Re: Turtles, turtles, turtles... (was Re: Creationists)

Anders Sandberg (
24 Jun 1998 10:53:39 +0200

"James" <> writes:

> Hara Ra <> said on
> Tue, 23 Jun 1998 00:44:44 -0700:
> >... and little fleas have even smaller fleas,
> > and so on ad infinitum...
> >
> >So, sub quarks will be smaller, and more massive.
> >and sub sub quarks heavier still, till
> >
> >has the mass of the entire universe....
> Sorry if I'm wrong, but how can something smaller
> than what it makes up be more massive than it?

Well, stranger things do occur in physics. Although in this case I
think Hara Ra is exaggerating slightly in order to close a neat
metaphysical loop :-)

Thanks to Heisenberg, virtual particles with large mass can emerge if
they vanish fast enough (Delta E * Delta T >= hbar). So theoretically
the "universe particle" could appear and disappear. But it doesn't
strike me as a likely constituent of stable matter. Maybe one could
postulate "screening effects" like those surrounding charged particles
that would make stable universe particles appear as low-mass
particles, but it doesn't sound likely.

As for quark contituents, people have discussed the idea for quite
some time. I have an old issue of SciAm where an article suggests that
quarks are made up of 'rishons' in two flavors. As far as I know, the
theory haven't found that strong support.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y