The process whereby the compound unit of motion that we call an atom is produced by applying a rotational motion to a previously existing vibrational motion, the photon, is typical of the manner in which the complex phenomena of the universe are built up from simple foundations. We start with the motion of the progression: a uniform linear, or translational, motion at unit velocity. Then by introducing a displacement and thus altering the space-time ratio we create a vibrational motion. Next the vibrating unit is caused to rotate. The addition of this motion of a different type alters the behavior of the unit—gives it different properties, as we say in the vernacular of science—and puts it into a new physical category.
All of the more complex physical entities with which we will deal in the subsequent pages are similarly built up by compounding the simpler motions previously existing. In order to facilitate following the explanation of this process as it will be presented item by item in the discussion, Chart A has been prepared to show the development that has taken place thus far, and more extended versions of the same chart, showing the successive additions to the original combinations, will be introduced at appropriate points in the pages that follow.
The factor which makes the great proliferation of these physical entities possible in spite of the fact that only one component—motion—is available for their construction, is the wide variety of forms in which this motion can exist, because of the directional freedom introduced by the three-dimensionality of space and time. First, there is a distinction between two general geometrical types of motion: (1) rotational (R) and (2) linear or translational (L). Then in addition to unidirectional motion of these two types, which we will designate by the symbols as shown, there may also exist vibrational motion of either type; that is, motion which is otherwise similar but which reverses direction periodically. For these we will use the symbols RV and LV. Furthermore, some of these motions can exist coincidentally in more than one dimension. Thus we may have a unit rotating in only one dimension (R1), another similar unit rotating in two dimensions (R2), and still another rotating in three dimensions (R3). Finally, there is a substantial difference in behavior (properties) between velocities, which are above unity (multiple units of space associated with single units of time), and those, which are below unity (multiple units of time associated with single units of space).
The matter of terminology presents some problems here. We will apply the term positive (+) to high velocity vibration (high frequency radiation) and the term negative (-) to low velocity vibration (low frequency radiation). The direct rotational additions to the photons of radiation must have the opposite space-time direction, as previously noted, and there are some cogent arguments in favor of recognizing this reversal in the terms that are applied, but in order to avoid confusion it seems advisable to follow established precedents, and the rotational additions to the positive vibration will therefore be designated as positive in this work. Thus a material atom consists of R3+ superimposed on LV1+. On the basis of this usage, the term “positive” is identified with the normal sequence of additions in the material system, rather than with a specific space-time direction.
The concept of physical entities as compound motions is one of the greatest contributions which the Reciprocal System makes toward the clarification of the physical picture, and it is one which is particularly significant because the existing situation in the atomic and “elementary particle” fields is nothing short of chaotic. Present opinion is that the atom is a composite of smaller units. This idea originates primarily from the observation that, under appropriate conditions, atoms disintegrate, and in the process smaller particles make their appearance. Although it is now generally admitted that the particles which emanate from the disintegrating atom do not have the properties which atomic constituents, if there are any such, must necessarily possess, the observed disintegration is nevertheless accepted, in current scientific thought, as proof that the atom is composed of “elementary particles.” As pointed out in The Case Against the Nuclear Atom, what we have here is the strange contention that the emergence of certain particles from the disintegrating atom is proof that the atom is composed of certain other particles.
Furthermore, no clue has ever been discovered as to the nature and origin of the force that holds the “parts” of the atom together, if any such parts exist, even though an enormous amount of time and effort has been devoted to searching for some kind of an explanation, “probably more man-hours than have been given to any other scientific question in the history of mankind,”82 we are told. The only recourse thus far has been to fall back on an ad hoc postulate that a “nuclear force” exists for this specific purpose and nothing else. This is identical, except in the method of its expression, to the solution, which our primitive ancestors found for the difficult problems with which they were faced. The purely hypothetical “nuclear force” invented to hold the “parts” of the atom together for the baffled physicist is exactly the same kind of a thing as the “demon” that would have been invented for the same purpose in an earlier era, had the question arisen then.
In principle, modern science scorns the appeal to the supernatural by which primitive man tried to explain the unknown, but a purely hypothetical force invented ad hoc and totally lacking in any independent evidence of its existence is no less supernatural than any spirit or demon. It is simply a demon by another name. “There is a strong hint,” says Fred Hoyle, “that what modern man has tried to do with the universe is no better than what primitive man did with problems whose nature we now find simple.”83
If it could legitimately be claimed that the situation is improving and that science is definitely moving closer to a logical explanation of the atomic and sub-atomic relationships, there might be some justification for believing that current theory is on the right track, in spite of its many defects and inconsistencies, but experimental progress has dealt a whole series of body blows to current ideas in recent years. One very embarrassing development is the ever-increasing number of “elementary” particles, which has now reached the stage where, as Henry Margenau expresses it, the word “elementary” has become the equivalent of “perplexing,” “enigmatic,” etc.84 This, in itself, is a clear indication that the true role of the particles of modern physics is something other than that of “parts” of atoms.
However, the most devastating discovery of recent years is that there are no permanent “building blocks” of the kind that current theory visualizes as the ultimate constituents of the atoms of matter. The prevailing atomic and particle theories were developed on the assumption that the universe is constructed of a number—just how large a number has always been quite indefinite—of these permanent and distinctive “building blocks,” basic entities of one kind or another, and that the manifold aspects in which natural phenomena occur are simply the result of combining these basic entities in different proportions and in different forms of construction. Experience with the high energies now available to the experimenters has disclosed, however, that nothing is permanent. These presumably distinctive “building blocks” are breaking down, recombining, and exchanging identities in a manner that, as Robert Marshak admits, is “extremely disconcerting”85 to the present-day physicist. It is by this time firmly established that all of the basic physical entities—atoms, particles, radiation, translatory motion, electric and magnetic charges, etc.—are interchangeable. It may not always be possible to convert entity A into entity B directly, but the indications are that such a conversion can be accomplished by means of an indirect, if not a direct, process.
The present situation, then, is that the atom can be subdivided, but none of the products of that subdivision, nor any other known particle, has the characteristics which would qualify it to be a constituent of the intact atom, unless with the help of a “demon.” It is also clear, on the basis of the information now available, that there is some common denominator underlying not only atoms and particles, but radiation and even translatory motion as well, and it is equally clear that none of the observed particles can qualify as this common denominator. The place of these particles in the physical picture is thus a complete mystery so far as present-day physics is concerned.
An even greater mystery is why the complete collapse of the “building block” theory of the function of the sub-atomic particles under the impact of modern experimental discoveries is not more generally recognized. Even the great tenacity with which the human mind holds to cherished ideas of long standing is hardly sufficient to explain retention of the current concepts and theories of atomic and particle physics in the face of the overwhelming evidence that these ideas are completely in error in almost every detail. The faith which the physicists still place in these battered and threadbare concepts is all the more remarkable since it is freely conceded that “drastic” changes will be required in the “fundamental ideas” of current theory, which, after all, is just another way of saying that the existing situation is hopeless and that we must have a new structure of theory. Consider these statements, for example:
From Sir George Thomson—
There is some new idea wanted to make these new pieces fall into place in the puzzle…. When the idea comes it may very probably involve a recasting of fundamental ideas and the abandonment of something that we now take completely for granted.86
From Freeman J. Dyson—
For the last ten years it has been clear to most physicists that a basic conceptual innovation will be needed in order to come to grips with the properties of elementary particles.14
From P. A. M. Dirac—
There (in dealing with the new particles) the theory is still in a primitive stage. It is fairly certain that there will have to be drastic changes in our fundamental ideas before these problems can be solved.4
From Norbert Weiner—
There is a general feeling that the multiplicity of fundamental particles in physics is intolerable and is bound to be replaced in the near future by a much more unified physics in which both quantum theory and relativity are to be recast.87
From the standpoint of the present discussion, the most significant feature of these statements is the unanimous recognition of the fact that the situation is so serious that heroic measures are required; that “fundamental” and “basic” ideas must be changed. Modern “particle” theory is bankrupt. It is no wonder, then, that the process of extrapolation, which is a far more reliable method of deriving the basic hypotheses needed for the construction of a theory than anything that was used in the development of the previously existing ideas that are now in such a sorry state, leads us to a totally new concept of the structure of the atom and an equally novel concept of the nature of the sub-atomic particles. We could not logically expect anything else, in view of the situation portrayed in the foregoing quotations. How else could we get a “recasting of fundamental ideas,” a “drastic change,” or a “basic conceptual innovation?” The complete lack of resemblance between the new theory and the old should occasion no surprise; all of the indicators clearly pointed in this direction long in advance.
Nor should it be in any way surprising, in view of the inherently strong probability that the extrapolated conclusions are correct, when the new theory overcomes, in an easy and natural way, all of the obstacles that loomed so large to its predecessors. Here is Outstanding Achievement Number Five. No longer is it necessary to invoke the aid of spirits or demons—or their modern equivalents: mysterious hypothetical “forces” of a purely ad hoc nature—to explain how the parts of the atom hold together. There is nothing to explain because the atom has no separate parts. It is one integral unit, and the special and distinctive characteristics of each kind of atom are not due to the way in which separate “parts” are put together, but are due to the nature and magnitude of the several distinct motions of which each atom is composed.
At the same time, this explanation of the structure of the atom tells us why such a unit can expel particles or disintegrate into smaller units even though it has no separate parts; how it can act, in some respects, as if it were an aggregate of sub-atomic units even though it is actually a single integral entity. Such a structure can obviously part with some of its motion or absorb additional units of motion without in any way altering the fact that it is a single entity, not a collection of parts. When the pitcher throws a curve ball, it is still a single unit—it is a baseball—even though it now has both a translational motion and a rotational motion, which it did not have while still in his hand. We do not have to worry about what kind of a “force” holds the rotational “part,” the translational “part” and the horsehide covered “nucleus” together.
There has been a general impression that if we can get particles out of an atom, then there must be particles in atoms; that is, the atom must be constructed of sub-atomic particles. This conclusion seems so natural and logical that it has survived what would ordinarily be a fatal blow: the discovery, as previously mentioned, that the particles which emanate from the atom in the process of radioactive disintegration do not have the properties which are required in order that they may be constituents of the atom. Three kinds of particles are ejected from the disintegrating atom. The gamma particles are photons, units of radiation, which have never been visualized as possible atomic constituents. The alpha particles are charged helium atoms, and it is generally conceded that they are not suitable elementary “building blocks.” The beta particles are electrons. While current theory looks upon the electron as one of the atomic constituents, the present viewpoint is that the electrons emitted in radioactivity were not present as such in the preexisting atom but were created in the act of emission. Furthermore, the properties which an electron must have in order to be a constituent of an atom are totally unlike the properties of the electron that is actually observed. The whole concept of an atom constructed of “parts” thus bogs down in confusion.
It is now apparent that all of this confusion has resulted from the wholly gratuitous, but hitherto unquestioned, assumption that the sub-atomic particles have the characteristics of “parts“; that is, they exist as particles in the structure of the atom, they require something in the nature of a “force” to keep them in position, and so on. When we substitute motions for parts, in accordance with the conclusions of the Reciprocal System, the entire situation automatically clears up. Atoms are compound motions, sub-atomic particles are less complex motions of the same general nature, and photons are simple motions. An atom, even though it is a single unitary structure without separate parts, can eject some of its motion or transfer it to some other structure. If the motion which separates from the atom is translational, it reappears as translational motion of some other unit; if it is linear vibration, it reappears as radiation; if it is a rotational motion of less than atomic complexity, it reappears as a sub-atomic particle; if it is a complex rotational motion it reappears as a smaller atom. In any of these cases, the status of the original atom changes according to the nature and magnitude of the motion that is lost.
The explanation of the observed interchangeability of the various physical entities is now obvious. All of these entities are forms of motion or combinations of different forms, hence any of them can be changed into some other form or combination of forms by appropriate means. Motion is the common denominator of the physical universe.
In the past there has been considerable speculation about the possibility that energy might have such a status; that all-physical entities might in some way be merely different forms of energy. In a sense this is true, as wherever there is motion there is energy. But energy is a scalar quantity, and it does not have the capability of being subdivided into the multiplicity of distinct categories that are required in order to account for the great variety of physical phenomena. It is true that there are subdivisions such as kinetic energy, electrical energy, etc., but these are merely auxiliary classifications; they play no part in the measurement of energy. An erg is an erg, whether it is a kinetic erg or an electrical erg. Motion, on the other hand, is vectorial, and all of the infinite variety resulting from its three-dimensionality is reflected both in the qualitative and the quantitative relations. A unit of vibrational motion is not fully equivalent to a unit of rotational motion. But it can be converted to a unit of rotational motion by appropriate processes.
The reasons for the existence of certain limitations on the transformations of this kind are practically self-evident. A structure requiring a total of n units of motion cannot be formed from a single unit containing less than n units, a rotating unit cannot be formed from purely translational units unless the equivalent of a mechanical couple is available, a very complex structure cannot be formed by a single process, and so on. But any physical structure can be broken down into simple units of motion, and under suitable conditions, any possible structure can be built up from simple units of motion, as all physical structures are constructed entirely of the one entity: motion.
As indicated in the foregoing discussion, the observed sub-atomic particles—neutrons, electrons, etc.—are not parts from which atoms are constructed; they are complex motions of the same general character as the atoms, but with a lower degree of complexity. The term “sub-atomic particle” is still quite appropriate in this new context and it will be retained in this work, but the term “elementary particle” must be discarded. There are no “elementary” particles in the sense of basic units from which other structures are constructed. The particle is smaller and less complex than the atom, but it is by no means elementary; the elementary unit is the unit of motion.
The place which the sub-atomic particles occupy in the hierarchy of motions can easily be identified by a further consideration of Chart A. As that chart indicates, the atom is a structure with a three-dimensional rotation; that is, rotation is taking place around all three of the mutually perpendicular axes. But it is not essential that rotation be three-dimensional. It can equally well be two-dimensional or one-dimensional. In fact, one-dimensional rotation is more familiar in our everyday world than any other. Chart A therefore needs to be modified to provide a place for rotation in less than three dimensions. Chart B shows how the system looks after this addition.
Each added dimension of rotation alters the behavior of the rotating units—changes their properties—and the three groups of rotating particles are therefore easily distinguished physically. The most striking difference is that between the three-dimensional unit, the atom, and the sub-atomic units. A full consideration of the effect of the various types of rotation on the properties of the rotating units is beyond the scope of this volume, but it is evident from the points brought out in Chapter VI that one unit cannot enter into a permanent relation with another unit unless the rotational forces are effective in all three dimensions. The sub-atomic particles therefore have more of a temporary and evanescent character than the atoms. The differences between the two-dimensional and one-dimensional units are less obvious, but can be identified on closer study.
In the detailed development of the characteristics of the atomic and sub-atomic rotations of the material type carried out in an earlier publication it was shown that there are 117 possible three-dimensional rotational combinations, three two-dimensional units, and two one-dimensional units. The one-dimensional units are the electron and the positron. The two-dimensional units are the neutron, the neutrino, and a particle, which has not yet been identified because it closely resembles the hydrogen atom and probably changes spontaneously to the hydrogen status. The 117 three-dimensional units are, of course, the known chemical elements plus a few additional elements beyond the end of the list of those thus far identified, elements that are unstable in the local environment.
Anyone who examines Chart B carefully will no doubt observe that there is a wide open space in this chart which clearly calls for another set of rotating units based on low frequency (negative) radiation rather than on the high frequency (positive) radiation which is the foundation for the rotational combinations that have been enumerated in the preceding paragraph. Such negative units actually do exist, and in due course the chart will have to be expanded accordingly. However, the rotation of these negative photons is also negative, in accordance with the principle previously stated, and this negative rotation, opposite in space-time direction from the rotation of the material atoms and sub-atomic particles that we have been discussing, gives these units some special properties in the local environment, and it will therefore be advisable to postpone discussion of these units until after we have laid a foundation for an understanding of these unusual properties.
There are two points about the subject matter of this chapter, the development that is portrayed graphically in Chart B. that deserve some special attention before we pass on to something different. First, it should be noted that this development goes a long way toward proving the validity of the two Fundamental Postulates of the Reciprocal System. As the preceding discussion shows, the status of the primary physical entities—atoms of matter, photons of radiation, sub-atomic particles, etc.—as compound motions is a direct consequence of the postulates, and this new concept of the nature of these entities turns out to be extremely successful, explaining in an easy and natural way all of the behavior characteristics that have given previous theories so much difficulty. Furthermore, the specific kinds of physical units that must necessarily exist if space and time actually have the properties that have been postulated are just the kinds of units that are observed in the physical universe. This cannot be a mere coincidence. It is obviously highly improbable that the existence of exactly the kinds of units that the postulates call for, with exactly the type of behavior that the postulates require could be a matter of pure chance, and even at this early stage of the development, therefore, the odds in favor of the validity of the new theoretical system, already high to begin with, because of the strong inherent probability that conclusions reached by extrapolation from the known to the unknown are valid, have been greatly increased.
The second point worthy of comment is that all of the Outstanding Achievements and other accomplishments of the Reciprocal System that have been discussed thus far—the explanations for the existence of radiation, of matter, of sub-atomic particles, and of gravitation, the elimination of any need for an ad hoc demon or force to hold the atoms together, the new light which these explanations throw on such subjects as the recession of the distant galaxies, the formation of galaxies, the physical nature of the so-called “elementary” particles, the interchangeability of the various physical entities, etc.—have been entirely non-mathematical, and the results are such that they could not have been achieved by any kind of mathematical manipulation, however sophisticated and powerful the mathematical procedures might be. What was needed was a conceptual clarification: a correction of errors in the basic concepts previously utilized. There is “magic” in words, after all.