Is matter made of energy?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I have been pulling my hair ought over this.....

I always see two responses to the above question.

Some say energy is a property of matter and therefore the question is absurd. Its like saying "is matter made of height?"

Others say things like "Yes, particles are just excitations of a thing we call a quantum field: think of having a rubber sheet that extends in all directions, a particle would be a moving ripple in that sheet. What you call energy is just the idea that that ripple can interact with other rubber sheets and become another type of ripples.What happens in particle accelerators (like LHC@CERN) is that you smash two high-energetic particles together in order to convert that energy into new particles."

Which is it? Is matter made of energy?
 

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  • #2
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Some say energy is a property of matter and therefore the question is absurd. Its like saying "is matter made of height?"
Right.
Yes, particles are just excitations of a thing we call a quantum field: think of having a rubber sheet that extends in all directions, a particle would be a moving ripple in that sheet. What you call energy is just the idea that that ripple can interact with other rubber sheets and become another type of ripples.
That is a reasonable description as well.
What happens in particle accelerators (like LHC@CERN) is that you smash two high-energetic particles together in order to convert that energy into new particles."
The kinetic energy is used to create new particles. It is not a conversion of "energy to particles" because the new particles still have energy.
 
  • #3
Right.That is a reasonable description as well.The kinetic energy is used to create new particles. It is not a conversion of "energy to particles" because the new particles still have energy.
]

Ok, but what would "Yes, particles are just excitations of a thing we call a quantum field" mean?

If this analogy holds then particles are disturbances of something, that particles are matter formed from non matter?
 
  • #4
PeroK
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I have been pulling my hair ought over this.....

I always see two responses to the above question.

Some say energy is a property of matter and therefore the question is absurd. Its like saying "is matter made of height?"

Others say things like "Yes, particles are just excitations of a thing we call a quantum field: think of having a rubber sheet that extends in all directions, a particle would be a moving ripple in that sheet. What you call energy is just the idea that that ripple can interact with other rubber sheets and become another type of ripples.What happens in particle accelerators (like LHC@CERN) is that you smash two high-energetic particles together in order to convert that energy into new particles."

Which is it? Is matter made of energy?
My suggestion is to read the following:

https://profmattstrassler.com/artic...tter-etc/matter-and-energy-a-false-dichotomy/

And, at an appropriate point decide that the question really isn't worth worrying about. Leave your hair alone and move on.
 
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Likes Dale and Drakkith
  • #5
Apparently the thing i was thinking of is fields, were not made of energy. Were made by the energy rippling through fields. is that correct?
 
  • #6
Drakkith
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Apparently the thing i was thinking of is fields, were not made of energy. Were made by the energy rippling through fields. is that correct?
Sorry, when you say "were not made of energy", did you mean we're (we are), or were you referring to something else? I'm not trying to nitpick your grammar here, I'm honestly not sure what you mean.
 
  • #7
Sorry, I cant spell to save my life.

We are not made of energy is the diea

"Apparently the thing i was thinking of is fields, we are not made of energy. We are made by the energy rippling through fields. is that correct?
 
  • #8
Drakkith
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Sorry, I cant spell to save my life.

We are not made of energy is the diea

"Apparently the thing i was thinking of is fields, we are not made of energy. We are made by the energy rippling through fields. is that correct?
I'd say we are made up of excitations of fields. These excitations have energy, but they are not energy themselves. Saying that energy is "rippling through fields" is a bit problematic, as the wave itself has energy but isn't energy itself. For example, a radio wave is an electromagnetic wave. This wave consists of an oscillating change in the electromagnetic field that propagates outwards from the source. This wave can affect charged particles, causing them to move and transferring energy to them. So energy is being transferred by this wave, but the wave itself isn't energy. It just has energy.
 

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