Why Does Matter Want Lowest Potential Energy?

  • Thread starter petmar
  • Start date
In summary: The cause is the laws of physics, and the effect is that matter tries to occupy the lowest energy state.
  • #1
petmar
27
0
i know that all matter "wants" to go to least potential energy state. the big question is WHY?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
its the laws of physics, i think its the 2nd law of thermodynamics to be specific. there is no 'why?', it just is.

its like asking 'why do opposite charges attract each other?'. they just do, there is no 'why?'.

i think you can use the anthropic principle here. if matter didn't try to occupy the lowest energy state, our universe would not be the way it is and we would not be here to ask the question.
 
  • #3
I don't completely agree, Fuego.

There must be a reason, we just don't know it. I think we should question everything. We may never be able to determine why, but if we don't even ask the question, then I know we won't answer it.
 
  • #4
to know why would be to 'know the mind of god' as stephen hawking puts it.
 
  • #5
This isn't science, it's philosophy. Every hypothesis posted here will be an irrefutable hypothesis. Science can do nothing with those.

- Warren
 
  • #6
The following is a description of the scientific method. Please pay particular attention to number 2.

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

It don't get much more scientific then that.
 
  • #7
I see you do not understand what an irrefutable hypothesis is.

- Warren
 
  • #8
It must first be posed.
 
  • #9
Uh yeah... right... I think I'll let myself out of this train wreck of a thread. You morons have fun.

*door slams*

- Warren
 
  • #10
My point isn't to say that we will ever find the reason why for everytime we ask it, but it is how science works.

We wonder why, we come up with a possible reason and then we set out to prove it or at least mathmatically state it.

Without asking "why" we do not have theories or experimentation. Without those we do not have science.
 
  • #11
Originally posted by chroot
Uh yeah... right... I think I'll let myself out of this train wreck of a thread. You morons have fun.

*door slams*

- Warren

Well, I guess the King has left the building.
 
  • #12
i wonder if the door hit him on the way out...

lol
anyways, i was thinking that it might be due to the fact that space is essentially either flat, or of a set curvature, and since energy would distort that curvature, an elastic principle wants all points to go to the least possible energy state... just putting this one out there for the heck of it.

remember: this is a crackpot-less thread. no idea is too crazy.

(take that, chroot! )
 
  • #13
it might be due to the fact that space is essentially either flat, or of a set curvature, and since energy would distort that curvature, an elastic principle wants all points to go to the least possible energy state

that sounds like circular reasoning to me. any elastic principle already depends on the fact that matter tries to occupy lowest energy states.
 
  • #14
true enough...

i wonder, then, which is the cause, and which is the effect, of the elastic principle and the lowest energy state.
 

1. Why does matter want to be in a state of lowest potential energy?

Matter is made up of atoms, which are constantly moving and interacting with each other. In order to minimize their energy, atoms will arrange themselves in a way that allows them to have the least amount of potential energy. This is known as the principle of minimum potential energy and is a fundamental principle in physics.

2. How does matter achieve a state of lowest potential energy?

Matter can achieve a state of lowest potential energy through various physical processes, such as diffusion, crystallization, and phase transitions. During these processes, atoms will rearrange themselves to achieve a more stable and low-energy state.

3. What happens if matter is not in a state of lowest potential energy?

If matter is not in a state of lowest potential energy, it will continue to undergo physical processes in order to reach a more stable state. For example, if there is an imbalance of energy in a system, it will tend to even out through various energy transfer mechanisms until a state of minimum potential energy is achieved.

4. Can matter exist in a state of lowest potential energy indefinitely?

No, matter cannot exist in a state of lowest potential energy indefinitely. This is because matter is constantly interacting with its surroundings and exchanging energy. In addition, the universe is constantly changing and evolving, which can disrupt a state of minimum potential energy.

5. What implications does the principle of minimum potential energy have in our daily lives?

The principle of minimum potential energy has many applications in our daily lives, such as in the fields of engineering, chemistry, and biology. It helps us understand the behavior and properties of matter and allows us to design and create more efficient and stable systems. For example, the structure of buildings and bridges is designed to minimize their potential energy and withstand external forces.

Similar threads

Replies
10
Views
734
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
13
Views
3K
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
6
Views
5K
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
1
Views
12K
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
3
Views
318
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
2
Views
639
Back
Top