[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

States of Matter (continued)

Sep 29, 1994 05:02 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

This is by Eldon Tucker

       This continues a posting from yesterday on states
of matter. Any scientific corrections and/or
enhancements to what I'm writing about would be
appreciated. The subject is relatively new to me. It may
take several iterations using the key of analogy before
I can really tap into the symbolic significance of the

---- States of Matter (Continued)

       The Bose condensation is considered the lowest
possible energy state for matter. For all practical
purposes, it could be called absolute zero, since there
is no physics beyond it.
       In the experiments, a hydrogen vapor is being used.
Extremely-light atoms like hydrogen are more susceptible
to quantum uncertainty, and because of their small mass
they can be "spread out" with less prodding, and overlap
their neighbors at a higher temperature. At a very low
temperature, a particle has a precise velocity (zero),
so its position becomes highly uncertain, wavelike, and
blurred, and the particle with bump into fellow
particles after a while. As they overlap, a change
happens. They learn that others are there, and want to
come together and act together as one. The properties of
matter in this state are unknown, and could
spontaneously change from one instance to the next.
       The temperatures achieved are about 100
microkelvin, as compared to the record of 1 microkelvin.
(It's not *the* coldest spot in the universe, as I
mentioned yesterday, but one of the coldest.) Atoms,
which would move 1000 feet/second at room temperature,
now move at 1/2 inch/second.
       The atoms are herded together by laser beams, much
like opposing fire hoses trained on a soccer ball. This
is assisted by a magnetic field that gets stronger near
the edge of the vapor, pushing stray atoms back to the
center. In one to two seconds the vapor is chilled, with
the atoms packed tightly enough to reflect laser light.
A vague greenish haze appears, and builds into a
distinct spherical cloud. The density of the Bose
condensate is higher than ordinary vapor with more atoms
to scatter light, so when the condensation happens, the
scientists expect to see a bright, shiny ball right in
the middle of the cloud.

       We see that matter changes its character as it is
heated up, or cooled down. At certain temperatures it
undergoes a state change, and acquires certain
properties. At extremely high temperatures it may
irreversibly break down (like if water is broken down
into two gasses there is no guarantee those gasses will
come together again to form water when they are cooled
down again). At lower, cooler temperatures, matter slows
down and becomes more orderly (like when volatile gasses
liquefy, becoming wet and sedentary). The cooling causes
matter to congeal, condense, settle, and get sedate.
       Depending upon the type of matter, there is a
different sensitivity to temperature. At room
temperature, oxygen is a gas, water is liquid, copper is
solid. At a higher temperature, water boils and becomes
a gas. Still higher, copper melts and becomes a liquid.
At a cooler temperature, water freezes, becoming solid.
Still cooler, oxygen becomes a liquid. Each type of
matter has its own temperature, its own level of heat
(energy) that causes it to change states.
       Speculation: What if there are other kinds of
matter, with their own characteristics, including
widely-different temperature sensitivities? How would
this show up to us? Could such matter only physically
appear in the heart of a sun or in the coldest of
intergalactic space?

       There are two types of particles. One is called
fermions. This includes protons, electrons, and other
ordinary particles. They have a half-integer "spin". A
new type of particles, called bosons, have spin in units
of whole integers.
       Fermions stay out of each other's orbits; they
stand apart. This property gives atoms their structure.
Bosoms are drawn together; they have a social property
that allows for clumping together in unlimited numbers.
This sociability allows for large numbers of light
particles, for instance, to congregate in the same
       Atoms are composed of fermions, and are themselves
fermions (individualists) or bosons (collectivists)
depending upon the sum of the total spins of their
particles. (Having an even number of fermions makes them
a fermion; an odd number makes them a boson.) Hydrogen
atoms, for instance, are bosons, since they have two
fermions, a single-proton nucleus and a single electron,
giving a total spin of 1/2 + 1/2 = 1.
       Speculation: In terms of cycles, when we are 1/2
way through, we are at the most-material point, the
point of greatest separateness. At this point, our
"cyclic spin" is X + 1/2 Manvantaras. Are we most like
fermions at this point?

       The plasma state has matter in a disordered
mixture, electrically charged, and which glows under the
right conditions.
       Question: Do all molecules break apart into their
component atoms, when heated, before reaching the plasma

       At the top of the energy scale, protons are split
apart into quarks. Then we have quark matter, a sea of
disconnected quarks that are so weird that their
properties are not known. Early theosophical literature
was written at a time when the basic building block of
matter was the "atom", which had for ages been
considered indivisible. Metaphysical analogies were
built up using "atom" as corresponding to the Monad, the
basic unit of individual identity. Should we now use
"quark" instead of "atom" in our writings?
       Question: Any ideas on speculation on this point?

       As solids are further cooled, they reach the next
state: superconductivity and superfluity. In this state
atomic particles move in step, taking on almost magical
properties. Electricity flows without resistance.
Liquids flow up and out of bottles, or flow down through
the bottom of ceramic containers. There is an unnatural
orderliness, as groups of particles move as one.
       Speculation: As we "cool down" the desires and
mind, do we reach an analogous state of clarity, as our
thoughts and feelings move in step, taking on almost
magical properties?

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application