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Author Topic: The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.  (Read 3732 times)

Offline Dr.Abdullah

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I have been thinking about this for a while. Could it be possible that there is no smallest part of matter. I mean if the fundamental particles we observe are made of smaller parts we may not be able to detect them, due to their size. Using fractals in this way could explain certain phenomenon. what do you guys think?


 

Offline imatfaal

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #1 on: 07/10/2011 16:28:04 »
Dean Swift commented on the self-similar form of nature many years ago - his literal subject was fleas, apparently the real subject was literary critics, but the sentiment applies equally well to particle physics

    "So nat'ralists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
    And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
    And so proceed ad infinitum."

Jonathan Swift-1733
 

Offline Dr.Abdullah

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #2 on: 07/10/2011 17:00:06 »
Fractals can be made infinitely complex (Zreversible arrowZ + c) so i don't quite understand why you brought up the flea thing.
 

Offline syhprum

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #3 on: 07/10/2011 17:06:40 »
It has been suggested from time to time that Electrons, Quarks etc are not single particles but have constituent parts but no evidence has ever been produced.
 

Offline JP

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #4 on: 07/10/2011 17:28:04 »
Fractals can be made infinitely complex (Zreversible arrowZ + c) so i don't quite understand why you brought up the flea thing.

Fractals are interesting, but the real problem is relating whatever mathematical model you have to physical reality.  It's much easier to say that we'll find new particles than to actually predict their properties accurately.
 

Offline yor_on

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #5 on: 07/10/2011 18:21:54 »
Yes, fractals are very interesting, and to me they seems to point to how the universe 'build'. It's like there are two ways of looking at this universe, one from measurements done from its 'inside' (don't take that literary btw) and then another in where what we measure becomes vague.

Another way, complementary seen, might be to consider matter a expression of 'geometries' created through 'forces', as if what we measure on is more as some sort of 'focus' than something existing independently, if that now makes sense :). It's not the way we see matter normally but maybe that is what it is, with fractal behaviors creating the macroscopic reality. This is just guesses though and neither am I sure of how those 'geometries' can come to be.

But if it was that way 'time' must be one of the main principles together with gravity. Because it is from time we draw our conclusions.
 

Offline Dr.Abdullah

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #6 on: 07/10/2011 18:42:29 »
The size of a quark is much smaller than protons and neutrons, so finding a constituent part something as small as quarks and leptons would be nearly impossible.
 

Offline yor_on

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #7 on: 07/10/2011 19:17:31 »
Everything breaks down with your scales becoming smaller, and the best tools we have for measuring is radiation. Also you have the problem with the measuring acting upon what you measure. It's a little like the idea of a electron, able to be super positioned in some systems described, acting as a quantized 'cloud' of probability in other, still indirectly proven to 'perfectly round' from a third point of view.
 

Offline damocles

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #8 on: 10/10/2011 21:38:21 »
There is an interesting paradox here, and I do not have the background in particle physics to deal with it:

In the ordinary world, "smaller" means both less massive, and having a smaller spatial extension. But in the quantum world of sub-microscopic entities, there is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which ensures, among other things, that δxδpxh/2

The implication of this is that less massive particles have greater spatial extension (unless they are travelling close to the speed of light). Certainly electrons in ordinary atoms have much greater spatial extension than protons, yet they are only about 1/1840 of the mass.

So at this level, it seems that "smaller" can mean either less massive, or less spatial extension, but not both!
 

Offline krish1951

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #9 on: 11/10/2011 08:26:38 »
 At a fundamental level if energy is interchangeable with particles and are the basis of forming particles, surely you can keep finding smaller and smaller particles right? The concept of smaller or different becomes meaningless at some level, as every particle is nothing but a manifestation?
 

Offline yor_on

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #10 on: 12/10/2011 01:34:04 »
To me it's like we have some sort of continuum. In it we find constants like 'c' and principles. They define borders for what we can measure, with us being the constructs that measure inside it. To us it's a 'closed system', but what we can't measure may not agree with that definition. But we exist as 'matter', and the dichotomy between 'space' and 'matter' is what makes us free to move and act. If what existed only was radiation, us included, how would that influence our descriptions?
 

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The possibility of no smallest constituent of matter.
« Reply #10 on: 12/10/2011 01:34:04 »

 

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