The Potentiality of Matter

Early in the twenty-first century, the old dualism of matter and spirit seems irrelevant. In the new theories of physicists, the fundamental material particles—protons, neutrons, electrons—dissolve into a kind of cosmic music, all resonances, vibrations, and spooky entanglements. Matter has revealed itself as a thing of astonishing, almost immaterial subtlety The one property of matter that lingers is its potentiality. The hydrogen and helium atoms forged in the Big Bang possessed a built-in capacity to complexify and diversify, to spin out stars and galaxies, carbon, silicon, oxygen, iron, and ultimately the rocky substrate of the Earth, even life and consciousness. Far from explaining away the mystery of the world, our new knowledge of matter rubs our noses in mystery. The more we learn, the more we become aware that matter—ordinary matter, even the handful of glacial drift that I scoop up along the path—is more than we had ever dared to guess.


From simple hydrogen atoms, it is incredible what can become of matter.

Folksonomies: nature physics wonder

/food and drink (0.572052)
/business and industrial (0.529602)
/religion and spirituality (0.503425)

simple hydrogen atoms (0.929667 (neutral:0.000000)), matter (0.886679 (positive:0.191033)), fundamental material particles—protons (0.729990 (neutral:0.000000)), matter—ordinary matter (0.683385 (neutral:0.000000)), immaterial subtlety (0.507720 (neutral:0.000000)), spooky entanglements (0.482053 (neutral:0.000000)), helium atoms (0.476899 (negative:-0.497014)), twenty-first century (0.450107 (neutral:0.000000)), old dualism (0.449535 (negative:-0.285008)), glacial drift (0.422229 (negative:-0.531683)), cosmic music (0.407939 (positive:0.485453)), rocky substrate (0.398448 (negative:-0.353181)), built-in capacity (0.394989 (negative:-0.497014)), Big Bang (0.394908 (negative:-0.497014)), new theories (0.386412 (neutral:0.000000)), potentiality (0.354804 (neutral:0.000000)), new knowledge (0.340511 (positive:0.374026))

Hydrogen (0.972494): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Atom (0.865206): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Deuterium (0.795876): dbpedia | freebase
Chemical element (0.782236): dbpedia | freebase
Helium (0.716754): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Universe (0.660301): dbpedia | freebase
Big Bang (0.646461): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Earth (0.641205): dbpedia | freebase

 The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Raymo , Chet (2003-03-01), The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe, Walker & Company, Retrieved on 2011-06-08
Folksonomies: science naturalism


01 JAN 2010

 The Wonder is All Around You

Memes from scientists about the beauty and wonder all around us.