelength of a photon, right? So couldn't we simply increase the wavelength to lower the energy in order to "fit more of them in"? (yes I know I have no clue about physics. That's why I'm here, to learn)
     
  17. Jan 25, 2015 #16

    ZapperZ

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    Note that this topic is about matter being nothing more than "frozen" radiation. It is NOT about producing matter using energy, which is a well-known fact. But producing e-p pair, for example, from gamma rays is not the same as arguing that these e and p are made up of "frozen" radiation. Read what I've written above.

    I have no idea what this has anything to do with the topic. If you increase the wavelength, you lower the energy of the radiation. So what have you obtained here that matches what we know about, say, an electron? I will also point out that it isn't difficult for me to create a 511 keV photon, or a bunch of photons that add up to 511 keV. Yet, these two "things" do not resemble an electron, not even close!

    If you are here to learn, then try to learn about what I wrote earlier, i.e. carry out your idea and see if it matches what we know. You should have been able to do this when you first proposed of that infinite sum, and realize for yourself that there's something obviously wrong with that explanation. You may or may not end up with the right spin, but you should have clearly seen that the energy content will blow up! This is not what we know about an electron.

    Zz.
     
  18. Jan 25, 2015 #17
    So it was really more like a state change then. like water to steam, or ice to water.
     
  19. Jan 26, 2015 #18
    Firstly, allow me to answer your question: Of course I see the difference. I thought that my first post in this thread made that explicitly clear. The reason why I kept participating is because I have no idea what those steps could be.

    It's not as if I had a clear idea of what "frozen radiation" would mean, either. Neither the original post nor the rest of the thread gave any indication about that. That's why I tried to see if any possible meaning of that phrase could make sense in describing matter. I don't think that constitutes weaseling of any sort.

    Lastly, one small note: Your posts strike me as emotionally charged. Exasperated, even. Please accept my apologies if I contributed to that; I shall now politely excuse myself from the conversation.
     
  20. Jan 26, 2015 #19
    yes you are right. but what do I tell the folks at home when they ask what is stuff made off. I need a succinct, simple answer that is reasonably accurate. and has a intuitive qualitative feel. expresses the essence of it. Maybe physics needs a bit of poetry lol
     
  21. Jan 26, 2015 #20

    ZapperZ

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    You show them the Standard Model Chart of Particle Physics (do a search), and tell them all matter is made of combination of those! What's so difficult about that? Anything beyond this is a matter of speculation.

    Or would you prefer to give them a poetic speculation instead that has more holes than a swiss cheese?

    Zz.
     
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