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Materiality of elementary particles

  1. Jan 13, 2016 #1
    Do elementary particles, e.g. electron, protons, etc, have material substance in the ordinary meaning of substance? If so, what is the substance?
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  3. Jan 14, 2016 #2


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    What do you mean by "substance"? Elementary particles carry energy, momentum, and angular momentum. If you define substance as something carrying these properties, they are substance.
  4. Jan 14, 2016 #3


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    Protons are not elementary - they are made of quarks.
  5. Jan 15, 2016 #4
    Elementary particles are really quantized fields. They are not composed of some "stuff". A field is something that has some value everywhere. Consider the gravitational and the electromagnetic fields.

    I remember a physics professor calling a photon a blob of light -- that's the best macroscopic analogy that I know of.
  6. Jan 15, 2016 #5
    'Material' is probably not an applicable term for sub atomic particles, unless you regard anything which has mass as material.
    Before sub atomic particles were discovered it was thought that a single atom of some element was as fundamental as possible, a unit which could not be divided further.
    That's still true in the sense that a single atom of (say Uranium for example) is as small an amount of Uranium as there can be.
    Although we now know that atoms have component parts, a single atom is still as small as you can go and still have 'Uranium'
    The component particles have no Uranium-like properties at all, (and it's the same for every other 'element' of the periodic table.
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