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Levels of Matter

  1. Apr 11, 2007 #1


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    for my question , i will use the term 'level'

    hey , we know that the zone we live in is made up of atoms (level 0), which are made up of protons, electrons, neutrons , ect (level 1)

    - for electrons : are there any level 2 known , or nearly found , or theory ?

    for protons and neutrons we know they are made up of quarks (level 2)

    - For quarks , do we have any level 3 known , or nearly found , theory ?

    But isnt there infinite levels downwards (level 0 > infinity) ?
    coz if u find for example something at level 50 , well how can u imagine that its not made of anything , that it is only composed of itself. It would be more logical that the levels downwards are infinite.

    And now , if the level downwards are infinite , it would be more logical if the levels upwards would be infinite too. Coz why would we be at the top of the chain. And seing how complex our world is , maybe atoms are even more complex than we think. Maybe atoms have lots of other catheogories of very small 'things' around it , or in it. Maybe electrons, protons and neutrons are just the biggest 'things' that compose an atom. Or maybe things appear to be simple for the first levels of the atom.

    and maybe theres also other cathegories of matter. I mean like atoms and protons are linked , they are part of one chain of levels . Well maybe theres lots of chains that are not linked. i mean like one material in which all the levels that compose it do not have any matter from another chain of levels.
    But if these chains are infinite it would be more logical that they 'join' at some levels.

    And so , maybe what composes everything is made up of like 'lines' (chains of levels) that sometimes join or start a new branch, like a mess of lines that goes on for infinity

    Well maybe infinity is one if the key elements of what reality is like , infinite space , infinite levels , infinite cathegory of matter

    Ok, that is the idea i have made up myself about this , but i would like to know what the experts think , maybe i am totally wrong, or maybe knowbody knows exactly. But anyways i would like to hear other people's point of view.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2007 #2
    The whole idea of high-energy physics is to find the most fundamental "level", as you put it. Whenever we see a fundamental pattern of matter that looks like the periodic table of elements, we hope that there is something a little more "fundamental" that we can reduce to, like another "level" as you would put it. Once you get to a certain point, the idea is that the list of "fundamental" particles will be very short. This is what we have hopefully found in quarks and leptons; however, there are some ideas to try to find something more "fundamental" yet, since the list of quarks, leptons, and guage bosons IS starting to look a little like a long list...

    I would have to say that the "levels downward" should have a finite end at some point because there will come a point where the "short" list is irreducible. If you are saying that the "levels downward" should be infinite, then you are subscribing to Aristotle's view of matter, which has long been proven incompatible with nature by experiment.

    By the way, I would put electrons in "level 2" because they are pointlike in nature like quarks.

    Well, there are other objects involved in the atom, especially in the nucleus. Protons and neutrons are held together by fields of virtual mesons of varying spins. This produces the forces that act on the nucleus and prevent it from blowing apart from the electromagnetic repulsion of the protons themselves. Also, between electrons you get photon exchange, and between quarks within the protons and neutrons you get gluon exchange. Also, when neutrons decay in the nucleus, we get processes which are mediated by the virtual weak vector bosons, which results in beta emission (in other words, an electron being emitted from the nucleus). But all of these items are constructed from entities that fall into your "level 2" scheme.

    This sounds complicated. Physics is supposed to be simple and elegant, but this idea would fall outside the physics that we can test for. We cannot test physics that is not related to matter in our universe.

    This idea is far too complex to be testable or visible. However, I think you would be interested to know that some theorists are interested in a possible "level 3" known to us as Rishon Theory. The idea is that quarks and leptons are composed from a more "fundamental" set of particles known as Rishons. There are only two Rishons, "t" and "v", and their anti-Rishons, that compose the entire list of quarks, leptons, and guage bosons. This idea, if it were true, would, I think, be the key "level" of the most fundamental matter. I think the idea of Rishon theory is fairly fascinating, although I still have some skepticism. I was more skeptic in the beginning, but as I studied it more I warmed up to the idea enough to start a little more serious investigation into it.

    Well, I wish you luck in your physics study and endeavors. Have a great day!
  4. Apr 11, 2007 #3
    It's turtles all the way down. :biggrin:
  5. Apr 13, 2007 #4


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    Hey , but what do you mean by

    what list ?
    what do u mean by that ?

    Do u mean that if x is the number of different 'particles' possible (proton, atom , ect) , every time u go down a level u do a substrtaction to x ?

    Or do u mean that if u have x number of 'particules' (called X) and y number of 'particles' (called Y) that are all composed of x
    x < y
    because u can assemble the X 'particules' in many different ways to form a lot of different Y 'particules'
    And so , if u go down in the 'levels' u get less and less different kind of 'particules'
    And would this mean that at the last level , u have one common 'particule' that composes 'everything'

    or do did u mean something more complex ?
  6. Apr 13, 2007 #5
    Didn't mean to offend you, sorry. I was trying to say that Aristotle's theory was that everything could be divided infinitely into smaller and smaller pieces which would always bear the same properties. It just reminded me of that.

    Think of it like the periodic table of elements. You know, in the 1800's these were thought to be fundamental, but by the early 1900's we had a new "short list" composed of the proton, neutron, electron, and photon. As this new "short list" grew through the mid 1900's, we began to postulate that this "short list" was not in fact the "short list" afterall. So after adding dozens of new hadrons to the "short list", we developed the quark model, which contained only three quarks and three anti-quarks at first. Now, in the 21st century, we have, once again, a "long list" that contains 6 quarks and their antiquarks, 6 leptons and their anti-leptons, and possibly up to six Guage bosons, with the possibility of adding an addition Higgs sector and also another 24 or more supersymmetric particles.

    This is exactly what I mean. You're doing great!
  7. Apr 13, 2007 #6


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    oh cool
    i didnt know i was gonna get ur idea right

    but hey just wondering , is the scientific sector for the study of 'particules' a good sector (like is it something where there are too many people postulating for, or not enough) ?
    i'm in 11th grade in France, and ive got to make a choice soon
  8. Apr 13, 2007 #7
    Well, when I chose to enter this field of study, I chose based on the fact that I was fascinated with the ideas in this field, and not because of the money. Right now, there is not alot of available money for these things, especially in the US where nuclear physics has taken a major back seat to high-energy physics, and there have been reductions across the board anyway. As far as your question goes, we always, always need more people.

    If you love particle physics, then go for it!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2007
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