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Shades of Gray

Matter, dark matter; energy, dark energy, and anti-matter

By Duane Dunkerson

It is bad enough that matter, still without a suitable definition, is heavily relied on to fulfill the particle physicist's expectations for approaching the penultimate line for representing the total of all particles. The particles they know of are in transitional states, ever ready and able to become energy.

In truth, it would appear "energy" is the term in need of definition. It has supplanted the ages old discussion of matter and how is it defined, sensed, made into an agent of cause- though inert, pressed into service as a substratum, and obscurely dealt with via unknown negativity. Energy is the replacement for occupancy at the utmost explanatory peak of the slippery slope of the description for reality. Energy is all there and then it is packaged into particles. How such packaging is initiated and why it should be so are mostly of little concern to the particle physicists. Reality, for them, is the particles that they assay by means of collisions of extraordinary ferocity.

They don't work with energy, they aren't energy physicists, after all. They have fashioned an end to reality, the Grail is secured by nailing together the particles in certain places. Get the particles and you've got it. To them, the mathematics of it is indispensable, actually, for them, it's inexpressible without the mathematics. Yet within the mathematics are infinitesimals and they ruin it. With them, the number of particles will tend to increase. What they call particles probably number in the thousands and we will know of a few. So, then, where is the reality?

Another group of scientists, the cosmologists and astrophysicists, have got their reality also. It is presumed the particles aforementioned go to make the Universe in its shades of gray. Presently, there is dark matter to be dealt with as well as dark energy. They are much beholden to our own visual apparatus in so designating matter, some of it, to be dark and energy having a dark zone to it. We can see some of the Universe's matter they affirm with the energy to be seen as slight even though it too can be darkened.

There isn't a bit of gray for antimatter. It could have been composed of dark particles - a negative vs. our particles of positivity. It would have been a ying and yang to fundamentally set us in action; a mating of opposites to engender the world. Antimatter must be anatomically correct and then in collision with us before we get the offspring. But then the offspring can produce the parents. Such a confusion could be lessened by acknowledging that there are particles made up of particles and units of energy made up of energy. But then E = mc-squared and m stands for mass (matter).

A drifting tension seizes you as you struggle to identify a way clear of the dark, anti-, material bog that is a tar paper pit of sticky consequences:
1. We can't find cosmological anti-matter.
2. Never can you produce only a particle or only an anti-particle. They, if produced, are inseparably paired.
3. But then some particles are their own anti-particles. A photon of light cheats on the one from column A and one from column B twinning. But then the photon is really one of those units of energy and dubious as to being a particle's particle.
4. Apropos of 1., Big Bang enthusiasts assert once we had equal amounts of matter and anti-matter a very long time ago. The particle physicists are chagrined by the now rather obvious preponderance of matter. If it had been as it should have been, then you had an equal opportunity complete devastation via mutual annihilation. This should have occurred because matter and anti-matter now blast one another on contact. But it is plain we have come through, while anti-matter survives briefly at a particulate creation and is then heard from no more.
5. To overcome our being here, the particle physicists bring in symmetries - of charge, parity, and time. None of these is symmetrical, we are told. Putting charge and parity together as CP allows for a violation of CP, enough to get us the upper hand there long ago.

Historically, before the sticky goo of what is and what might have been our lack of a future in the most early universe, physicists had gone into the ether and down into it in Pearson's case, into sinks of ether, a kind of negative matter. Hicks, in the 1880's using atomic vortex theory, also had a negative matter that displayed anti-gravity. In 1898 Schuster actually used the words "antimatter" and "antiatom". He too felt that a repulsion of the norm and the anti- would occur. He even went so far to comment on the annihilation of colliding matter and anti-matter. In those days they were asking if the ether was a substratum for matter or was it matter and then into the ether? In any event Michelson, Morley, and Einstein destroyed the ether. If ether there be, it could only survive as a convenient field for the spiritualists who tap tables, eke ectoplasm from it, and ask the dead for pithy commentary.

Spiritualists were not in residence at the California Institute of Technology in 1932. In that year Anderson found the anti-electron in a cloud chamber. No mention of ether was to be found in the front page of the New York Times in October of 1955 as Segre got credit for coming up with the anti-proton. From particle to even more came in 1965 as an anti-deuteron was observed. Anti-atoms, courtesy of CERN, were in evidence as anti-hydrogen. There were nine of them. A more productive attempt is to be made and 100 anti-atoms per operational second is hoped for. The oven of the Sun bests this method. Solar flares can bake and shake off a pound of anti-matter. Some anti-matter is stored in the Van Allen belts of Earth. Gas giants like the planet Jupiter could also have anti-matter awaiting collection.

The storage requires the presence of magnetic fields. These fields are well accepted. One also speaks of easy familiarity with gravitational fields. The Higgs field isn't so well known. But it has been proposed to account for mass. That is, to account for the mass of particles. Matter enters if at all, in reverse from off-stage. Matter can be mass-less. At least some particles are purported to be without mass. But of those with mass then matter comes in via an alley door off the thoroughfare. And it is constrained to remain backstage. It is the field that occupies front row, center. Furthermore, it is the Higgs field. If mass there be, it comes from an interaction with the Higgs. Field. And, in particle physics, if you've got a field, you've got to have a particle - the Higgs boson.

Newton had no knowledge of anti-matter, dark matter, and bosons. For him, in 1687, his Principia defined "The quantity of matter is the measure of the same, arising from its density and bulk conjointly". If it is, then it is matter. That is an uncharitable summation. Modern day physicists do little better since they too can hardly get beyond, get outside, a definition of matter that isn't dependent on taking the definition and defining it. We insist on getting beyond our everyday experience and appearances and then we get into mass-less states.

The particle physicists don't bring in mass immediately. It awaits in an antechamber almost backstage like matter. In the second row is the Lagrangian, a mathematic function that puts across the behavior, it is called, of particles. After that, the notion of force makes its appearance and reverting to Newton : f = ma. M is the mass, not the matter. Matter is not in the script. The play features mass, Higgs, (field and boson) and the Lagrangian. The mass they are getting at is the rest mass. Restless mass involves kinetic energy. It is energy that is the real star of the show but it is treated as a character act and is far from receiving top billing. On stage, in one act, is the mystery of mathematics, as much a mystery as politics, religion, and the weather. Yet mathematics can only describe, the engine of explanation lies elsewhere. This engine puts all in motion. Of motion itself, the physicists haven't a clue.

But certainly gravity acts, on particles and energy alike. Gravity is a field or it is curvature. For Newton it was action at a distance. He and others then felt uncomfortable about a lack of mechanism for gravity, but there it was, a lack of mechanisms need not trouble the present day scientists. It is all done with mirrors, ah, no, make that fields. Fields of energy. Certainly these fields are not as tenuous as the good old ether. They are a good deal more chunky as ether was like a creamy peanut butter and the newer stuff is the chunky brand. The fields are like a thick stew of chunky peanut butter. The chunks can be the particles. The rest can be whatever one wants it to be - for example, energy too ill defined. That ever reliable energy is listed as the source of all particles. The Higgs field is an energy field. But the Higgs itself gets apart from the yeoman status of energy and assumes a leading role. The Higgs must give cachet to the particles if they are to be particles. The particle physicists have found groups of particles, at least three groups.

So why should energy, at least of the field variety, be limited to three groups. Of course, it cannot be so. There are thousands and thousands of particles and we can know only a few. Our "magnification" puts the brakes on knowing more. It is like observing the lunar maria with a small telescope and seeing that the surface of the maria appear to be smooth. But increase the magnification and the surface is seen to get rough and there are pits and more pits. The surface can be transformed into nothing else but pits- if given enough magnification. Our present "magnification" gives us a few particles.

If we could understand faster, see more, do more, perhaps more particles would be revealed to us. We would need to go faster ourselves. But light goes as fast as we can be. Space itself can go faster. Fast space would move us but would move the particles too. There is only one causation. If we could have another, one could be for us, another for them. Aristotle had four varieties of causation. We have simplified things to the point of lacking leverage to gain access to other realms of knowledge.

We know the hostility perpetuated by matter and its anti-. Rather like a death wish. If anti-matter and matter's conjunctions could be harnessed for power, bombs of great destructiveness could be made. Also, space travel would have a mighty propellant. We could foray farther into the Universe that is doomed to collapse or doomed to expand. The inner workings of the Universe would be lost to us as the scientists pursue instrumentally what is or is not energy, matter, anti-matter, or dark matter.

There is more darkness. There is the dark energy. It repels. It is free of gravity. If, to save the situation, we reduce gravity from a force to a presence, we can't escape dark energy that is indifferent, totally, to gravity. In any event, gravity may be a byproduct of "magnification" - too little or too much and no gravity. Dark energy puts us on notice that our light and dark matter, our antis, and our former energy place us in a position akin to movie makers who do movies about movies. We have theories about our theories. The apple of Eden and of Newton is now genetically engineered. One apple was Sin, one was the Moon, and another is an apple, for the sake of appearance.

Appearances certainly are deceiving, aren't they? Locke thought that in his time there was enough certainty. The telescope and the microscope were misleading. Before you search for necessary convictions and connections, there are none. It is arbitrary. But once the search is commenced, the arbitrariness is gone. A system once imposed, or found out- if you prefer, then one must find connections or it isn't a system.

The system of the three families of particles spans a great range of size. What is the real size or sizes? Some are more primary than others? With so much variability, one looks for a lurking infinitesimal and the minions it fosters. Variety is the spice of life but it is a curse too as Shelly reports- "We see a variety of bodies possessing a variety of powers; we merely know their effects, we are in a state of ignorance with respect to their essences and causes. These Newton calls the phenomena of things; but the pride of philosophy is unwilling to admit its ignorance of their causes."

Shelley's comment is bound by history. Certainly philosophers today have no such pride. The scientists of today are still like Newton in that, in the main, it is the phenomena. Yes, certainly, shades of gray are a drag on depicting whatever is on the canvas of the Universe. Something colorful could be more beneficial.

The light as opposed to the dark may not be fundamentally different. How can we know? As Voltaire had it- "For your Cartesians everything is moved by an impulsion you don't really understand, for Mr. Newton it is by gravitation, the cause of which is hardly better known… For a Cartesian light exists in the air, for a Newtonian it comes from the Sun in six and a half minutes".

Of course progress is always being made, darkness is in the air, here. From the dark, Pamela ascends into orbit to search for anti-matter. Within the dark, Milgrom's Modified Newtonian Dynamics is an attempt to reduce the amount of darkness, there.










Copyright © 2007
by Duane Dunkerson

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