What is high quality matter examples

By Karl Sumereder 

Since the dawn of human cultures, attempts have been made to understand the connected and inexplicable coexistence of natural events, the order on which the world is based. The natural occurrences often do not coincide with our everyday experience and our intuition. Far Eastern and above all Greek philosophers developed their first ideas about the phenomena of natural force, energy and matter more than two and a half millennia ago. In the context of this essay, the terms matter and energy will be discussed.

What actually is matter?

Thinking about it started with Greek philosophers. For Thales of Miletus (approx. 625-547 BC) water was the primary material. For Anaximander (ca. 610-546) it was the air. For Heraklit (approx. 550-480) the fire. If you use energy instead of fire, you get astonishingly close to the concept of matter in modern quantum physics. For Empedocles (c. 495–435) there were four elements: earth, water, air and fire. In a modified form, today's concept of matter comes from Democritus von Abdera (approx. 460–371). He was of the opinion that all things consist of invisible small, immortal particles of matter that cannot be further divided (Greek: “atomos” = indivisible). The properties of all things, whether solid, liquid or gaseous, are determined by the cohesion of the particles of matter. Democritus thus created the atomic theory of matter. The basic view of Democritus has, by and large, entered macrophysics, chemistry and our everyday ideas.

A completely different line of tradition goes from Phytagoras (approx. 570 / 560–480), Socrates (469–399), Plato (428 / 427–347) and Aristotle (384–322). Plato differentiates between immutable ideas on the one hand and perceived phenomena on the other. Aristotle postulated a primordial material (materia prima) with the ability of creativity. The actual forms of matter (materia secunda) are gradually formed from the original material through increasingly complex characteristics.

Today the earlier terms of matter only play a marginal role.

But at least for contemporary physicists, for example the Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976), matter is the different manifestations of an immaterial structure. A thoroughly Platonic concept of matter.

Our everyday view

According to our general experience, matter is heavy and inert and made up of tiny particles. Colloquially, matter is the visible and tangible substance, a mass with a gravitational field. All masses, whether solid, liquid or gaseous, represent states of molecules. These are composed of atoms, those of elementary particles and can be broken down.

No mass, no body is ultimately a self-contained unit, but consists of molecules separated from one another in the nanoscale. Since atoms can also be broken down into smaller corpuscles, these also consist of gaps. Even the atomic nucleus can be further subdivided into protons and neutrons and these into even smaller particles, the mysterious quarks.

According to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity and that of a small group of other European physicists, each of whom received the Nobel Prize, the earlier rigid concept of matter has been unsustainable since the last century.

Max Planck received the award in 1918, Albert Einstein in 1921, Niels Bohr in 1922, Heinrich Hertz in 1925, Louis de Broglie in 1929, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger and Paul Dirac in 1933, Wolfgang Pauli in 1945 and Max Born in 1954. It was during this time that the starting gun was fired for one new physics, quantum mechanics.

Relativity and quantum theory

Since then, the universe has been according to the theory of relativity (it describes space-time, gravity and applies in the realm of the very large, the massive cosmic objects such as stars, solar systems, galaxies) and the quantum theory (it describes the phenomena on the microcosmic, atomic and the subatomic level) understood in a completely new way. With the help of quantum mechanics, the construction of many new technical devices, such as lasers, computers and so on, has been made possible.

Today we know that atoms are not as elementary as previously assumed. Today we know that quantum mechanical objects are not just waves (vibrations) or particles. They mysteriously have both properties at the same time. The fact that atoms are to be regarded as centers of force or energy is an insight from the theory of relativity, which has ceased to be a theory since August 1945 at the latest, when Hiroshima and Nagasaki perished.

According to Albert Einstein's famous formula: E (energy) = m (mass) times c (speed of light in a vacuum) to the power of two, the mass of an object is equivalent to a certain amount of energy.

According to quantum theory, matter today is "soft". It is non-linear and partially indeterminate. However, this is presented in an extremely abstract form and so does not easily penetrate our everyday consciousness.

The quantum physicist Raymond de Broglie announced in 1923 that not only massless light is a wave (vibration), but that it is also emitted and absorbed in packets (quanta), but that all matter is also vibrations at the same time. This claim has been confirmed experimentally for the elementary particles electrons, then also for hydrogen molecules and then also for larger molecules. Since then, the wave-particle dualism applies to all elementary particles. Also since the "wave mechanics" developed by Erwin Schrödinger, with which it was explained that wave properties and particle properties never appear separately and only form different sides of the same phenomenon. Ultimately, however, the question of whether you are dealing with waves or particles cannot be answered any more than with which eye you can see when you have both open.

What actually is energy?

According to the “big bang theory”, positively and negatively charged matter formed explosively from an immeasurably dense and hot “energy-matter-plasma package” around 13 billion years ago. Elementary particles, the laws of physics and time appeared in the nanosecond range. The moment in which all kinds of energies began to manifest and differentiate themselves can be called “creation”, the “beginning of time”. Since then, every spatial region of the cosmos has been filled with radiation: from low-frequency background radiation, radio waves, visible and ultraviolet light to gamma rays of the highest energy. Radiation is emitted by stars, supernovae, quasars, the event horizons of the "black holes" and the twisted magnetic fields that extend over huge empty regions of space.

The term energy was introduced in 1852 by the Scottish physicist William Rankine in the modern sense for physics. Until then, different types of forces have been spoken of. Energy is the ability to do work, that is how you read it in every encyclopedia.

As already indicated above, a definition means that it is on the same level of abstraction as matter, that both are substances and can be mutually converted into one another. According to Werner Heisenberg's “uncertainty principle”, particles behave in certain respects like waves. Although light consists of waves, it also behaves like particles (photons) traveling at the speed of light and an energy proportional to their oscillation frequency.

Energy is classified according to its various manifestations: potential energy (due to gravitation), rest energy, kinetic energy, radiation energy, light energy, chemical energy, kinetic energy, electrical energy, magnetic and thermal energy. All of them can be converted into one another according to fixed equivalence values.

The physicist Freeman Dyson brought the various forms of energy into a "value order". Gravitational energy is at the top and at the bottom of the list are the low-frequency remnants of the Big Bang, known as background radiation.

What is energy We never know
We can't produce them
just transform technically.
If she appears unleashed,
let us tremble at their violence!
Einstein traced the riddle,
which doesn't really lead to understanding either.
The only explanation left is the formula:
E = M times c squared.
(Gerulf Stix, see energy politician)

Energy conversion

The “energy law” is a physical law according to which energy or its mass equivalent can neither be generated nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form of energy to another.

It may be astonishing, energy cannot be used up. When we talk about energy consumption, we mean that energy is converted into a less valuable form of energy (such as hot air) in a form that is more valuable from our point of view (e.g. chemical energy from petroleum).

Michael Faraday (1791–1867), similar to Robert Mayer (1814–1878), postulated the. Mutual conversion of individual types of energy by both formulating that falling force (gravitational energy), movement, heat, light, electricity and chemical energy are one and the same, just in different manifestations.

Electromagnetic light energy (sunlight) is used by green plants for the chemical synthesis of nutrients, to convert sunlight into chemical energy (glucose, starch). We take in nutrients, adapt them chemically to our needs (digestion). Our organism converts it into mechanical energy through muscle movement, into electrical energy through the activity of the nerves, into heat energy through maintaining the body temperature or into sound energy through the vocal cords. Fireflies, for example, can convert chemical energy into light and many other examples.

It has been known since the last century that matter is ultimately a type of energy. According to the famous Planck-Einstein relationship, matter can be:

E = c to the power of 2 times m = h times v (E = energy, c = vacuum speed of light, m ​​= mass, h = Planck's quantum of action and v = light frequency) into radiant energy (matter radiation). Just as the reverse process (pairing) is possible. In the process, two complementary elementary matter particles such as electron - positron, proton - antiproton, neutron - antineutron, neutrino - antineutrino are created from high-energy, electromagnetic quantum radiation.

In 1920 Albert Einstein remarked in conversation that for the time being there was not the slightest clue as to whether and when such energy generation could ever be achieved. In 1938 Otto Hahn (1879–1968) and Fritz Strassmann (1902–1980), as the discoverers of atomic fission, eliminated this ambiguity.

The matter in our bodies is also energy that may be waiting to be released if we should ever come across antimatter.

Unsolvable puzzles

We only have guesses as to how the “Big Bang” occurred or how our solar system and our planet, the carrier of all terrestrial life, came about. These are physical theories, there were no contemporary witnesses. The theory of relativity cannot say why there is gravity. We do not know why there are forms of energy, a self-organization of matter or living things. The questions of what elementary particles, atoms and molecules really are cannot be answered. In the subatomic realm, we are dealing with proportions and scales that are as far removed from those of our world of experience as they are on the other hand from those of space. The laws of our logic and intuition no longer apply. A light quantum turns out to be a wave (oscillation) and a corpuscle at the same time, depending solely on the method of observation. Matter can be transformed into disembodied energy and vice versa.

What an elementary particle should be as an object must be viewed with caution. First of all, particles are nothing more than the locally measured excitation of a physical field. (A field consists of a space, which can be empty or filled with material, and measurable physical properties that can be assigned to each point in space).

It is also extremely astonishing that we humans are in a position at all to make more or less meaningful considerations and combinations about the inner relationships of atoms and cosmic events with our thinking ability, which is actually only given for earthly survival. This with unprovable theories, mental crutches, abstract formulas and non-illustrative symbols.

Are we even able to ask the right questions?

For some people, the laws of nature are given and have platonic status. For Albert Einstein, laws of nature are "free inventions of the human mind, but which have to prove themselves in order to then become discoveries". Debates revolve around whether the laws of nature, whether the cosmos, whether all forms of life have an ideal background or whether it is a question of a virtual reality that we cannot recognize.

What remains is the realization of the philosopher Karl R. Popper that the “What is?” - or “Why?” - questions are not particularly important and actually not very good questions. They are of a form that does not allow a really illuminating answer.

Dr. Karl Sumereder, Innsbruck, has traveled the world as a top manager. For decades he has journalistically dealt with philosophy and the natural sciences.

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