Science tells us that the world around us is made of tiny bits of matter called particles. We can get a sense for the truth behind this by breaking up anything around us into smaller parts. The piece of furniture in front of me, for example, can be cut smaller and smaller into ever-finer pieces. No matter how small the piece, however, it will still be particulate - a piece of something.
Science took this process to its endpoint by cutting up matter to the smallest possible size so far, and arrived at what we call elementary particles. Take a look around you. All the objects you see are aggregations of elementary particles that are only about 0.00000000000001 meters wide!
Going beyond the particle
- In this article from Symmetry Magazine, theoretical physicist Greg Gbur says particles "...travel freely through space as a wave."
- According to string theory, particles are the vibrations of a string.
- Invoking mass-energy equivalence, we can say a particle is a dense form of energy.
Accordingly, these waves or vibrations that we localize as particles are also delocalized processes. Let's dig deeper.