Matter-Void Boundary

Reference: A Logical Approach to Theoretical Physics

The subject of physics starts with the consideration of material objects separated by void. This is so all the way down to the consideration of atoms. We, therefore, should examine the concept of “matter separated by void” closely for assumptions. When we do this, the following question arises,

Does matter end abruptly at its boundary and the void begins?


Newtonian Mechanics

In Classical Physics, the basic substance is matter. No matter how finely you grind it, it is still matter. Gases consist of extremely fine particles of matter called “atoms.” The atoms are very small, solid spheres that are separated by the void. So, there is a boundary at which matter apparently ends abruptly and the void begins.

But this cannot be so neatly categorized in the case of electricity, light and similar radiation. Investigation into this anomaly leads us to Quantum Mechanics.


Quantum Mechanics

The material nucleus of an atom is surrounded by a layer of electrical substance that behaves like particle as well as wave. Together, the nucleus and the surrounding layer of electrical substance form the atom. The atom exists in an environment of electromagnetic radiation. This environment behaves mostly like waves. The void is supposed to lie beyond this environment of electromagnetic radiation. 

This picture provides us with a gradient of substance from matter to void. Matter is the substance at one end of the spectrum that we are most familiar with. At the other end of the spectrum is light, which is no less a form of substance. In between are quantum particles and electromagnetic radiation. Beyond this spectrum of substance we postulate a void, which denotes absence of substance. 

Matter, therefore, does not end abruptly at some boundary; instead, it “thins out” into the void. We have a diffused boundary between matter and void.


Paradigm Shift

We, therefore, find the Newtonian assumption of a binary matter-void paradigm to be incorrect. We discover that there is a spectrum of substance. Matter is simply a condensed form of substance at one end of this spectrum. At the other end Is an uncondensed form, which we know as light. In between we have the spectrum of “quantum particles” and “electromagnetic radiation.”

Thus, the survey of Physics in Part I shows that we have a gradient of substance from matter to void. This consideration of a spectrum of substance is a paradigm shift in thinking in Physics.


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