What-Is-Matter? We see it, we touch it, we use it, and we even consist of it! But what is it?
It has taken mankind a long time to arrive at our present concepts regarding the nature and essence of matter. Most of the debate regarding matter has understandably been dominated by arguments concerning the actual origin-of-matter.
However, it must be obvious that before debating the origins of matter, it should be imperative to first establish exactly what-is-matter? What does matter basically consist of? We are conscious of its physical reality in all its diversity - but what is it? What are the building blocks?
In the modern world we have come to accept the fact that matter consists of molecules and atoms. However, our inquiring minds are not satisfied with this definition of what-is-matter and what we are really asking is: “Yes, but of what then do even these molecules and atoms themselves consist of?”
Through research into the field of Quantum Mechanics we have come to learn that on a “quantum scale” all forms of matter are in fact merely diverse manifestations of various types of energy. This leads us to inquire as to what in fact is a quantum?
According to Wikipedia:
“In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction........ Normally quanta are considered to be what physicists term ”discrete” packets with energy stored in them”.
Dictionary: “discrete” :adj. Separate, detached from others, individually distinct".
This forms part of the fundamental framework of Quantum Mechanics for understanding and describing Nature at the most infinitesimal level.
A Diagram Of A Helium Atom
Credit Google Images
For the Lord is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind.
Amos 5:13 NLT
Mankind’s perceptions regarding what constitutes matter have developed gradually from the fundamental acceptance that everything, including matter, was created by “the gods”, or even by “God” as proposed by monotheism, depending on a person’s beliefs.
As knowledge and understanding of nature progressed, this also lead to more profound insights regarding the supernatural and the roll of Spirituality
Alternatively, and progressively so in today’s world being increasingly influenced by skeptical atheism, a growing perception has developed that is being widely propagated, proposing that everything came into existence spontaneously and of own volition, purely by “Chance”! Rejecting any Divine roll and rejecting even the existence of a Divine Being!
The fact however, remains that we have inherited a Universe that is made up of matter in all its diversity. Questions as to its “origins” are discussed in pages dealing with the Origin-of-Matter. Asking the question: what-is-matter on this page though is a completely different concept.
We will see that Research always was, and to a certain extent is still remains so today, a process of groping in the dark!
To quote Einstein once more: “If we knew what we were doing we wouldn’t call it research, would we?”
Learning how we have eventually arrived at the prevailing concepts as to what-is-matter remains a fascinating story!
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