A Particle Perspective
First and foremost it should be clarified that the main focus of this section is the initial classical perspective of the particle model prior to the establishment of the current particle model anchored in quantum field theory.
However, no matter how you approach this subject, it should be recognised that the scope and details of the standard particle model has occupied some of the best minds on our planet for over 100 years, which in many respects has expanded to include the molecular and organic extensions to the basic atomic model. As such, it might seem more than a little provocative to start this section with the following question:
Could the foundations of this accepted model be wrong?
Before you cry 'blasphemy', let me quickly explain the context behind this question. This section is one of a number of foundation sciences being described as a ‘duty of inquiry’ rather than the rote acceptance of the particle model, some attempt is being made to look into the assumptions that underpin this model. History might also forgive the impertinence of the question, for it seems that almost every generation has come to challenge and eventually overturned previous scientific models that were previously considered as a foundation stone of established fact, before subsequently being overturned by another model.
Of course, this has not always meant the previous models were wrong, simply incomplete. For example, Newtonian mechanics is not necessarily incorrect, but is said not to fully account for the effects of relativistic velocities and gravitational proximity. In much the same way, the particle model may only be a convenient approximation of the true nature of matter. As in other discussions, we will start by reviewing the historical development of the particle model before making any other assumptions, as history often provides a useful perspective, which sometimes reminds us how entrenched unsubstantiated ideas can become. As such, the scope of this initial section will only try to outline the most salient issues within the following inter-related models:
Based on this outline, it is hoped that an initial baseline of understanding can be established against which some questions can be tabled, which may then be addressed as we progress towards the complexity of today’s scientific hypotheses and theories.