Shades of Gray
Matter, dark matter; energy, dark energy, and
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
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
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
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
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
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.