The “Particle” Physics

Elementary particle - Wikipedia

The most confusing concept pertaining to particle physics is the concept of “particle” itself. We are familiar with mass particles. Such particles have a center of mass, and momentum. A mass particle reduces to an atom. The nucleus of an atom acts as the center of mass. The rest of the atom is configured around this nucleus.

When we get beyond the atom and look at electromagnetic radiation, we are dealing with a very different kind of substance. It has momentum but no center of mass. It has fluid-like properties. This “fluid,” when it flows, have wave-like characteristics. It is not a disturbance in some other medium, which we associate with waves in the material domain.

EM substance is very different from the material substance, which is made up of atoms.

The electromagnetic substance has consistency (a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc.) and also a fluid-like continuity. The quantum aspect of this EM substance comes from its interaction with material substance. Such interaction involves a precise energy based on the consistency of the EM substance.

The consistency of EM substance gives it momentum and the interaction with matter gives its the quantum property. But this substance does not have the center of mass around which to generate spatial particles. The EM substance is, therefore, continuous in space.

The most confusion, therefore, comes from the use of the word “particle” in Particle Physics. These are particles based on discrete energy interactions that vary according to the consistency of the EM substance. They are not particles based on discreteness in space, which is a characteristic of material substance only.

NOTE: Electrons have the highest consistency in the EM spectrum. There is a threshold of consistency above which we have material substance. Nucleon’s consistency is about 1836 times the consistency of electrons. It qualifies as material substance. Mass is associated with material substance. It has the property of “having a center” that identifies it as a “point particle”. Electrons are not material (or point) particles. The apparent “mass” of the electrons is essentially the manifestation of its inertia. Inertia is a property of consistency and not just that of mass.


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  • vinaire  On September 8, 2021 at 5:38 PM

    It is interesting that physics does not have a precise definition for “mass” or “substance.”


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