Please read How small is an atom, Introduction to Quantum physics, 8 unique features of Quantum world and The Nature of Nothing before or in conjunction with this article.
Universe is made up of energy
O people you already have an idea of the vastness of this universe and as well as its smallest things and building blocks. When physicists began to examine the relationship between energy and the structure of matter then the belief that a physical, Newtonian material universe that was at the very heart of scientific knowledge was abandoned, and the realization that matter is nothing but an illusion replaced it. Scientists began to recognize that everything in the Universe is made out of energy.
Digging inside Matter
I told you in Part 24 that the first person who gave the concept of the smallest particle was Democritus in 460 BC. Then in 1897 J.J.Thomson discovered Electron then in 1911 Ernest Rutherford presented the idea of nucleus & electron and after that Neils Bohr gave the model of the atom with nucleus inside and electron in different orbits moving around the nucleus. And in 1970 we found that proton and neutron are also not basic fundamental particles but made up of quarks. So now we know that every material thing is made up of three particles electron, up quark and down quark.
Building blocks of this Universe
Everything we see in the universe, all the diversity in the natural world, all stars, planets, plants, animals, I myself, you, your laptop, clothes all made up of the same three particles with slightly different arrangements repeated over and over again. These particles the electron and two quarks are the building blocks of all that around us. This is what is being taught to our people our students in colleges and universities of most advanced schools even in Europe and America. But the fact is that it is not true. It is a lie that we tell students so that not to expose them to the disturbing truth too early. The best theories that physicist have do not have the electron particle and two quark particles, but the fact is that they don’t rely on particles at all i.e the primary building blocks of nature are not particles, but something much more obscure and abstract. The building blocks of nature are fluid like substances which are spread throughout the entire universe and ripple in strange and interesting ways. That’s the reality in which we live. These fluid like substances are called fields. Although the latest scenario is again changing and these fields may get replaced in the near future with little tiny strings as in String theory but as of today the most reliable time tested and tried theory of the explanation of all that around us is this Quantum Field theory.
So we have two fundamental theories of physics: quantum
field theory and general relativity. Quantum field theory takes quantum mechanics and special relativity into account and is a comprehensive theory of all the forces and particles except gravity. General relativity is an excellent theory of gravity, but it ignores quantum mechanics. Nobody knows how to reconcile these theories yet. That’s what people working on quantum gravity, String theory, Supersymmetry theories, M Theory are trying to do. But in general, the scientific community now a days is divided in favor of one or other theories.
Illusion of Reality
Quantum field theory extends quantum mechanics from single particles to fields that exist everywhere. Quantum field theory tells us the fundamental of the universe are fields or a single unified field that is made up of many distinct and superimposed fields. These fields fill the entire universe making the fabric of cosmos and are not stacking over one another but meshed with each other and occupy the same space. It’s not an idea that scientists just come up with. It’s an idea which dates back almost 200 years and is credited to Michael Faraday as he talked about electric and magnetic fields. And that it is just a property of space and that the magnetic field is present in the fabric of space itself. It is already there, but now it is entirely new in the form of Quantum Field Theory which says not only electricity and Magnetism but matter also originates like this. Material objects are also nothing but the result of energy momentum moving around and responding to things like charge and spin and it is their complex relationships that give rise to matter.
The standard model of particle physics
The field is there and all you need is to bring the right sort of energy to activate it or turn it on. So this is the universe we live in. There are 12 fields that give matter, and four other fields that are the forces. And the world we live in is the blending of these 16 fields all interacting together in interesting ways. One more field is Higgs field, responsible for the mass of everything. This is predicted in 1960’s then after 50 years in 2012 we found Higgs Boson the particle and later in 2015 the Higgs field. The 12 matter fields are six quarks fields for Up/Down, Charm/Strange, Top/Bottom quarks and 6 for Leptons i.e Electron, Muon, Tau and their respective Neutrinos. And the four force fields in which the electromagnetic force, carried by the photon, creates electric and magnetic fields and is responsible for chemical bonding and electromagnetic waves inclusive of light. The Strong Force carried by a particle called the gluon, and is responsible for the binding of quarks together to form hadrons like protons and neutrons. As an extra effect, it creates the nuclear force that binds the latter particles to form atomic nuclei. The weak force carried by particles called W and Z bosons, also acts on the nucleus of atoms, mediating radioactive decay.
Altogether we call it the standard model. The gravitational force is credited to the curvature of spacetime, described by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
Physical Reality is Empty Space Buzzing With Energy
We are all connected to each other
So in Quantum Field theory physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating, each one radiating its own unique energy signature. All is actually energetic vibrations confined to that particular field and these minimal excitations of the field are what are called quantum and plural of which is quanta. The basis of this theory is that energy is not continuous. Energy in this universe is always parceled up into some little discrete lumps. That’s actually what the word quantum means. Quantum means discrete or a lump. And the ripples of the waves of this fluid, the ripples of the field in case it is a matter field, get bound into little bundles of energy by the rules of quantum mechanics, and those bundles of energy are what we call the particle, the electron the quarks.
All the particles that exist in your body are waves of the same underlying field. And we’re all connected to each other. Just like the waves on the sea all belong to the same, the particles in your body are ripples of the same field as the particles in someone else body.