The Logic of Elementary Particles

  • Thread starter Openeye
  • Start date
  • #1
29
0
"In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle believed not to have substructure; that is, it is believed not to be made up of smaller particles."

-Wikipedia


How does someone ever possibly (LOGICALLY) conclude that a particle is not made up of smaller particles? Especially when the way in which they discover particles is by bashing them together which would CREATE smaller particles (not really create, but through division) if they didn't exist before.

Surely when we fail to break open the next smallest particle, it's always going to be a question of whether or not we can build greater technology to bash them open, yes ?

If a particle can NOT be smashed/broken apart into pieces, then it is truly indestructible... yes?

HOW do we get away with assuming there is such a thing as an indestructible particle... when there is absolutely no evidence anywhere that anything physical is indestructible and can not be broken into more pieces? Where is the evidence? That's what scientific theory is supposed to be based on yes... not blind faith?

We even have evidence of "elementary" or "fundamental"particles being proven not to be so:

"Historically, the hadrons (mesons and baryons such as the proton and neutron) and even whole atoms were once regarded as elementary particles."

To me it seems we have much more evidence of this logic being illogical, than we do to suggest that there is such a thing as an indestructible particle. Why is this persisting?

Thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
706
2
There are no particles as such and classical concepts fail miserably at smaller scales. You may find it easier to think in terms of momentary field excitations. Of course, this changes everything about one's perspective on the world.
 
  • #3
mathman
Science Advisor
7,904
461
When particles are "bashed" together, the particles that are created result from the conversion of the energy of the incoming particles to mass.
 
  • #4
29
0
There are no particles as such and classical concepts fail miserably at smaller scales. You may find it easier to think in terms of momentary field excitations. Of course, this changes everything about one's perspective on the world.
Thanks for your reply...

Can you please explain what you mean by momentary field excitations?

What changes someone's perspective about the world is the language in which they understand it. For example... to YOU "Momentary field excitations" might mean something and have all kinds of implications... but those words sequenced in that way doesn't really mean anything to me, not without some sort of example... and it certainly doesn't help me change my viewpoint (though I'd like it to if it is actually something logical)... and it also doesn't explain to me why if you divide 1 (of anything, even imaginary things) in half you get multiple pieces instead of just 1. Try to use your imagination to split a singularity into something more complete than whole. It doesn't seem to make a difference how large or small something is either... if you divide the whole/completion of anything (single) in half, you get TWO point fives... and if you use a calculator to do this you can keep pressing the equals button infinitely to reach a different number. MATH, right ?

But of course that's not infinite. You can only do it for as long as you're alive to press the button. If you and the calculator could exist eternally together, the number will continue to divide as you continue pressing the button. The calculator also has a limit to the size of number it can display, I think.

If we use numbers as variables to things, we would call a single particle 1 particle. Surely it's the same for any particle or 'blob'... imagined or real... as the particles themselves are actually pieces of 'wholes'... what they combine to make what we could call a singularity... (how many 'particles' make ME, "the whole" up?).

Is there any exception to THAT? It might be newtonian... but at what point does 'balance' disappear and become something to ignore in our scientific approach ? Is there logic for that? or do we just kinda forget about it...

If I sound argumentative please do not take offense it is just my way of understanding...That's why we require a sufficient amount of 'evidence' before just blindly allowing something into our models, right? we may even be thinking along the same lines and I don't know any better because of language barriers.

I really appreciate your input, thank you!


(EDIT: If you're referring to the idea of 'vibration' as opposed to particles... I already may have an idea of the perspective you mean... and to me it makes me think of what the 'particles' we imagine would be DOING/BEING (if existent), and then we're referring to something that isn't actually physical but a QUALITY of the physical 'particle' or <whatever>. Not the actual particles themselves.... but I'd like you to expand on what you said a little if you don't mind, so I may more fully understand your perspective.)
 
Last edited:
  • #5
29
0
When particles are "bashed" together, the particles that are created result from the conversion of the energy of the incoming particles to mass.
Energy is neither created or destroyed... yes?

When do we abandon this? and why?

If the particles ARE created, as you say, by the conversion of the parent / incoming particles to mass... then how is it logical to conclude that any of the particles we're finding exist in nature? Where on earth or in the universe do we witness what CERN does? When you bash particles together ... from what I understand, they break apart into smaller particles for fractions of a second before 'converting' into something else or 'disappearing'... If these particles do not exist in nature, wouldn't it make sense that they would go extinct/break down/transform pretty fast after you create them?

But wait, we don't create energy... right? And we can't destroy it either... right?

But even if it were 'created'... division of a particle still produces more particles, or at least particle pieces... what do we call that? I would call them smaller particles. To call any particle elementary or fundamental as a building block of the universe, doesn't it need to be indestructible? ... Again... HOW and -who- decides when something is indestructible, when there is nothing anyone has ever seen physical in nature that has that quality? (as far as I know, please tell me if you know of something). Oh ... I thought of something. "ENERGY". Neither created or destroyed... that seems to me, to be the closest known ACTUAL 'thing' there is to indestructible. But 'energy' is not specific, it is a variable, like the numbers on the calculator... and we clearly know the potential of numbers on a calculator.

So I do not see how to even believe in such a thing as a fundamental/elementary particle can be even slightly accurate... in EITHER the physical world where I'm typing this to you, or the imaginary dream world where all physics are my creation. Unless of course that particle were to be 'infinitely small'--- but how do we say that?

I am not speaking your language/jargon... can you understand the point I am making even though I'm not using perhaps as precise of language as you are?

Thanks for your input and help me to clarify this.
 
Last edited:
  • #6
mathman
Science Advisor
7,904
461
Energy is neither created or destroyed... yes?
Not completely true. Energy can be converted to mass and mass can convert to energy. That's basically Einstein's famous equation E=mc2.
 
  • #7
901
2
This is all getting very philosophical regarding the question if particles actually exist and the idea of epistemology and the validity of knowledge. Let's keep it scientific, yes?
 
  • #8
29
0
This is all getting very philosophical regarding the question if particles actually exist and the idea of epistemology and the validity of knowledge. Let's keep it scientific, yes?
You say this like that all the logic is completely worthless because you slap on the label philosophy. All of your science is based on ideas thought up by someone(s), and here I am having ideas produced by logical conclusion using the same rules and guidelines used in physics, and you are telling me it's not scientific.

Scientific definition: conforming with the principles or methods used in science.

I have given you the SCIENTIFIC reasoning behind my logic... don't tell me this is just philosophy. At least tell me where it isn't scientific please instead of just pushing me away and seemingly closing your mind for not communicating in your style. Why do you comment on this thread if you offer nothing ? This is a physics forum, and my questions are about physics and understanding why it is the way it is, relative to this logic. I've gone elsewhere to chat and speak with people who might be able to help me understand this, but the same thing. I am hoping this forum to be decent about this.

If this is the best you have for me then I thank you for the most intelligent response you could have produced... and anxiously await responses from others who can make sense of what I am saying.
 
  • #9
29
0
Not completely true. Energy can be converted to mass and mass can convert to energy. That's basically Einstein's famous equation E=mc2.
Hi, thanks for your reply :)

How is this 'creating' or 'destroying'... and not 'converting' ? You used the word convert twice.

"Convert: change the nature, purpose, or function of something; "convert lead into gold"; "convert hotels into jails"; "convert slaves to laborers"
 
  • #10
901
2
There is no need to get defensive.

So I do not see how to even believe in such a thing as a fundamental/elementary particle can be even slightly accurate... in EITHER the physical world where I'm typing this to you, or the imaginary dream world where all physics are my creation.
HOW and -who- decides when something is indestructible, when there is nothing anyone has ever seen physical in nature that has that quality?
I'm also trying to make sure the thread doesn't get closed, which is in your benefit.
 
  • #11
29
0
There is no need to get defensive.




I'm also trying to make sure the thread doesn't get closed, which is in your benefit.


Thanks for your concern.

Those two parts are a small percentage of what I'm saying. If it makes you uncomfortable to ask yourself these things, please ignore those two questions then and reply to the stuff that is clearly relating to science.

I am just trying to understand, that is all. I'm not intending to hurt anybody's feelings or anyone to take anything personally, I just want to know. The thread doesn't need to be closed, anyone who doesn't like what I'm asking can simply not read or reply. :)
 
  • #12
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
Let me see if i can help. Keep in mind that this is very simplified.

Through observations and experiments we discovered that all matter is made up of atoms. Then later, through more observations and experiments, we discovered that pieces of these atoms could be taken from it. This is how we discovered the electron, proton, and neutron. Then, later, through more experiments and observations, we discovered that protons and neutrons are made up of three particles.

Now, while all this was going on, and even before for some of it, people were doing math and other experiments that showed that atoms should be made up of other particles, and later that protons and neutrons should be made up of something smaller as well. Certain observations just didn't make sense until we realized that these things were made up of smaller things.

Now, please understand that there are plenty of things still unknown in science. However, simply saying that we don't know what we are talking about when we say that something is or can be elementary is just a slap in the face to everyone that has ever contributed to science. The observed ways the universe works hasn't always been "logical" to us. Why should something act like a particle AND a wave for example. So saying that something should be taken as possible or true just because it's logical to you is just wrong. It will be taken as possible or true if we observe it happen or have some reason to believe that it is possible.

So, in conclusion, please understand that we are trying to help you understand the way that current mainstream science works. Anything beyond that is simply not discussable due to lack of evidence and such. That's why it's considered philosophical. =)
 
  • #13
29
0
Now, please understand that there are plenty of things still unknown in science. However, simply saying that we don't know what we are talking about when we say that something is or can be elementary is just a slap in the face to everyone that has ever contributed to science.
Hello, thanks for your reply :)

That is exactly the question I had. How does anyone scientifically know what they're talking about when they call it elementary? This is not to offend... this is a valid question. If you take it as a slap in the face, I'm sorry, but I don't see it being asked anywhere and I also don't see the answer to these unasked questions. I'm not trying to say -you- don't know what you're talking about, I'm saying _I_ don't know what you're talking about... and I want to. If I ask these questions and you suddenly feel like you don't know what you're talking about, that's not my intention. I'm hoping to get answers.

I look up the definitions and even paste them to you based on what's available to me... what exactly does it mean to be an elementary particle? Because by the definitions I have read, there is no such thing unless someone has somehow decided that the particle is indestructible. THAT has clearly happened...

"In the Standard Model, the quarks, leptons, and gauge bosons are elementary particles."
-Wikipedia

Can someone please tell me the scientific method in which that scientific person went to decide (scientifically) that these particle is 'elementary'? There must be a scientific explanation for this if the scientific community has accepted it, yes?

"In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle believed not to have substructure; that is, it is believed not to be made up of smaller particles."

Also... not to be 'philosophical' about it... but if I were to translate this into 'laymans' terms... that would mean it can't break into smaller particles and must be indestructible. If this is not the case, please can you give me a better translation?

How did they scientifically conclude that any particle is elementary? And was it the same process in which we've found ATOMS to be 'elementary'?

"Historically, the hadrons (mesons and baryons such as the proton and neutron) and even whole atoms were once regarded as elementary particles."
-Wikipedia


I don't know, and locating this information is very time consuming and difficult especially when I do not speak the same language. So I come here to ask real people who can think and be helpful :)

thank you again for your help!
 
Last edited:
  • #14
901
2
Okay, firstly we observe the elementary particles in accelerators as point particles, dimensionless without internal structures. Also all of our Quantum Field Theories (Standard Model) don't require any more constituents as "all" of the phenomenon observed at the CURRENT energy levels are explained phenomenally well by current boson interactions with fermions. It may well become clear that as the energies increase (shorter distances) that new emergent properties may appear thus requiring something more elementary. We say their elementary because we're naive, essentially.

I'll quote this entire thing because it's unbelievably useful:

The Standard Model relies on several assumptions, among which the existence of a certain fields, whose quanta are point-like particles, divided first in two categories : matter and force particles.

Matter particles

Those fundamental particles are fermionic, which implies one can fill a box with them until none can be added (as long as the box is strong enough to resist electric repulsion for instance). Fermi-Dirac statistics is a deep phenomenon, linked to the intrinsic angular momentum called spin : fundamental fermions are spin [tex]1/2[/tex] (spinor) particles, and it implies that after a rotation of [tex]2\pi[/tex], their wavefunction changes sign !. This is not a real problem, since only the (hermitean) square of the wavefunction is observable, that is the probability density. Notice also that after [tex]4\pi[/tex] the double sign reverses cancel, and there are deep reasons why [tex]4\pi[/tex] rotations are always equivalent to no rotation. Let us first stare at a list of them :

First family
Second family
Third family
  1. electron [tex]e^-[/tex]​
    muon [tex]\mu^-[/tex]​
    tau [tex]\tau^-[/tex]​
  2. electronic neutrino [tex]\nu_{e}[/tex]​
    muonic neutrino [tex]\nu_{\mu}[/tex]​
    tauonic neutrino [tex]\nu_{\tau}[/tex]
  3. up quark [tex]u[/tex]​
    charm quark [tex]c[/tex]​
    top quark [tex]t[/tex]​
  4. down quark [tex]d[/tex]​
    strange quark [tex]s[/tex]​
    bottom (beauty) quark [tex]b[/tex]​

Botanistic classification : 1 and 2 are leptons, while 3 and 4 are hadrons. Leptons do not feel the strong force (on which more latter). Etymology : "hadron" comes from a greek word sounding like "hadros" and meaning "strong, robust, bulky, thick, or stout", and "lepton" from "leptos" : "fine, thin, slender, small". To this list you could add anti-particles, or consider they are ordinary particles travelling backwards in time. Anti-particles have opposite charges except mass and spin, are denoted by an upper bar on the particle symbol, and sometimes have a special name, such as the positron [tex]\bar{e}^+[/tex]. Each of those might have a supersymetric bosonic partner (supersymetry relates bosons and fermions) but this is not part of the standard model. Although supersymetry has shown relevance in nuclei, it has not been observed for fundamental particles. Some basic facts :
  1. Carry minus one unit of electrical charge : [tex]-e[/tex].
  2. Zero electric charge, and at most a very small mass (zero in the standard model)
  3. [tex]+2/3 e[/tex], and color charge (red, blue or green) which is "hidden" : free particles are "white", or more accurately "invariant under color rotations".
  4. [tex]-2/3 e[/tex]. Also colored. It is difficult to define mass for 3 and 4 guys because they are never free, especially difficult for the lightest, first family members.

The quarks are "contained in a white bag", either they pair in mesons (quark/antiquark bound state) or in baryons (three quarks bound states). Recent proposal of "pentaquarks" seem nowadays unlikely : only intermediate energy have published low statistics evidences, high energy experiments lead to negative results. Confirmation or rejection of this hypothesis will be available soon, when the analyzing process of data from dedicated experiments will be over.

Force particles

There are 12 bosonic fundamental particles with spin 1 (vector) in the standard model, plus one additional not yet confirmed and spin zero (scalar) particle. They are beautifully unified by a so-called gauge model, formulated entirely in terms of symmetries. One would contemplate a [tex]U(1)\otimes SU(2)\otimes SU(3)[/tex] gauge group. Let us emphasized here that gauge symmetry is not a real symmetry, but rather a very elegant mean to deal with constrained systems
  • The photon is the quantum of light, it is usually denoted [tex]\gamma[/tex] and carries the electromagnetic interaction. It is massless, and this fact is related to the [tex]U(1)[/tex] Quantum ElectroDynamic (QED) part of the standard gauge group which is not broken. Broken symmetries occur when the laws have a certain symmetry, but the ground state (vacuum) does not. So all the tower of states constructed form the vacuum do not exhibit this symmetry.
  • The 3 massive vector bosons [tex]W^+[/tex], [tex]W^-[/tex] and [tex]Z^0[/tex] are responsible for the weak interaction. This is for instance what causes [tex]\beta[/tex] decay of the proton into a neutron, at the quark level : [tex]d\rightarrow u + e^- + \bar{\nu}_e[/tex]. There are also so-called "neutral currents" with the [tex]Z^0[/tex] able to go from one family to another. The gauge part is [tex]SU(2)[/tex], but this symmetry is spontaneously broken, giving mass to the vector bosons by the so-called Higgs mechanism. The weak interaction is very peculiar, in that is does not respect some basic symmetries of Nature the other interactions seem to : especially [tex]P[/tex] symmetry, the parity which consists in "taking the mirror image", is maximally broken : the [tex]\nu[/tex] (if massless) is always left handed, while the [tex]\bar{\nu}[/tex] (if massless) is always right handed. So physicists first hoped [tex]CP[/tex] would not be broken, with addition of the exchange particle-antiparticle exchange [tex]C[/tex]. It appears not to be the case, but then it is only slightly broken, such as in the decay modes of the some mesons. Today, we strongly believe that by adding time reversal, the all-important [tex]CPT[/tex] symmetry is the fundamental for the theory. The spin-statistics theorem relies on this symmetry.
  • The 8 massless gluons, with gauge group the color [tex]SU(3)[/tex]. Gluons are also peculiar in that themselves carry color charge : a red gluon turn blue by emitting a red/antiblue gluon absorbed by a blue quark turning red for instance. This fact makes gluons interact with each other. There are three gluons and four gluons vertices in the standard model. The non-linearity makes the equation hopelessly unsolvable until now. Also, this is likely the cause of confinement, the property that color is always hidden in color-invariant bound states. Another striking feature is asymptotic freedom, the fact that at very low distances, or alternatively at high energy, quarks look like free particles.

The Glashow-Weinberg-Salam model has already unified the first two in the so-called electroweak unification [tex]U(1)\otimes SU(2)=U(2)[/tex]. This leads us to the Higgs mechanism : for each broken symmetry, a massless Goldstone boson appears. The Higgs mechanism permits this degree of freedom to be "eaten" by the massless gauge boson thus acquiring mass. We can even refine the model to make all fundamental particles massless acquiring mass by interaction with the Higgs scalar boson. This particle should soon be discovered at the LHC facility (Geneva)


Additional informations :

A good source of general information is wikipedia

Another specifically on physics, somewhat at lower level but good illustrations is hyperphysics

The http://particleadventure.org/particleadventure/ is the source of the link provided by Marlon, and this link leads to the gateway to it, a very friendly introduction.

The http://public.web.cern.ch/Public/Content/Chapters/AboutCERN/WhyStudyPrtcles/WhyStudyPrtcles-en.html [Broken] is the main European research center.

Of course, the Particle Data Group has a reference site with all particles informations, and more, quite up-to-date and reliable,
The less technical particle adventure is also from the PDG.

http://laser.physics.sunysb.edu/~wise/wise187/janfeb2001/weblinks/physics_words.html [Broken]
I hope that helped.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #15
29
0
Thank you for taking the time to respond and locate data... this may be helpful to me. Now... based on all of this, there's a few things I need to understand a little bit better.

You say:
"Okay, firstly we observe the elementary particles in accelerators as point particles, dimensionless without internal structures."

How do you observe the elementary particles if they are dimensionless without internal structures? Isn't it by assumption through the effect/impact of something else?

You say: "We say their elementary because we're naive, essentially."

How can anyone say that, and just paste me a big block of data that stems from this? To me, this kind methodology seems to be the exact moment the scientific method becomes un-scientific. Where else is it scientifically acceptable to be naive and build data around it? Nowhere as far as I am aware... (I am genuinely curious, please understand)...

The data is extremely well thought out, but when it stems from naivety doesn't that make it purely philosophical? No matter how logical it is.

As Drakkith said:
"So saying that something should be taken as possible or true just because it's logical to you is just wrong."
 
  • #16
901
2
I said naive because we haven't experienced the full depth of the energy levels. It doesn't mean the theory is wrong but just emergent or an effective field theory. We observe them through detectors and by their intrinsic properties such as spin, charge, mass et cetera. Also as stated above, the particles have mass, but doesn't require them to have internal structure. If you collide two things the mass is transformed into energy through Einstein's Mass-Energy Equivalence [tex]E = mc^2[/tex]. A famous example of this is an annihilation process in which [tex]e^+ + e^- \rightarrow \gamma[/tex] following this [tex]\gamma \rightarrow e^+ + e^-[/tex]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Electron-positron-annihilation.svg (Time flows up, space flows right).
 
Last edited:
  • #17
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
As Kevin said, we say they are elementary because of the observations in accelerators and such. This isn't being naive, this is working with the data you have. I doubt anyone would argue that an electron is unquestionably elementary and there's no possible way it could be made up of smaller objects. Instead they would say that all of the available evidence points to it being elementary. If the LHC discovers something next week that makes us doubt that, then we will have a reason to say that we don't think an electron is elementary. Until then, until we have a reason to think otherwise, we will say that it is an elementary particle.
 
  • #18
29
0
As Kevin said, we say they are elementary because of the observations in accelerators and such. This isn't being naive, this is working with the data you have. I doubt anyone would argue that an electron is unquestionably elementary and there's no possible way it could be made up of smaller objects. Instead they would say that all of the available evidence points to it being elementary. If the LHC discovers something next week that makes us doubt that, then we will have a reason to say that we don't think an electron is elementary. Until then, until we have a reason to think otherwise, we will say that it is an elementary particle.
That's not being objective anymore, that's being biased. To be objective would be to be open to the possibility that it isn't elementary, and showing the LOGICAL theories built around that too.

Do you not see that when I repeatedly use the word LOGICAL, I'm quickly told:

"The observed ways the universe works hasn't always been "logical" to us."

As if that is reason enough to ignore logic. When CLEARLY, you are not going to accept any DATA that is not logical! So why ignore LOGIC?

Having both sides of the story and building even perhaps even a third set of theories around that.

Do you not see this?

"If the LHC discovers something next week that makes us doubt that, then we will have a reason to say that we don't think an electron is elementary."

Except you're completely assuming that the LHC has the answer to that question right there.

Immediately after:
Until then, until we have a reason to think otherwise, we will say that it is an elementary particle."

This is totally a biased action based on assumption. Where is the evidence of ANYTHING being elementary in the way it is defined? If there was evidence of something being elementary as it is defined, then I could understand why we would aim our focus in that direction. That's just like saying: "It doesn't get any smaller than that because we've never seen smaller... but we HAVE seen what we once thought was the smallest, get smaller..."

So instead of looking at all the evidence which suggests pretty blatantly to anyone with 5 senses, there never has been anything physical that can not be broken down into components or pieces... we assume that just because we haven't seen it before, that is the limit until some outside force/influence MAKES us think otherwise.

How is this an attempt to learn and acquire accurate data openly and objectively, and not a highly sophisticated belief system that REQUIRES someone to come along and slap you in the face (as someone said it felt like to them here) to gain accuracy?.... Maybe that is why it could feel like a slap in the face when someone starts asking questions using logic that challenges the clearly enforced line of thinking.

This enforcement clearly isn't desired or INTENDED.. I still can not believe how unconscious it seems to be... because there are of course scientific EXPERIMENTS (doing things that ignore the established belief system in a LOGICAL fashion that haven't been done before to see what happens) which often leads to new discoveries. When experimentation doesn't do it, discoveries are often accidental!

So why is it such a slap in the face when I am asking questions FOR MYSELF, about how what is being taught and said makes any logical sense? It's not like I'm saying YOU'RE WRONG! And I'm not even saying what is established isn't right! I'm just asking how are we not claiming to be objective, while simultaneously being biased?

Please... the evidence that anything is elementary as defined besides the fact that you've never seen it before! Anyone??? This to me seems obviously a much gentler way of saying:

"Fairies exist! We have absolutely no physical evidence of it, just evidence of what these fairies DO to the physical based on unnatural events _WE_ -FORCE- to occur! So this fairy exists! Now if you don't think along this way, you're not being scientific! Take your philosophy elsewhere!"

But when religions do it, so many people look the other way because they are dealing with the non-physical fairies only, while other people only want to deal with the physical...

Please... please please please.... I am begging you, if you have the science or logic that says what I am saying is inaccurate, just tell me it! My words are not scientific jargon, I am sorry, I know that is easier for many to understand... but they are no less logical.

And I am not here to teach anyone anything or fill anyones head with any kind of data! Please do not feel a slap in the face! I'm trying to make sense of this for myself. There is no place else I know of to go for this but a forum! A textbook can not THINK or talk back or even PERFORM SCIENCE! You can! And I want to get this from the people who LOVE PHYSICS the most, whether it's their job or it isn't because they are typically in my opinion the most intelligent about it!

So here I am! I accept what makes sense, and pause until it does. I don't just take a leap of faith like that, and science is the alternative to that--- I thought. I KNOW it has already been very well thought out... but not by me... and if this isn't the place to ask questions about physics... well... I don't know. Now I'm a little paranoid because someone suggested that this thread might get deleted since I wasn't speaking the language.
 
  • #19
fzero
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,119
289
That's not being objective anymore, that's being biased. To be objective would be to be open to the possibility that it isn't elementary, and showing the LOGICAL theories built around that too.
...

"If the LHC discovers something next week that makes us doubt that, then we will have a reason to say that we don't think an electron is elementary."

Except you're completely assuming that the LHC has the answer to that question right there.

Immediately after:
Until then, until we have a reason to think otherwise, we will say that it is an elementary particle."

This is totally a biased action based on assumption. Where is the evidence of ANYTHING being elementary in the way it is defined?
The part of the scientific method that you're missing is that until you have evidence to the contrary, you try to fit the data that you have available. The Standard Model is an excellent description of 99% of observed physics. This in fact hasn't stopped people from exploring the possibility that there is physics beyond the Standard Model, and some of that work has in fact involved the idea that there is another layer beyond what we consider elementary particles. One class of such models are called preon theories http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preon String theory can be considered another. By no means has the possibility that quarks and leptons are not elementary been neglected.
 
  • #20
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,105
4,934
We ARE telling you why. You just aren't listening. There's a difference (sometimes subtle) between me saying that nothing is elementary and saying that as far as we know it is elementary, but it might turn out not to be.
 
  • #21
29
0
Thank you all for your patience… and believe it or not, I am listening and devote thorough time to investigating and responding to it :)

The part of the scientific method that you're missing is that until you have evidence to the contrary, you try to fit the data that you have available. The Standard Model is an excellent description of 99% of observed physics. This in fact hasn't stopped people from exploring the possibility that there is physics beyond the Standard Model, and some of that work has in fact involved the idea that there is another layer beyond what we consider elementary particles. One class of such models are called preon theories http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preon String theory can be considered another. By no means has the possibility that quarks and leptons are not elementary been neglected.
What you're telling me is exactly what I'm witnessing HERE. I believe it.

"until you have evidence to the contrary, you try to fit the data that you have available."

EXCEPT, what ends up actually happening is when someone looks in a different direction their approach isn't 'scientific'... it's philosophical... or sometimes mislabeled as 'quackery'... as if it is somehow less important or useful… even though the scientific approach stems from empiricism which stems from philosophical thinking. See even right there, there's like these walls that seemingly get put up when I start discussing this… I don't understand ? These thoughts are not in violation of scientific thinking, really. This is the heart of it... but we are just like foreigners trying to speak one another's language…

This is still what I do not understand, even though you are telling me you're explaining it to me… (sorry):
_______________________
Do we have any physical evidence of something indestructible? I think no… besides the abstract definition of 'energy' itself.

Do we have evidence to the contrary that particles will continue to get smaller and smaller the more we apply the appropriate energies to break them apart... infinitely? History shows us, repeatedly no.
_______________________

I am in full agreement with working with the data you have. I am saying to do the same thing, but there is more data that isn't being analyzed or processed as evidence because it is hardly addressed for -some- reason... and it's a biased reason. It isn't allowed into the theory because everyone is uncomfortable about explaining it, because they can't. So why just ignore it because it can't be explained? We can't explain where the higgs boson particle is, or even if it really exists before we might create it...

So why is the indestructible idea given more attention to ... than infinity, which has at least SOME obvious evidence within the perception of EVERYONE? We could maybe even call infinity indestructible! No matter how far or close we look, we can always look farther or closer! It's like trying to run and swim or fly to the edge of the FLAT EARTH. Guess what happens, you run and swim or fly infinitely around in circles till you die because the world is round. Why do we call them fundamental particles, as opposed to saying... "We might be able to create infinite particles!" ... That is true! We might… but where is infinity in science?


I find 'nasty infinity'… and renormalization… but no infinity that anyone is really looking towards. Why do we turn our backs to this? Why is NO evidence, more qualified as evidence to build theory on, than observational evidence by ANYONE?

maybe my question is better... said, why do we completely ignore infinity instead of considering the alternative? There are all kinds of avenues that aren't being considered, just because evidence isn't dangling a carrot in front of our faces. Maybe evidence hasn't caused you to ask the questions I am... so maybe I sound a bit 'outside the box' and therefore seemingly 'not scientific'... but this is logic, and every bit of science that you've ever accepted IS LOGICAL in one way or another... whether it was once illogical and became logical, or whether you develop theories that make use of logic so you can accept it as a belief.

Why do we not consider literally every-physical-thing we've ever witnessed to be EVIDENCE, supporting the idea that as we keep looking for particles by breaking them apart, we'll keep 'creating' new ones. How can you ignore EVERYTHING in that respect? That seems to be a lot more evidence than NO evidence, that there is something beyond a supposed 'fundamental' or 'elementary' particle which we define and operate in the direction of until someone proves otherwise.

Why is INFINITY, not investigated ? we have "renormalizaton" to make infinity manageable... but it makes it no longer infinity… so w e could never possibly understand it using those methods! This is logic! If infinity exists, you can't 'renormalize' it... because no matter how long the digits go every digit is equally important! Infinity minus even 1 is no longer infinity. If infinity is what we have or at least will always PERCEIVE... we will never understand it through renormalization or by blasting particles apart… the only way that could happen, is by recognizing a PATTERN, which is what infinity must be. Similar to like a fractal or true hologram. And it wouldn't surprise me if these particles were forming some kind of pattern, which will make what I'm saying make more sense to whoever still doesn't see my point…

There is more evidence of bounded infinity than there is of the finite. We can use our best telescopes to look out but we haven't found the 'edge' of the universe, and we can zoom in as far as we like and we haven't found the edge of the universe... maybe it's because of the geometry? We made the same mistake with planet earth once before. If we look out to the universe we find floating spheres spiraling, some with rings that go around and around… if you zoom in, you find little spheres spiraling some with rings and spheres orbiting etc. The galaxies are spirals within spirals. We can't even SEE most of them, but all the pictures of everything I've seen scientists have developed end up looking like a bunch of spheres all blotched together doing a spiral of some sort or another. Zoomed out, or zoomed in. I think that's pretty incredible. DNA, Molecules, Cells, Atoms, protons, etc etc… Is that just a universally applied 'coincidence' then ? All of which are spiraling/spinning. Why is this pattern ignored when it's so abundant throughout the ENTIRE UNIVERSE? Pi is perceptually infinite too… it also describes circles mathematically. Why are we so focused on 'the dot!' … and not the motion that drives it? (reminds me of what I see many religions doing) We can see plenty of dots already… there is enough evidence right ? Maybe we will find mass and the other mysteries through pattern recognition instead of particle sniping.

I'm not saying STOP TRYING to find particles or to tell anyone what to do… I'm sure something beneficial will come of that eventually… but I'm saying, at least while we're trying, why do we not investigate the alternatives a bit too? People are doing it, but they aren't getting much attention because it doesn't conform to the traditional thinking. I don't see any science books on infinity… Why do we shove this off as philosophical… I can show you perceptual infinity on a calculator, in the stars or in the particles... fractals… bounded infinity… even in math. Geometry that can represent and demonstrate infinity. You might even have an infinite possibility of thoughts you CAN think... bounded in your head. Everywhere you look there is EVIDENCE of it's potential and/or possibility. But somehow, that is not evidence that qualifies as something scientists will even take time to analyze... because it's not following the enforced way of thinking.

And all the evidence that we DON'T HAVE of particles beyond what we cant see…… that's how we're aimed. To say that just because we haven't seen smaller than a quark (or whatever)…. THAT's elementary/fixed/finite… as opposed to infinitely smaller in potential.

That's not using evidence as evidence, that's using NO evidence as evidence. Why not allow infinity to exist? why renormalize it? why kill the dot?

Now I know this biased point of view is not really ENFORCED, because who can force anyone to think or believe anything? It's peer pressure/influence that does it, not a force. For example students who speak up against what the teachers say because it's illogical, are told to just sit back in their seats and read chapter 8. 'The answer is in there I don't have time to explain it in my own words… just educate yourself like I did, or you're not worth my time'… People like me who start questioning and pointing out fallacies in logic that have been widely adapted to, are told they're not listening or to speak the language otherwise their thoughts aren't worth anything. But please understand the language is not for me, whenever I start to learn the language I find obvious logical fallacies and end up seeing little hope for people… and I never hear anyone else speaking up or mentioning them because the language doesn't address it. Why would I want to learn a language that is doing that? Don't get me wrong… I REALLY want to understand, but in my own way… learning the language is not worth it to either of us. If discoveries often happen accidentally then you need weirdos like me to have the kind of accidents you won't ever think to put yourself in the position to have :)

Please understand that, and I really appreciate everyone's patience, knowledge and understanding. I have had a few other questions answered by what you've presented to me, so thank you all for your continued or not input. :)


_______________
EDIT-
"In quantum mechanics, the particle in a box model (also known as the infinite potential well or the infinite square well) describes a particle free to move in a small space surrounded by impenetrable barriers"

IMPENETRABLE barriers? That is an infinitely strong barrier. Infinity again. It's all over the place and no one is looking at it or talking about it… why? I do not understand this. also why do we insist on putting things in boxes? It seems like people just doesn't want to believe in 'infinity'. How else can it be so ignored and present at the same time ?
 
Last edited:
  • #22
2,193
2
Uh... where is this going?
It seems as if the OP is pushing a personal agenda.
 
  • #23
901
2
That's exactly why I said "let's keep it scientific". By the way it may have been helpful if you added a "too long didn't read" section in which you summarize your ideas because not a lot of people want to read an essay.
 
  • #24
29
0
Uh... where is this going?
It seems as if the OP is pushing a personal agenda.
Hi pallidin.

It's a matter of me personally understanding something. I've said it multiple times I'm not trying to push anything on anyone I'm looking for answers. I have written a lot to read I know... I'm not upset with you for not reading it or even addressing -anything- I've asked... or even me... but speaking about me. This dot... look at my properties! Not what I'm doing! Does it sound like I have a personal agenda? I just am repeating myself in many different ways so I might be understood.

If you don't want to read it and understand me fully... maybe you can just answer me in short:

"Why is the concept/idea of infinity being ignored?"


This wasn't my original question but it has come to this. I think an answer to this will shut me up if you don't like what I'm thinking about. Sorry. Should I start a new thread?

Thanks for your input. :P
 
  • #25
29
0
That's exactly why I said "let's keep it scientific". By the way it may have been helpful if you added a "too long didn't read" section in which you summarize your ideas because not a lot of people want to read an essay.
I'm not (and do not have the power to require) requiring that anyone reads this. If someone doesn't care about helping me then they are free to not contribute? I don't see what's so difficult or even unnatural about that. I won't take offense if no one responds to me instead of telling me I'm not being scientific or have a personal agenda... okay. I don't want to bother anyone. Is there a more friendly physics forum I can go to? Where someone will be a little more open to understanding the context of the questions?

Personally, if I am reading through a forum and I see a topic I don't care about, I won't post anything in it. It seems like someone who does that would be someone who has an agenda of some kind. Is that disagreeable?

So why should I be required to adjust my communication style for someone like that?

But now we're not talking about the physics and logic behind it like I want to... can we stay on track?


Thanks.
 

Related Threads on The Logic of Elementary Particles

  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
852
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
926
Replies
7
Views
4K
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
0
Views
2K
Replies
5
Views
762
Top