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Fundamental Stuff And Their Properties - by John Prytz

The Fundamentals

 

What Are The Fundamentals Composed Of? Youaren't a fundamental anything since you are composed of lots and lots and lots(add lots more lots) of things with structure and substance that are inthemselves not fundamental. Take just as an example your urine. That alonecontains roughly 500 different chemicals from the relatively simple to theexceedingly complex, like urea. Take two simple ones: water and table salt.These aren't fundamental since they can be broken down into hydrogen andoxygen; chlorine and sodium respectively. But these elements aren't fundamentalsince the particles in the nucleus of each can be broken down into differentkinds of quarks. Surrounding the nucleus are the electrons, which are alsofundamental. Fundamental means here that that's the end of the line. You can'tbreak down electrons and quarks (and some other things too) into anythingsimpler. So...

 

What are the fundamentals composed of? Forexample...

 

What are photons composed of? Photon-ness?

 

What are electrons composed of?Electron-ness?

 

What are quarks composed of? Quark-ness?

 

What are gravitons composed of?Graviton-ness?

 

What are neutrinos composed of?Neutrino-ness?

 

What are muons composed of? Muon-ness?

 

What are positrons composed of?Positron-ness?

 

What is, for that matter, space composedof? Space-ness?

 

Are there really lots and lots of separateand apart fundamental nesses or just variations on one theme - a bits and bytestheme perhaps? Perhaps an electron is software coded as 1011 but its antimattercounterpart, the positron is an 1101. Variations on the quark theme might be1010 for an up-quark and 0101 for a down-quark. The photon could be 0000 andthe graviton 1111, and so it goes. By implicating software, I am of courseinvoking the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe scenario, otherwise known asthe Simulation Hypothesis. That is, we’re all just virtual beings existing in acomputer simulated landscape.

 

Or perhaps it's string theory to therescue? But doesn't string theory just beg the question for what arefundamental strings composed of - string-ness? Okay, maybe you've simplifiedthings by reducing many multiple fundamental substances (nesses) down to oneness (string-ness), but now one has to explain how all those vibration rates -replacing the myriad fundamental substances like photon-ness - are transposedinto the myriad properties we associate with the fundamentals - spin, charge,mass, etc. Aren't you just replacing one fundamental mystery with another? Isreplacing many fundamental nesses with many fundamental string vibrations anyreal explanatory improvement?

 

Moreabout the Fundamentals

 

Here are a fewmore thoughts regarding fundamental stuff and their properties based on anelectronic chin-wag debate I had with “John Smith” – not his real name.

 

You know just saying that something isfundamental explains very little. Now a photon as per above is fundamental. Agraviton too is fundamental (and if you don't care for the yet to be confirmedgraviton then substitute a neutrino). Now explain the differences between thesetwo fundamentals, since there are fundamental differences between them, usingone fundamental brand of fundamental something.

 

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Everything that is a something is composedof something, even a fundamental something. It's just a fundamental somethingis composed of 'just one thing'.

 

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Neutrinos are composed of neutrino-ness.Neutrino-ness is a different something to electron-ness and different yet againto up-quark-ness. So apparently you have lots and lots of separate and apartfundamental somethings.

 

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Though a photon is fundamental and an electron isfundamental, I assume that an electron that has absorbed a photon isn'tfundamental. 

 

Photon-Ness

 

For lack of a better word, a fundamentalphoton is composed of 'photon-ness', but it is clearly composed of something,and that something is classified as a fundamental particle and is part of thestandard model of particle physics.

 

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What is a photon composed of? Photon-ness!Of course a photon is made of photon-ness. It certainly isn't made fromelectron-ness otherwise it would be an electron. A photon and an electron,albeit both fundamental, have to be composed of different fundamental stuff.Otherwise you couldn't distinguish between the two. So there is no such thingas one and only one bedrock fundamental constituent that builds up to life, theUniverse and everything. This is what is known in the trade as logic! This issomething that must be bleedingly obvious even to Blind Freddy.

 

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Okay, the word "photon-ness"isn't in any scientific dictionary and I invented it. Does anyone have a betterword in mind? But sure as Mother Nature made little green apples, photons are asomething and it surely isn't electron-ness! Particles are physical objects andare composed of something, even though that something is 'just one thing'. Andyes, that's where the composition stops - at that 'just one thing'. But sincephotons aren't electrons then there are many different kinds of 'just onethings' - a photon-thing that makes a photon a photon; an electron-thing; aneutrino-thing, and so on down the line. These various fundamental 'just onethings' have indeed properties, different properties, like mass, charge, etc.

 

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But I have an even better explanation thanphoton-ness, etc. Are there really lots and lots of separate and apartfundamental nesses or just variations on one theme - a bits and bytes themeperhaps? Perhaps an electron is software coded as 1011 but its antimattercounterpart, the positron is an 1101. Variations on the quark theme might be1010 for an up-quark and 0101 for a down-quark. The photon could be 0000 andthe graviton 1111, and so it goes. By implicating software, I am of courseinvoking the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe scenario, otherwise known asthe Simulation Hypothesis. That is, we’re all just virtual beings existing in acomputer simulated landscape.

 

Properties

 

A something has properties. Propertiescannot exist without a parent something. The color red is a property.Flexibility is a property. Wetness is a property. Density is a property.Transparency is a property. Hardness is a property. Electric charge is aproperty. Redness, flexibility, wetness, density, transparency, hardness andelectric charge can't exist without a parent something.

 

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Properties are the offspring of the parentsomething. The parent something exists and from that existence there areassociated properties. A neutrino has the property of being able to travelthrough light years’ worth of lead unhindered. The property of being able totravel through light years’ worth of lead unhindered is a meaningless conceptwithout the parent something - in this case the neutrino - to give it meaning.

 

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Can John Smith name me a property thatdoesn't have an object attached to it, even a fundamental object? Propertiescannot exist in isolation, independently, without an association to something. JohnSmith has certain properties like height, weight, age, IQ, hair color anddozens more besides. But all those properties wouldn't exist unless thatsomething called John Smith fundamentally existed. An electron is a fundamentalsomething that has the property of electric charge. The electric charge doesn'texist, cannot exist, independently of the electron. An absolute something notcomposed of absolutely anything must be an absolute nothing. Something isnothing? That strikes me as being a logical contradiction!

 

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Forget the properties. They are theoffspring of that parent something. The properties aren't fundamental. It's thesomething that's fundamental. What is something space actually fundamentallycomposed of that has those properties?

 

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Is temperature fundamental? No, since temperature is justa property - much like wetness - of a conglomerate of particles. No individualparticle has a temperature or wetness. But all particles, each and every one,have a velocity, even if it's only vibrational. Velocity is a fundamentalproperty. But you can't have velocity without particles, fundamental orotherwise. So what other properties are fundamental properties?

 

One would appear to be electric charge (whatever thatactually is and however that is actually generated). Fundamental particles areeither positively, negatively or neutrally charged.


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Properties are NOT identical to theobjects having those properties. Now you can have two separate and apartfundamental things that can have an exact same property. If I say there is thisproperty we call a unit of positive electric charge, what particle, fundamentalor otherwise, am I referencing? What do you conclude? You see there is morethan one particle that has exactly one unit of positive electric charge.There's the proton and the positron. Likewise the electron and the anti-protonhave the exact same - in this case negative - electric charge. In fact threefundamental particles, the electron, the muon and the tau all have the exactsame electrical charge. So a negative electric charge does not of necessityequate to the electron since it equally applies to the muon and the tau (andthe anti-proton too). An electron and a positron have the exact same mass. Soproperty isn't sufficient in and of itself to identify something fundamental.So the property of electric charge or of mass isn't fundamental to just onething. So the fundamental things having charge and/or mass, etc. those arereally the fundamentals, not the properties of charge or mass.

 

FundamentalSpace or Fundamental Non-Space?

 

Is space an absolute something assuggested by General Relativity, or is space just a pure void; just a mentalconcept we assign real things of structure and substance like galaxies andstars and planets a place to reside in? Fundamental things have variousproperties that have values, like the charge on an electron. What values canyou assign to space? None!

 

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If space is a fundamental something – asper John Smith’s interpretation of General Relativity - then it seems there'sbeen a major oversight; a major omission since space, or what constitutes space- that fundamental something - isn't part of the standard model of particlephysics. Now why is that? Can anyone please explain - if you can?

 

Let me elaborate a bit. Okay, so space iscomposed of - let's call it space-ness and that space-ness is somethingfundamental. A fundamental what? No doubt a fundamental particle of some kind.Well what are the properties of this space-ness particle? Spin? Charge? Mass?Why isn't this space-ness particle a part of the standard model of particlephysics along with all of the other fundamental particles like quarks andelectrons and photons and gravitons? Maybe because there ain't no such thing asa space-ness particle because there ain't no space-ness.

 

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If something space isn't a particle, thenwhat pray tell is space? Space can't be a field. Space cannot be a force. Bothfields and forces require particles to generate them. What's left? Either spaceis NOT a something at all, or space is a yet unclassified / undetected particle,or space is a something out of "The Twilight Zone". What is space?Not what are the properties of space, but what IS space? John Smith insiststhat space is a something, but you can't tell me what that somethingfundamentally is. I say that space might just be a virtual reality simulation;just pure software. What say John Smith?

 

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Okay, so space is also, according to JohnSmith, fundamental - but a fundamental WHAT? This is the question John Smith can'tanswer. At least in the case of the photon the "WHAT" is a particle.Is the "WHAT" in the case of space a fundamental particle? Is the"WHAT" in the case of space a fundamental force? Is the"WHAT" in the case of space a fundamental field? The "WHAT"has to be something, since, according to John Smith, space is a something. If Isay John Smith is fundamental, people will be inclined to ask"fundamentally what?" It's just not good enough to leave John Smith inlimbo at being just fundamental. So, space is a fundamental WHAT?

 

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My bottom line is that if space is asomething - as John Smith says it is - then it’s composed of a something orsome something that is the responsible agency for space, even if it is just aone thing something. Space has active and dynamic properties - according to JohnSmith - that requires a parent something. Now what is that something? I call itspace-ness. What do you call it?

 

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Space has various properties according to JohnSmith. Space is a thing according to John Smith. Therefore things haveproperties. Things are fundamental relative to their properties. Now, what isthat space-THING? It's not active, dynamic, warping, curving, flexible, etc.Those are properties. Now what space-THING has those properties? Rubber mighthave those properties. Is anyone suggesting that space is composed of rubber?

 

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John Smith keeps telling me the propertiesof space, not what space actually is. I say, based on those properties (dynamicwarping, curving, flexibility, etc.), that space is actually rubber. What sayyou?

 

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Rubber seems to fit the properties that JohnSmith ascribes to space. Maybe this is a "Twilight Zone" kind ofrubber! Okay, space is NOT rubber. On that we can agree. However, it seems thatevery time I suggest that space IS this, that or the next thing (like rubber) JohnSmith keeps telling me what space IS NOT. That doesn't tell me what spaceactually IS. Can John Smith tell me what space actually IS, not what it IS NOT?

 

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Space has got to fit into the cosmicscheme of things by hook or by crook. Space has to fit into a category, even ifit is a category of just one thing - something space. Now is space is asomething, but not a space-ness particle something, then presumably if youcould somehow grab hold of a chunk of space, you could keep dividing it in halfagain and again and again without end. You'd never reach that ultimatespace-ness. The fundamentals of space doesn't have a fundamental unit. There isno fundamental unit of space. But if that's the case then space isn't and can'tever be a part of the quantum realm since there is no quantum of space. If thatis so, there can never be a Theory of Everything (TOE). Any physicistsdetermined to find a TOE should just give up the ghost and find another line ofwork!

 

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Just calling space, "space"tells me absolutely nothing about what space actually is. It's like justcalling John Smith, "John Smith". That tells me nothing about what a JohnSmith actually is. I mean John Smith might be the name of a ship, or a lion, ora breed of rose, or a stellar constellation, or a painting, or the name of aperson who lived long ago in a land far, far away. So, in that context, what ISspace? John Smith says it is a fundamental something. I say it is a fundamentalnothing – and you can’t get more fundamental than that! What say you?



Science librarian; retired.

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