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Q & A: is it all just energy?

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Most recent answer: 06/25/2010
Q:
I hear physicists constantly talking about protons and electrons, quaks, mueons, neutrinos etc. all as seperate entities - but are they not in fact just all energy stabilised in different sytems/forms exhibiting to the observer the illusion of their individual properties - and in fact when in comes down to it, there is only energy, nothing more, and that absolutely everthing in the universe that we observe and theorize on is at its fundamental bascic level just simply energy?
- Anthony Leonard Laye (age 41)
Ford, West Sussex, England
A:
I see what you're getting at. The particles come and go, but the energy stays. However, energy is not the only thing that stays. Other conserved quantities include momentum, angular momentum, electric charge, and some nuclear "charges". As our theories get deeper, this list may change a bit. So yes, it does make some sense to think of the world as made of conserved quantities, temporarily bundled into little particle-like packages. Of course, there's still the important question of which types of packages are able to exist.


Mike W.

(published on 06/25/2010)

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