Fundamental Stuff And Their Properties

The Fundamentals

What Are The Fundamentals Composed Of? You aren’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 in themselves not fundamental. Take just as an example your urine. That alone contains roughly 500 different chemicals from the relatively simple to the exceedingly complex, like urea. Take two simple ones: water and table salt. These aren’t fundamental since they can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen; chlorine and sodium respectively. But these elements aren’t fundamental since the particles in the nucleus of each can be broken down into different kinds of quarks. Surrounding the nucleus are the electrons, which are also fundamental. Fundamental means here that that’s the end of the line. You can’t break down electrons and quarks (and some other things too) into anything simpler. So…

What are the fundamentals composed of? For example…

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 composed of? Space-ness?

Are there really lots and lots of separate and apart fundamental nesses or just variations on one theme – a bits and bytes theme perhaps? Perhaps an electron is software coded as 1011 but its antimatter counterpart, the positron is an 1101. Variations on the quark theme might be 1010 for an up-quark and 0101 for a down-quark. The photon could be 0000 and the graviton 1111, and so it goes. By implicating software, I am of course invoking the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe scenario, otherwise known as the Simulation Hypothesis. That is, we’re all just virtual beings existing in a computer simulated landscape.

Or perhaps it’s string theory to the rescue? But doesn’t string theory just beg the question for what are fundamental strings composed of – string-ness? Okay, maybe you’ve simplified things by reducing many multiple fundamental substances (nesses) down to one ness (string-ness), but now one has to explain how all those vibration rates – replacing the myriad fundamental substances like photon-ness – are transposed into the myriad properties we associate with the fundamentals – spin, charge, mass, etc. Aren’t you just replacing one fundamental mystery with another? Is replacing many fundamental nesses with many fundamental string vibrations any real explanatory improvement?

More about the Fundamentals

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

You know just saying that something is fundamental explains very little. Now a photon as per above is fundamental. A graviton too is fundamental (and if you don’t care for the yet to be confirmed graviton then substitute a neutrino). Now explain the differences between these two fundamentals, since there are fundamental differences between them, using one fundamental brand of fundamental something.

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Everything that is a something is composed of something, even a fundamental something. It’s just a fundamental something is 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 again to up-quark-ness. So apparently you have lots and lots of separate and apart fundamental somethings.

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Though a photon is fundamental and an electron is fundamental, I assume that an electron that has absorbed a photon isn’t fundamental.

Photon-Ness

For lack of a better word, a fundamental photon 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 the standard 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 from electron-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 thing as one and only one bedrock fundamental constituent that builds up to life, the Universe and everything. This is what is known in the trade as logic! This is something 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 better word in mind? But sure as Mother Nature made little green apples, photons are a something and it surely isn’t electron-ness! Particles are physical objects and are composed of something, even though that something is ‘just one thing’. And yes, that’s where the composition stops – at that ‘just one thing’. But since photons aren’t electrons then there are many different kinds of ‘just one things’ – a photon-thing that makes a photon a photon; an electron-thing; a neutrino-thing, and so on down the line. These various fundamental ‘just one things’ have indeed properties, different properties, like mass, charge, etc.

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But I have an even better explanation than photon-ness, etc. Are there really lots and lots of separate and apart fundamental nesses or just variations on one theme – a bits and bytes theme perhaps? Perhaps an electron is software coded as 1011 but its antimatter counterpart, the positron is an 1101. Variations on the quark theme might be 1010 for an up-quark and 0101 for a down-quark. The photon could be 0000 and the graviton 1111, and so it goes. By implicating software, I am of course invoking the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe scenario, otherwise known as the Simulation Hypothesis. That is, we’re all just virtual beings existing in a computer simulated landscape.

Properties

A something has properties. Properties cannot exist without a parent something. The colour 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 a property. Redness, flexibility, wetness, density, transparency, hardness and electric charge can’t exist without a parent something.

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Properties are the offspring of the parent something. The parent something exists and from that existence there are associated properties. A neutrino has the property of being able to travel through light years’ worth of lead unhindered. The property of being able to travel through light years’ worth of lead unhindered is a meaningless concept without the parent something – in this case the neutrino – to give it meaning.

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

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Forget the properties. They are the offspring of that parent something. The properties aren’t fundamental. It’s the something that’s fundamental. What is something space actually fundamentally composed of that has those properties?

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Is temperature fundamental? No, since temperature is just a property – much like wetness – of a conglomerate of particles. No individual particle has a temperature or wetness. But all particles, each and every one, have a velocity, even if it’s only vibrational. Velocity is a fundamental property. But you can’t have velocity without particles, fundamental or otherwise. So what other properties are fundamental properties?

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

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Properties are NOT identical to the objects having those properties. Now you can have two separate and apart fundamental things that can have an exact same property. If I say there is this property we call a unit of positive electric charge, what particle, fundamental or otherwise, am I referencing? What do you conclude? You see there is more than one particle that has exactly one unit of positive electric charge. There’s the proton and the positron. Likewise the electron and the anti-proton have the exact same – in this case negative – electric charge. In fact three fundamental particles, the electron, the muon and the tau all have the exact same electrical charge. So a negative electric charge does not of necessity equate to the electron since it equally applies to the muon and the tau (and the anti-proton too). An electron and a positron have the exact same mass. So property 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 one thing. So the fundamental things having charge and/or mass, etc. those are really the fundamentals, not the properties of charge or mass.

Fundamental Space or Fundamental Non-Space?

Is space an absolute something as suggested by General Relativity, or is space just a pure void; just a mental concept we assign real things of structure and substance like galaxies and stars and planets a place to reside in? Fundamental things have various properties that have values, like the charge on an electron. What values can you assign to space? None!

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

Let me elaborate a bit. Okay, so space is composed of – let’s call it space-ness and that space-ness is something fundamental. 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 particle physics along with all of the other fundamental particles like quarks and electrons and photons and gravitons? Maybe because there ain’t no such thing as a space-ness particle because there ain’t no space-ness.

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If something space isn’t a particle, then what pray tell is space? Space can’t be a field. Space cannot be a force. Both fields and forces require particles to generate them. What’s left? Either space is 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 insists that space is a something, but you can’t tell me what that something fundamentally 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 John Smith, fundamental – but a fundamental WHAT? This is the question John Smith can’t answer. 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 I say John Smith is fundamental, people will be inclined to ask “fundamentally what?” It’s just not good enough to leave John Smith in limbo at being just fundamental. So, space is a fundamental WHAT?

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

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

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

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Rubber seems to fit the properties that John Smith ascribes to space. Maybe this is a “Twilight Zone” kind of rubber! Okay, space is NOT rubber. On that we can agree. However, it seems that every time I suggest that space IS this, that or the next thing (like rubber) John Smith keeps telling me what space IS NOT. That doesn’t tell me what space actually 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 cosmic scheme of things by hook or by crook. Space has to fit into a category, even if it is a category of just one thing – something space. Now is space is a something, but not a space-ness particle something, then presumably if you could somehow grab hold of a chunk of space, you could keep dividing it in half again and again and again without end. You’d never reach that ultimate space-ness. The fundamentals of space doesn’t have a fundamental unit. There is no fundamental unit of space. But if that’s the case then space isn’t and can’t ever be a part of the quantum realm since there is no quantum of space. If that is so, there can never be a Theory of Everything (TOE). Any physicists determined to find a TOE should just give up the ghost and find another line of work!

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

Source by John Prytz

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