MATTER by nuhman10


                                                    Gary Zukav
Article by C.D.Norman

                 This is a brief summery of the evolution of the concept of “matter” as described by Gary
Zukav, a Chinese scholar and scientist brought up in the west, in his book “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” Now
and then he compares the thoughts of modern western scientists (physicists) with eastern philosophy and
Buddhist teachings. In making up this summary I have omitted the ancient philosophy and stuck to western

                  In the later part of the 17th century Newton studied „light‟ and „motion‟. By passing a beam of
sunlight through a glass prism he observed that white light consists of seven different colours of the rainbow.
He also stated the three laws of motion and enunciated the Law of Gravity. His Law of Gravity was applicable
not only to bodies on the earth but to motions of all celestial bodies and remains a useful tool in the hands of
astronomers.      But after a lapse of three centuries Newton‟s laws were questioned by later scientists in the
light of new knowledge about light , matter, energy etc. This book traces the development in the concept of
matter and energy      Newton‟s first great contribution to science was the laws of motion. His first law of
motion defied Aristotle‟s notion that a moving body naturally is inclined to come to rest. Newton‟s second
great contribution to science was his law of gravity which dismissed the earlier notion of gravity. Newton
showed by the phenomenon of universal gravity that the universe was structured in a rational and comprehensive
way. He saw his laws as manifestation of God‟s perfection. They enhanced His dignity and vindicated His
importance in the universe.

                    In 1911 Ernest Rutherford created his model of atom He said that atoms consisted of two
parts, the central heavy part consisting of protons and neutrons surrounded by light particles, electrons in orbital
motion around the nucleus, just like the solar system. In 1911 Ernest Rutherford created his model of atom He
said that atoms consisted of two parts, the central heavy part consisting of protons and neutrons surrounded by
light particles, electrons in orbital motion around the nucleus, just like the solar system. When sodium light is
spectroanalysed two bright yellow lines characteristic of the metal is obtained. Similarly, other elements when
heated or excited emit light which give bright line spectrum typical of each element. Why and how do these
elements produce their spectrum when they are incandescent?

                    Niels Bohr, a Danish Physicist, in 1913, came out with a different picture of the atom. He
observed that the spectrum of Hydrogen, the simplest of all elements contained over one hundred lines! How
was this possible when Hydrogen atom contained only one proton and one electron? Niels Bohr explained that
the electrons around the nucleus of an atom are not at any distance from the nucleus but in orbit or shells at
specific distance from it. Each of these shells contained up to a certain number of electrons and no more. In a
normal atom of an element its electrons are at their lowest energy level and when heated (excited) they jump
from their ground state to higher orbits carrying the energy absorbed by them. But soon they return to their
original orbit either directly or by stages releasing the absorbed energy, in the form of light, at each stage of their
fall to their original orbit. Bohr discovered that all the possible combination of jumps that a hydrogen electron
can make on its journey back to the ground state equals the number of lines in the hydrogen spectrum. Each
jump downward releases light of a specific colour depending upon the amount of energy released. From this
physicists could calculate the frequencies of light given off by hydrogen atom.

                  Quantum mechanics forced itself upon the scene at the beginning of the 20th century. A
quantum is a quantity of something, a specific amount.           Quantum theory views subatomic particles as
“tendencies to exist” or “tendencies to happen”, not as a particle as dust particle. It is a quantum, a quantity of
something which is left to speculation At the subatomic level, mass and energy change unceasingly into each
other. The mass of a subatomic particle is expressed in energy unit – electron volt

The old physics assumes that there is an external world which exists apart form us that we can observe, measure,
and speculate about the external world without changing it. The new physics of quantum mechanics tells us
clearly that it is not possible to observe reality without changing it. The old science was “objective” when
studying nature. According to quantum mechanics there is not such thing as objectivity. We are part of nature,
we cannot eliminate ourselves from the picture.
                   The descent downward from the macroscopic to microscopic level is a two step process – first
the atomic level and the second the subatomic level. If a baseball were the size of the earth, its atoms would be
the size of a grape. If an atom is magnified to the size of a fourteen storey building, the nucleus would be the
size of a grain of salt and the electron just a particle of dust. Newtonian physics has proven inadequate to
explain particle behaviour

                   Because there are millions and millions of particles in the smallest space, it is convenient to
deal with them statistically, picture their crowded behaviour and not how an individual particle will behave. In
quantum mechanics there is no way to predict individual event. Quantum mechanics can tell us how a group of
particles will behave but of individual particles, it will say how it probably will behave. Probability is one of the
major characteristics of quantum mechanics. For example quantum mechanics can predict statistically the
disintegration of a radioactive substance but cannot say which individual atom will disintegrate next.

                   Physicists of 1900 assumed that excited electrons in an atom radiated energy smoothly and
continuously. But Max Planck said that the basic structure of nature is granular i.e. discontinuous. He
discovered that an excited atom radiates energy in spurts, in specific amount, “quantum”. The radiated energy
came in “energy packets” in discontinuous spurts. He also discovered Plank‟s constant a certain number which
never changes. The energy in each light quantum of a particular colour is given by the product of the frequency
of light and Planck‟s constant. All of the energy packets of a particular colour is the same and carry equal
amount of energy, but different from the energy packet of other colours. Energy packet of violet is more than
that of red light.

                   In 1921 Einstein theorised that light was composed of tiny particles and that a beam of light is
like a stream of bullets, each bullet called a „photon‟. He said that each photon carried its own quantum of
energy. When light hits the surface of certain metals, electrons on the surface of the metal are dislodged and
sent flying off the surface. The momentum and velocity of the displaced electrons were measured This is
known as photoelectric effect of light. The velocity of the rebounding electrons depends upon the colour of
light but not on the intensity of light. Violet light knocked off electrons with a greater velocity than red light.
This shows that photons of violet light have higher energy than photons of red light Using this photoelectric
effect of light Einstein concluded that light is made up of particles (photons).

                  Earlier, in 1803, it was shown that light consisted of waves. Young‟s experiment in which he
passed a beam of light through two parallel slits close together produced interference pattern, proving light is a
form of waves and not particles. Einstein‟s experiment of photoelectric effect showed that light consisted of
particles, not waves. Can light be both wave and particle? The wave-particle duality of light is one of the
thorniest problems of quantum mechanics. Particle cannot be waves nor waves particles. Light has either to be
particles or waves. Or does it depend upon how and what you look for in light?

                   The wave-particle duality prompted the first real step in understanding the newly unfolding
quantum theory (in 1924) of Bohr and two of his colleagues. It referred to a tendency to happen, a tendency that
in an undefined way existed of itself, even if it never became an event Probability waves were mathematical
catalogue of these tendencies. This was quite different from classical probability. “It introduced something
standing in the middle between the idea of an event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between
possibility and reality. The wave-particle duality lead to probability waves

                   Access to physical world is through experience. What we experience Is not external reality
but our interaction with it This is a fundamental assumption of “complementarity” developed by Niels Bohr to
explain the wave-particle duality of light. Wave-like characteristics and particle-like characteristics of light are
mutually exclusive or complementary aspects of light. Although one of them excludes the other, both of them
are necessary to understand light. Light cannot both be waves and particles at the same time: one of them
excludes the other.

                   Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristics of western religion. Rejection
without proof is the fundamental characteristics of western science. In other words religion has become a matter
of the heart and science has become a mater of the mind. This regrettable state of affairs does not reflect the
fact that, physiologically, one cannot exist without the other. Everybody needs both. Mind and heart are only
different aspects of us
                How can mutually exclusive wave-like and particle-like behaviours both be properties of one
and the same light? They are not properties of light. They are properties of our interaction with light.
Depending upon our choice of experiment, we can cause light to manifest either as particles or as waves We
can cause light to manifest both wave-like properties and particle-like properties by performing Arthur
Compton‟s famous experiment.

                   In 1923 Compton fired x-rays which are waves on electrons. The x-rays bounced off the
electrons as if x-rays were particles. They did not lose much energy during the collision. However, those x-
rays which collided more nearly head-on with electrons were deflected sharply and lost a considerable amount of
their kinetic energy in the collision. X-rays were impacting with electrons exactly as billiard balls impact with
billiard balls.      Compton thus showed that electromagnetic waves like x-rays also had particle like
characteristics. He measured the frequencies of the x-rays before and after impact and hence their energy. But
particles do not have frequency, only waves have frequencies. The phenomenon which Compton discovered is
called “Compton Scattering”.          Compton‟s experiment shows that x-rays have both particle and wave
characteristic, not one exclusive of the other.

                   While physicists were trying to explain how waves can be particles, De Broglie showed that
particles also are waves! Using Planck‟s equation and Einstein‟s, de Broglie determined the wavelength of
matter (matter waves). He said greater the momentum of the particle shorter the wavelength of its associated
wave. That is the reason why matter waves are not evident in the macroscopic world. At subatomic level, say
an electron, the length of its associated wave is longer than the electron itself

                  Davisson – Germer experiment showed electrons reflect off a crystal surface as if electrons
were waves. When a beam of electrons is sent through tiny openings like space between atoms in a metal foil,
the beam defracts exactly like light waves. Particles do not have wavelength and yet they defract . Electron is
hence both a particle and a wave. It is clear hence that light which is made of waves behaves like particles and
electrons which are made of particles behave like waves. Every solid has a wavelength – a base ball, a tree, an
automobile and people. Only they are so small that they cannot be noticed.

                   Schrodinger hypothesized that electrons are not spherical objects but patterns of standing
waves (stationary waves). Each time an electron completes a journey around the nucleus it produces a whole
number of standing waves, never a fraction of one. Schrodinger proposed that each of these standing waves is
an electron; in other words, electrons are segments of vibrations bounded by the nodes.

                  Shortly before Schrodinger‟s discovery, another Austrian physicist, Wolfgang Pauli discovered
that no two electrons in an atom are exactly alike. The presence of electron with one particular set of properties
(quantum numbers) excludes the presence of another electron with exactly the same properties within the same
atom.. This became known as Pauli‟s exclusion principle. In terms of Schrodinger‟s standing wave theory,
Pauli‟s exclusion principal means that once a particular wave pattern forms in an atom it excludes all other of
its kind

                   Schodinger‟s equation modified by Pauli‟s discovery shows that there are only two possible
wave patterns in the lowest of Bohr‟s energy levels, or shells…Therefore there can be only two electrons in it ,.
There are eight different standing wave pattern possible in the next energy level, therefore there can be only
eight electrons in it and so on. Although Schrodinger was sure that electrons were standing waves, he was not
sure what was waving, and he called it „psi‟ a Greek letter pronounced “sigh” (a wave function and a „psi‟
function are the same thing) The Schodinger wave equation also provides a self consistent explanation of the
size of Hydrogen atom. The wave pattern of a system with one electron and one proton (hydrogen atom) in its
lowest energy state has the same size as the ground state of hydrogen atom.

                  An atom consists of a nucleus and electrons. The nucleus at the centre of an atom occupies a
small part of the volume of an atom. Electrons may be anywhere within the “electron cloud”. The “electron
cloud” is made of various standing waves which surround the nucleus. These standing waves are not material;
they are patterns of potential. The electron cloud is a mathematical concept, like wave function which
physicists have constructed to correlate their experiences. Schrodinger pictured electrons as actually being
spread out over their wave patterns in the form of a tenuous cloud. Electron cloud may or may not exist within
an atom; no one really knows. However a concept of electron cloud yields the probabilities of finding the
electron at various places around the nucleus of an atom and these          probabilities have been determined
experimentally to be accurate.
                    Heisenberg‟s method of Scattering Matrix (S Matrix) into the new physics lead to the
discovery that shook the very foundations of the “exact sciences”. Heisenberg proved that at the sub-atomic
level there is no such thing as “exact science” Heisenberg‟s remarkable discovery was that there are limits
beyond which we cannot measure accurately, at the same time , the process of nature. These limits are not
imposed by the clumsy nature of our measuring devices or extremely small size of the entities that we attempt to
measure, but rather by the very way that nature presents itself to us. There exists an ambiguity barrier beyond
which we never can pass without venturing into a realm of uncertainty. His discovery became known as
“uncertainty principle” The uncertainty principle reveals that as we penetrate deeper and deeper into the
subatomic realm, we reach a certain point at which one part or another of our picture of nature becomes blurred,
and there is no way to reclarify that part without blurring another part of the picture! This is the primary
significance of the uncertainty principle.     At the subatomic level, we cannot observe something without
changing it. There is no such thing as the independent observer who can stand on the sidelines watching nature
run its course without influencing it. Classical physics is based on the assumption that our reality, irrespective
of us, runs its course in time and space according to strict causal laws. Not only can we observe it, we can also
predict its future by applying causal laws. But we cannot apply Newton‟s laws of motion to individual particles
that does not have an initial location and momentum. Newton‟s laws do not apply to subatomic particles.

                                           SUBATOMIC PARTICLES

                   Let us start with an ordinary toothpick. It is made of wood; wood is made of fibres; wood
fibres are made of cells; cells on magnification reveals pattern of molecules; molecules on high magnification
shows pattern of atoms and finally atoms turn out to be patterns of subatomic particles. Matter is actually a
series of patterns out of focus. The search for the ultimate stuff of the universe ends with the discovery that
there isn’t any. If there is any ultimate stuff of the universe, it is pure energy, but subatomic particles are not
“made of” energy; they are energy. What we have been calling matter (particles) constantly is being created,
annihilated and created again. This happens as particles interact and it also happens, literally, out of nowhere.

                   When a projectile of subatomic particles strikes a target (particle) both particles are destroyed
at the point of impact. In their place are created new particles, all of which are as elementary as the original
particles and often as massive as the original particles!

                 -    +   p      Ko +                          Negative pi meson (-) collides with a proton (p)
                                                                 Both the particles are destroyed and two new
                  Ko        - +                               particles a neutral K meson (Ko) and a lambda
                                                                 particle are created. Both these particles decay
                             - +    p                          spontaneously into two additional particles each.
                                                                 Of these four particles, two are the same particles
                                                                 that we started with.

The new particles are created from the kinetic energy of the projectile particle in addition to the mass of the
projectile particle and the target particle. Every subatomic interaction consists of the annihilation of the original
particles and the creation of new subatomic particles. The subatomic world is a continual activity of creation
and annihilation, of mass changing to energy and energy changing to mass. In the light of the quantum theory
elementary particles are no longer real in the same sense as objects of daily life, trees or stones.

                  Subatomic activities are studied from the tracks they leave in a bubble chamber which are
photographed. But what made these tracks? The best answer that physicists have so far come with is that
particles are actually interaction between fields.        When two fields interact with each other they do it
instantaneously and at one single point – instantaneously and locally. When a bubble chamber photograph of a
track is observed under high magnification they look like discontinuous dots rather than a continuous line.
These instantaneous and local interaction make what we call particles. In fact, according to the theory, these
instantaneous and local interactions are “particles”. The continual creation and annihilation of particles at the
subatomic level is the result of the continual interaction of different fields. This theory is called “Quantum Field
Theory”, by Paul Dirac, an English physicist.
                   The quantum field theory is premised on the assumption that physical reality is essentially
nonsubstantial. Fields alone are real and they are the substance of the universe and not matter.         What is
available to physicists is usually a black photograph from the bubble chamber with white lines on it. They know
that 1) subatomic particles have no independent existence of their own 2) subatomic particles have wave-like
characteristics as well as particle-like characteristics 3)subatomic particles actually may be manifestations of
interacting fields. They talk of subatomic particles as if they were real little objects that leave tracks in the
bubble chamber and have an independent existence. This convention, though not substantiated, has been
extremely productive. Over one hundred particles have been discovered so far.

                    The first distinguishing characteristic of a subatomic particle is its mass. By mass of a
particle, it is usually meant its rest mass. Its mass when in motion is relativistic mass. The relativistic mass of
a particle depends upon its velocity. At 99% of the velocity of light the mass of a particle is seven times its
rest mass and at 0.99986 of the velocity of light its mass increases to 60 times its rest mass.

                   The mass of a particle, whether rest mass or relativistic mass are measured in electron volts. It
is a unit of energy. The mass of a particle is measured in energy unit. If a particle is in motion it not only has
energy of being (its rest mass) but it also has energy of motion (kinetic energy). Both types of energy can be
used to create new particles in a particle collision. These particles are listed from the lightest to the heaviest:
the group of lighter particles are called “leptons” ; the medium ones “mesons” and heavier ones “baryons”.
Some of them do not fit into this framework. For example, photon which is a mass-less particle. A photon when
created, instantly travels at the speed of light. It cannot be slowed down nor can it be speeded up beyond the
speed of light.

                  The second characteristic of a subatomic particle is its charge. Every subatomic particle has a
positive or negative or neutral charge. Electric charge comes in one fixed amount. A particle can carry one or
two of the positive or negative charge, but not in between – no fractional charge. Like energy, charge is

                   The third characteristics of a subatomic particle is its spin. The spin of a particle is
maintained at the same rate. If the spin rate I altered the particle itself is destroyed. The spin of a subatomic
particle is calculated in terms of angular momentum. Angular momentum depends upon the mass and the rate
of spinning of an object. Every subatomic particle has a fixed, definite, and known angular momentum but
nothing spins1 Physicists use this concept because subatomic particles do behave as if they have angular
momentum. The angular momentum of a subatomic particle is based upon Planck‟s constant, which represents
the quantized nature of energy emission and absorption. The entire family of leptons, the light-weight particles
has a spin of ½ which means that they all have an angular momentum which is ½ of the angular momentum of a
photon. The mesons also have particular spin; their angular momenta are either 0, 1, 2, 3, etc of the angular
momentum of a photon and not anything in between.

                    Every particle has a counterpart which is exactly like it but opposite in several major respects.
This new set of particles are called anti-particles. Example: positive pi meson and negative pi meson. A few
particles are their own antiparticles like the photon. The meeting of a particle and its anti-particle always results
in instant annihilation of both particles in a puff of light (photons) Conversely, particles and antiparticles can be
created out of energy and always in pairs.
                    In 1949, Richard Feynman discovered that space-time maps like those below have exact
correspondence with mathematical expressions which give the probabilities of the interactions that they depict.
A particle, antiparticle annihilation is shown thus:-

An electron (e-) and a positron (e+) collide at the point
indicated by a dot, mutually annihilate each other and
two photons are created which depart in the opposite
directions at the speed of light. Events are indicated in
Feynman diagrams by dots. Every subatomic event is
marked by the annihilation of the initial particles and
the creation of new ones.
Here is a Feynman diagram of collision between negative pi meson and a proton particle:-

                 A negative pi meson collides with a proton, annihilate themselves, creating two new particles,
a neutral K meson and a Lambda particle. These new particles are unstable and live less than a billionth of a
second before they decay : neutral K meson into - and + and Lambda particle into - and p, the original two

                   In the Feynman diagram a particle can be indicated by an arrow upward and an antiparticle by
an arrow downward. This is an easy way of telling a particle from an antiparticle. Because the arrowheads
distinguish the particles from antiparticles, we can turn the original Feynman diagram around into any position
and still we will be able to distinguish one form the other.

1)   electron (e-), positron (e+) collision resulting in two photons.
2)   electron, photon collision resulting in a positron and a photon
3)   Two photons colliding, resulting in an electron and a positron
4)   A positron, photon collision resulting in an electron and a photon

                  Subatomic particles do not just sit around being subatomic particles. They are a beehive of
activity. An electron constantly emits and absorbs photons. These are not full-fledged photons. They are
exactly like photons except that they do not fly off on their own. They are reabsorbed by the electron almost as
soon as they are emitted. They are called “virtual” photons. The thing that keeps them from being full fledged
photons is their abrupt re-absorption by the electrons that emit them. The virtual photon exists only for about
one thousand trillionth (10-15) second. These photons are emitted by electrons in their ground state. They are
reabsorbed almost instantaneously so as not to violate the conservation law of mass-energy. Electrons are
always surrounded by a swarm of virtual photons. In the case of electrons in their excited state, the energy
absorbed by them is imparted to the released photons which are jettisoned with enough energy to keep going,
without violating the law of conservation of mass-energy.

                  If two electrons come close enough to each other, so as their virtual photons overlap, the
virtual photon emitted by one is absorbed by the other electron. The closer the electrons come together more
virtual photons they exchange. The more virtual photons they exchange, the more sharply their paths are
deflected the “repulsive force” between them is simply the cumulative effect of these exchanges of virtual
photons, the number of which increases at closer range and decreases at longer distances. According to
quantum field theory, the electromagnetic force between particles is the mutual exchange of virtual photons
                  Every electrically charged particle continuously emits and reabsorbs virtual photons and/or
exchanges them with other charged particles. When two particles with like charge exchange photons they
repulsed each other. When particles carrying positive charge exchange virtual photons with particles carrying
negative charge, there is attraction. Physicists call this “interaction” rather than attractive or repulsive force.

                   Virtual photons are not visible in a bubble chamber because of their extremely short lives.
Their existence is inferred mathematically. That particles exert force on each other by exchanging other
particles is a “free creation” of human mind It is not necessarily how nature “really is”, a mental construction
which correctly predicts what natures probably is. The most that one can say about this or any other theory in
not whether it is “true” or not but only whether it works or not.

                   The strong force keeps atomic nucleus together. It is one hundred times stronger than the
electromagnetic force. It is the strongest force in nature known. But it also has the shortest range If a free
proton is pushed to within about one ten-trillionth (10-13) of a centimetre of the nucleus, it is suddenly sucked
into the nucleus with a force one hundred times more powerful than the repulsive electromagnetic force. This
distance is about the size of the proton itself.

                   According to Yukawa, a Japanese scientist, the strong force is the exchange of another type of
virtual particle. A nucleon is a proton or a neutron. They are similar to each other except for their charge. He
calculated the energy (mass) of this hypothetical particle. Twelve years later this particle was identified as
meson. Some time later an entire family of mesons was discovered. A particular meson called “Pion” or pi
meson was identified to come in three varieties: positive, negative and neutral

                  A proton, like an electron, is a beehive of activity. It emits and reabsorbs virtual pions which
makes it susceptible to the strong force. The simplest proton self-interaction is the emission and reabsorption of
virtual pion. First there is a proton, then there is a proton and a neutral pion and then there is a proton again.
The new proton and the neutral pion constitute a violation of the conservation law of mass-energy since their
mass- energy together is greater than the mass of the original proton. This creation and reabsorption of the
neutral pion is done within an extremely short duration of time.

                There is yet another way in which a proton can interact with itself. It can emit a positive pion
and momentarily transform itself to a neutron. First there is a proton, then a neutron and a positive pion and a
proton again.

                 Every nucleus is surrounded by a cloud of virtual pions which are constantly emitted and
reabsorbed. If a proton comes close enough to a neutron so that their virtual particles overlap it is absorbed into
the nucleus.    Neutrons and protons also interact between themselves by emitting virtual particles and
reabsorbing them. Some of the possible interaction between a proton and a neutron inside a nucleus are shown
by the following Feynman diagrams.

           The universe, according to the physicists, is held together by four fundamental forces: 1) the strong
force 2) electromagnetic force 3) “weak” force and 4) gravitational force. Since the first two forces are
explained by the existence of virtual particles, physicists assume that the same can be true of the other two
forces. The particle associated with gravity is named “graviton” and those associated with weak force are called
“W” particles but their existence have not been discovered . They are only theorised. The range of the strong
force, relative to the electromagnetic force, is limited because mesons , relative to protons, have so much mass.
The momentary creation of a meson out of nothing is a much more flagrant violation of the conservation law of
mass-energy than the momentary creation of photons out of nothing. Therefore the creation and reabsorption of
a meson must happen much more quickly to stay within the protection of the uncertainty relation between time
and energy. Because the lifespan of a meson is limited, its range is also limited. The range of the strong force
is only about on ten-trillionth (10-13) of a centimetre whereas the range of the electromagnetic force is much
larger, it is infinite. This is because photons do not have rest mass. The only difference between a real photon
and a virtual photon is that the creation of a real photon does not violate the law of conservation of mass-energy
but the creation of a virtual photon avoids this law momentarily via the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

                   Particle interactions become quite intricate when virtual particles emit virtual particles which
emit virtual particles in a diminishing sequence. Below is a Feynman diagram of a virtual particle (a negative
pion) transforming itself momentarily into two more virtual particles, a neutron and an antiproton. This is the
simplest of self-interaction.

                 Kenneth Ford gives an example where eleven particles make their transient appearance
between the time a proton transforms itself through various virtual particles back to the original proton A
proton never remains a simple proton. All particles exist potentially as different combinations of other particles.
Each combination has a certain probability of happening. It is ultimately, chance that determines which of these
combinations actually occur.
                 Now we come to the most psychedelic aspect of particle physics.                Below are Fynman
diagrams of three particle interactions.

In these diagrams no world line leads up to the
and no world line leads away from them. It just happens.
It happens literally out of nowhere, for no apparent
reason and without any apparent cause. Where there
was no-thing suddenly, in a flash of spontaneous
existence, there are three particles which vanish without
any trace. This type of diagram is called a “vacuum
diagram” because the interaction happens in a vacuum.
From empty space comes something and that something disappears
again into “empty space”. It is not possible according
to our usual conceptions for “something” to come out of
“empty space”, but at the subatomic level it does, which
is what these vacuum diagrams illustrate. In other words
there is no such thing as “empty space”.

                   We have come a long way from Newton and his proverbial apple. Nonetheless, apples are a
real part of the apparent world. When we eat an apple we are aware of who is eating and what is being eaten as
distinct from the action of eating. This idea is clear to us because we have accepted it without question as the
basis of our reality. The history of scientific thought, if it teaches us anything at all, it teaches us the folly of
clutching ideas too closely. To this extent it is an echo of eastern wisdom which teaches us the folly of
clutching anything!

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