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What does a particle consist of? I ask this because I do not fully

  1. Aug 3, 2011 #1
    What does a particle consist of? I ask this because I do not fully understand what exactly a particle is and by that I mean I do not really know what mass consists of.

    In high school for simplicity we were taught to think of various particles (electrons, protons etc) as solid objects of course they are not since a solid is a state of matter which is described by energy levels and arrangements of multiple atoms. Consequently I visualise particles consisting of a matter wave of energy contained in a localised matter field so small oscillations of the mass would be very difficult to detect. As a result everything in the universe (even time and space) could be described in terms of various types of waves (of energy) contained in various types of force fields and interactions between these waves and fields. Therefore a vacuum could be described as the absence of mass fields and consequently mass waves, while a gravitational field still exists in this space. Absolutely nothing would consist of no fields and waves (although through some major misconception of the infinity concept it can be proven that infinity is a subset of zero and zero is a subset of infinity, i.e. everything is nothing and nothing is everything although nothing cannot exist (and then I just get to many bizarre theories including one which involves this universe being created in order to be studied without intervention so that the meaning of life could be determined by some other intelligent life forms and of course their universe was created to be studied and so on through to infinity, it could also suggest nothing matters and at the same time everything matters and...)).

    Through E=mc^2 we know energy and mass are equivalent so would it be that much of a step to say mass consists of energy?

    Of course the units of mass and energy differ, but units are a mere tool to help us describe this universe, which we have barely scratched the surface of. The difference in energy released from nuclear reactions could possibly be described by the energy transformations involved in realising the mass energy or by allowing a portion of a matter wave to escape from the matter field. If everything consists of fields and waves of energy (as I mentioned earlier including time and space) then units will be fairly universal or dependent on the type of force field which allows the transmission of certain waves of energy.

    There is also the issue of the “particle” like properties of electromagnetic waves. This could be a result of the interactions between mass fields and E.M fields only allowing certain energy transfers to take place.

    Another issue with this theory along with all theories, even with the absence of “mass” from the equation; exactly what energy, force fields and hence the universe is will still be unexplained.

    I should also point out that I no doubt have many misconceptions about the nature of matter, particles and waves and consequently there is a lot I may not understand about them. Please bear in mind that I am a first year engineering student and so I do not possess an understanding of the atomic realm beyond that covered in high school.

    Could you please explain to me what matter is?

    P.S Apologies for my incoherent argument and the lack of mathematical proofs; due to my poor background in the area and also due to the motivation, amount of time and timing of this I will only be able to provide a philosophical overview of my idea.

  2. jcsd
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