# The Substance of Matter

Since the time of the
*Greek Philosophers*, and possible even before
that, people have sought to understand the nature of the universe. If
we put aside the speculation of metaphysical belief, we are left with
the scope of speculation within science itself, which might be articulated
in a more physical question:

What is the substance of the universe?

Today, some believe the essence of this question has been answered
in the form of the
*standard particle model* *, *although the actual
details now appear to be buried in
*quantum field theory (QFT)*, encompassing
Quantum Electro-Dynamics (QED), Quantum Chromo-Dynamics (QCD) and Electro-Weak
Theory (EWT). However, the
*semantics* of these models can create a seemingly
ambiguous description that requires *‘conceptual’* point-mass particles,
e.g. electrons, which exist within an array of *‘conceptual’* quantum
fields, e.g. static, scalar, vector and spinor, where particle interactions
are described in terms of equally *‘conceptual’* force-carrier
particles, e.g. bosons. While some might rightly challenge the over
emphasis of the word *‘conceptual’*, the counter-argument is that
any idea of physical reality within the quantum model appears to have
come to rest on mathematical probability, where further debate reduces
to one of ontological or epistemological preference.

Note: In the current context, ontological is used to describe what things are, while epistemological is used to define what we think we know about what things are. As such, an ontological model would be more orientated to a physical cause and effect description, while an epistemological model might be more orientated toward mathematical abstraction.

So is the substance of universe physical or mathematical?

In one of the *opening sections* of
*speculative science**, *it
was argued that any fundamental description of the universe might only
require the definition of space, time and energy. For it was argued
that the idea of mass being necessarily to define energy has to be reversed;
although in order to proceed with this idea, the concept of energy as
a scalar quantity would require a mechanism by which it could be transported
in space and time. In this respect, the physics of waves might be the
only obvious possibility that is capable of transporting both energy
and momentum, which then brings us to the next question:

How would these waves propagate through space and time?

From a historical perspective, this question appears to be the central and divisive issue, which prevents mainstream science from seriously considering any speculative model that makes reference to space as a medium of wave propagation. For the non-existence of space as a wave medium is generally believed to have been empirically proven by the Michelson-Morley experiment and then theoretically superseded by Einstein’s relativity, such that the need for its existence was negated. Today, many will also cite Maxwell’s equations as evidence that electromagnetic waves self-propagate through space without any need of space as a medium of propagation. However, at the time of publication of Maxwell’s theory, in 1865, mainstream consensus was possibly more open to the idea that the underlying nature of the universe being predicated on energy propagating on waves linked to the fabric of space. We might use a quote by James Maxwell himself to highlight this position:

In fact, whenever energy is transmitted from one body to another in time, there must be a medium or substance in which the energy exists after it leaves one body and before it reaches the other and if we admit this medium as a hypothesis, I think it ought to occupy a prominent place in our investigations, and that we ought to endeavour to construct a mental representation of all the details of its action, and this has been my constant aim in this treatise.

Of course, this does not mean that we should simply forget the note
of caution attributed to
*William Clifford* in his paper ‘*The Ethics
of Belief*’ , which has been so often quoted throughout this website:

`it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone,

to believe anything
on insufficient evidence`

However, it might also be highlighted that the idea underpinning
a wave structure of matter was possibly first outlined, some 130 years
ago, by William Clifford himself. For Clifford was also a well-respected
mathematician who introduced what is now termed ‘* Clifford algebra
*’ as an extension of ‘*geometric algebra’*. For Clifford had
a special interest in mathematical physics and geometry and was possibly
the first to suggest that gravitation might be a manifestation of an
underlying geometry and made the following series of statements at the
Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1870:

That small portions of space are in fact of a nature analogous to little hills on a surface which is on the average flat; namely, that the ordinary laws of geometry are not valid in them…that this property of being curved or distorted is continually being passed on from one portion of space to another after the manner of a wave…that this variation of the curvature of space is what really happens in that phenomenon which we call the motion of matter, whether ponderable or ethereal that in the physical world nothing else takes place but this variation, subject (possibly) to the law of continuity.

While the scope of Clifford’s contribution to mathematics may not
now be well known, James Beichler wrote an article in 2010 entitled
‘*Twist and Shout*’ that details his work. Likewise, James Chappell and
Derek Abbott published a technical paper, in 2013, entitled ‘*Geometric
Algebra: A natural representation of 3-space’ *that also acknowledges
the contribution and ongoing relevance of Clifford’s work in the field
of mathematical science. In 1890, Ernst Mach forwarded the idea that
the law of inertia depended on all the matter of the universe, which
is today known as *Mach's Principle*. This idea was initially an influential
factor in Einstein's development of
*general relativity*, as Einstein
perceived the overall distribution of matter, as specified in a '*metric
tensor**' *, as a factor in determining whether a frame of reference
is rotating. Subsequently, research into
*frame dragging* and the conservation
of gravitational angular momentum also came to consider Mach’s principle
within certain solutions of general relativity. However, today, many
see Mach’s principle as being too vague, mainly because a number of
its interpretations have been proved false. However, encapsulated in
the early work of Clifford and Mach was the suggestion that mass and
charge do not exist as an isolated property of a particle, but rather
as a property of a wave-field structure that extends throughout space.
In this context, ‘*particles*’ or ‘*matter*’ or *‘substance*’
all simply become an emergent property of an underlying energy wave
structure, which might be linked to the ‘*fabric of space*’. While this
claim will undoubtedly cause the alarm-bells of mainstream physics to
sound loudly, it would seem that general relativity is still often encapsulated
in the quote by John Wheeler:

All the matter of the universe tells space what it is.

Then space
tells the matter of the universe how it must behave.

Of course, mainstream science will argue that the intended inference
of this quote has to still be considered in the context of the
*Michelson-Morley
experiment* and the apparent
*self-propagation of EM waves* through the
empty vacuum of space. Even so, there still seems to be an implication
that there is some aspect of space that is allowed to curve; while Einstein
also wrote:

Hence the material particle has no place as a fundamental concept in a field theory.

Continuing along the historical timeline, the foundations of quantum
mechanics and its description of the atomic structure would lead to
the ‘*duality*' of wave-like and particle-like properties. In 1922,
*Compton* provided a measure of experimental evidence that light had a
particle-like nature, as predicted by Einstein as early as 1904. Then,
in 1924, *deBroglie* appeared to reverse the argument by forwarding
the hypothesis that an electron particle also had a wave-like nature.
This said, subsequent developments in quantum physics would abstract
the description of both the particle-like nature of light and the wave-like
nature of particles in terms of an essentially mathematical description
of *Schrodinger’s wave function [ψ]* *. *While Schrödinger initially
forwarded the idea that the wave function described a wave that was
real, this idea was rejected by
*Max Born*, who argued that the wave
function only represented a probability of finding a *‘particle’*
in a region of space, after the wave function had
collapsed. The subsequent
support for Born’s interpretation would eventually lead to a series
of ‘*theoretical interpretations*', essentially mathematical in scope
but often wrapped in a philosophical framework, which simply predicted
the probability of some given outcome. This trend then continued in
the post-war era to the point that the mathematical model was considered
by many to have become the new de-facto description of reality, but
not necessarily by all. However, somewhat at odds with this view, the
experimental development of the
*particle model*
only seemed to lead towards an apparently never-ending list of new
particles. So while some did try to question this mathematical
interpretation of reality, it came to be consider as the only
practical approach within the ‘*shut
up and calculate*' school of theoretical physics; even although it was one
that Edwin Schrodinger himself never really came to embrace:

Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum theory held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody.

Likewise, it might be said that
*Paul Dirac*, another eminent physicist
in pre-war quantum mechanics, also became increasingly concerned about
the consequences of a discrete point particle in respect to the infinity
associated with Coulomb’s force law that would later require a mathematical
correction known as ‘*renormalization*’. To quote:

This is just not sensible mathematics. Sensible mathematics involves neglecting a quantity because it turns out to be small, not neglecting it because it is infinitely large and you do not want it! Of course the inference is that the basic equations are wrong and radical changes need to be made."

Later, in 1945, Wheeler and Feynman^{ }would try to model
the electron as spherical inward and outward electromagnetic waves*
*in an attempt to explain radiation forces; although Milo Wolff would
later argue that there are no spherical solutions of an electromagnetic
wave equation involving vectors. However, the idea that every particle
might be linked to outward and inward waves permeating the universe
might have a possible solution, if ‘*scalar* *waves’* were
considered. However, this possible solution did not emerge until 1985,
when first proposed by
*Milo Wolff*, who then went on to describe a solution
that might now be recognised as the ‘*WSM model**’** *.

So where is this model today?

Despite the efforts of Wolff, and others, this model appears to have failed to gain any acceptance in the face of mainstream developments anchored in quantum theory. Of course, it might be argued, as in the case of cosmology, that any idea outside of mainstream research and development can simply be starved of resources such that they become side-lined into obscurity.