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What is real? Matter?

  1. Feb 11, 2009 #1
    I read this on Wikipedia:

    Basically, much of the mass of hadrons is the interaction energy of bound quarks. Thus, most of what composes the "mass" of ordinary matter is interquark interaction energy.......In a hadron most of the mass comes from the gluons......While gluons are inherently massless, they possess energy, and it is this energy that contributes so greatly to the overall mass of the hadron.

    Now, I am no scientist, but could someone practice their writing skills as they teach me what in the heck is real then??? If everything just boils down to energy, then seriously, what makes everything any different then freakin' ghosts?! Organization of forces?

    Does this issue have anything to do with anti-matter? Or dark energy?

    Sorry if this is such a common question....
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2009 #2
    Hi ho silver,

    Asking what is real is in the realm of philosophers and the religiously convinced. I guess the scientific position is that if something is repeatably measurable by different people then it is a real phenomenon. Just because it's real doesn't mean we can explain it though.

    As for ghosts they seem to be a phenomenon that's pretty hard to pin down :smile:

    Now if you feel energy is unreal and only mass is real, do you think you'll be quite safe continuing your golf round in a thunderstorm? Probably not I guess. Mass and energy are two faces of the same coin. Our existence depends on both sides of the coin. On Earth most of what we consider to be solid matter is largely empty space anyway. You have to look at a neutron star to see something which is pretty much solid all the way through. And even then....

    You are right about the principle of organisation by forces. The atoms, molecules, biological structures we are familiar are structured in various ways via the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces. This is part of what is called the Standard Model.

    Anti-matter is just like matter but has opposite electrical charge (e.g. electron/positron).
    Dark energy is an as yet unproven theoretical explanation for the observed accelerating expansion of the universe.

    Do you have any atoms of iron in your body? They originated in the core of a star. Any copper or zinc atoms? They were born in a supernova explosion. We are stardust.

    In one of Woody Allen's movies, he's completely freaked out by the fact that the Universe is expanding. "Never mind" his mother tells him "Brooklyn's not expanding". His mother's reply is perfectly accurate by the way as you can read on the Cosmology thread.

    There, I've practised my writing skills; it may not have shed much light but at least I hope I've communicated the point that in science we should be very humble about our state of ignorance and rather respectful of the people who do manage to shed a bit more light into our darkness. That and the fact that we are part of this amazing universe and we have a right to be here.
  4. Feb 13, 2009 #3
    Actually I learn that mass is just a form of energy. Field is another form of energy.

    We have to open our mind so that we can always accept new ideas
  5. Feb 18, 2009 #4
    So, everything we interact with.... there is no touchable, seeable substance? It's all just forces that we must detect using machines?

    Why is it that we differentiate between mass and energy, if mass IS energy?

    Have we ever "observed" dark energy with our 5 senses, or is it the type of thing that only math can reveal?

    After learning some of this, there seems to be nothing to keep me from believing that energy is just God. God just crashed some of His energy together to make our universe. And the rest of God's energy resides in the "background" of our universe, like in another dimension, but the same position.

    What if "spiritual" things are simply energies in other dimensions.... certainly scientists can figure this stuff out!!!! Isn't there an increase in energy when it is believed that spirits inhabit a certain place?

    I know I am crazy! But this is fun to think about.
  6. Feb 21, 2009 #5
    U know what is amuzing. Socrates rejected the idea of atoms, ie hard balls that the universe is made of. Today one is taught that the most correct describtion of things is to say that its built out of atoms. But when trying to figure out what atoms are made of things get messy. I'm not an expert but I know this much ( I think, correct me if I'm wrong), an electron is a pointlike charge, i e it has no extension in space. So maybe Socrates was the true master in understanding the universe and not that other guy, democritos of something.
  7. Feb 23, 2009 #6
  8. Feb 28, 2009 #7
    You actually might be working religion into this thread.... I am just talking about the idea of A god, not any one particular God. I am presenting physics questions here, and asking some bigger questions along with them. If I am out of line on this site, then let me know and I will stop.
  9. Mar 12, 2009 #8
    Hi, just to preface my answer, this is my first post, and im only 14 (about to start GCSE science), so this is mainly my own cobbled together views on science, and probably horribly werong, BUT...

    no one here has mentioned (unless my scan-reading is worse than i thought) the most blindingly obvious answer to this question, E = mc2, which shows energy in in terms of mass, and so when you say that everything is "all just energy", it means that everything is equivalent mass, which is like saying "everything is transparent, and so it is not there". energy may not have mass, but it can be converted into a small ammount of mass, so instead of seeing the whole universe as nothingness, maybr it would be helpful to see the whole universe as having to potential to be something!
  10. Mar 13, 2009 #9
    I don't see how which god you choose could make it more or less religion.

    When you use your senses energy is what you sense. Light is energy. Sound is energy. Matter, that you can feel is energy. What you smell and taste is a result of how molecules in your cells respond to the molecules in the air or in the food. It's all about energy. There is nothing mysterious about it. And it can all be measured and thus be explained as natural fenomenens.

    Ghosts, gods, whichcraft, mysterious energies and things like that are supernatural explanations and thus not natural explanations and thus not science.
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