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Georgina Parry: on 12/7/10 at 7:11am UTC, wrote No.

Georgina Parry: on 12/7/10 at 7:08am UTC, wrote Just spotted this. Human being an imperfect machine ?? Taking context into...

Georgina Parry: on 7/30/09 at 22:59pm UTC, wrote According to the Prime Quaternion model, mass is primarily due to the...

Ryan Westafer: on 4/14/09 at 15:33pm UTC, wrote Georgina, Are all subatomic particles somehow massless in your model? ...

Ryan Westafer: on 4/14/09 at 15:31pm UTC, wrote Georgina, This "prime quaternion model" sounds interesting; I am...

Georgina Parrry: on 3/2/09 at 4:43am UTC, wrote Ryan, ..also essential that sub atomic particles are able to move both...

Georgina Parry: on 3/2/09 at 2:37am UTC, wrote Ryan, we are not at all in disagreement over the importance of...

Ryan Westafer: on 3/1/09 at 22:06pm UTC, wrote Georgina, You made excellent points. I do agree that mathematics alone is...


Georgina Woodward: "Hi Markus, the Guinea pigs 'paradox' raises the question; What is I? Is the..." in The Room in the Elephant:...

Georgina Woodward: "Hi Markus, ​ In regard to "what is seen next?" David Eagleman has a..." in The Room in the Elephant:...

Stefan Weckbach: "Dear Lorraine, “If you will forgive me for saying so, the situation is..." in The Present State of...

Georgina Woodward: "Perhaps the idea of consciousness causing collapse is being overthought? ..." in Consciousness and the...

Lorraine Ford: "Stefan, I would say that we individual human beings, and the rest of the..." in The Present State of...

Georgina Woodward: "Thank you John. What did you think about the questioning whether altitude..." in The Nature of Time

John Cox: "Sorry, Georgina, I have had a busy summer and am racing the change of..." in The Nature of Time

Jim Snowdon: "If the Earth did not have it`s rotational motion, the apparent time of day..." in The Quantum Clock-Maker...

click titles to read articles

Reconstructing Physics
New photon experiment gives new meta-framework, 'constructor theory,' a boost.

The Quantum Engineer: Q&A with Alexia Auffèves
Experiments seek to use quantum observations as fuel to power mini motors.

The Quantum Clock-Maker Investigating COVID-19, Causality, and the Trouble with AI
Sally Shrapnel, a quantum physicist and medical practitioner, on her experiments into cause-and-effect that could help us understand time’s arrow—and build better healthcare algorithms.

Connect the Quantum Dots for a New Kind of Fuel
'Artificial atoms' allow physicists to manipulate individual electrons—and could help to reduce energy wastage in electronic devices.

Can Choices Curve Spacetime?
Two teams are developing ways to detect quantum-gravitational effects in the lab.

September 26, 2021

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Is reality really real? asks Vlatko Vedral [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Nov. 11, 2008 @ 14:56 GMT
Is there such a thing as objective reality? Vlatko Vedral looks into an experiment to test how far quantum indeterminism persists in the everyday world.

From Vlatko Vedral:

I seem to be writing about “tests” quite a lot. One of my last posts talked about a possible lab test that could detect parallel universes and now I find myself writing about the work of a former student...

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Mickey sort-of-blue Eyes wrote on Nov. 12, 2008 @ 13:31 GMT
Speaking of eye colour - I know it's not a quantum effect, but can anyone tell me why my eyes appear to change colour when I wear different tops? I have blue eyes which will appear to match different shades of blue, turquoise, and even dark green. It has long freaked friends out!

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Anonymous wrote on Nov. 12, 2008 @ 16:53 GMT
Mickey sort-of-blue Eyes, it's not an image of your eye in the above post, is it? ;-)

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Dave wrote on Nov. 12, 2008 @ 20:47 GMT
I would counter that differences due to "contextuality" would be more a result of the imperfect nature of the machine used to make the measurement, in this case a human being.

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Georgina Parry replied on Dec. 7, 2010 @ 07:08 GMT
Just spotted this. Human being an imperfect machine ?? Taking context into account is useful in identification.

It is another hint that what is experienced to exist is subjective, depending on the representation formed by the observer and not the independently existing but unobservable object reality. As are numerous other optical illusions for example involving shape or colours or perspective. We do not observe what is there but what the sub conscious brain tells the conscious function of the brain exists externally

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penny wrote on Nov. 13, 2008 @ 08:17 GMT
Excellent. One of the things that I find emotionally weird is the "Unruh Radiation"--this says that the cardinality of the number of photons we observe is dependent on our reference frame. Usually stated: " Virtual photons become actual."

Cardinality is a pretty basic feature of "reality", and it is

dependent on frame.

This is often given given a Q.M derivation as above, but can also be derived from General Relativity--a classical theory.

"Nature is not only stranger than you imagine, it is stranger than you CAN imagine."--claim by A. Eddington

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paul valletta wrote on Nov. 14, 2008 @ 11:34 GMT
I have a notion that superposition is linked to magnitudes of scale?..for instance, it is by far easier for quantum things to locate macro things, than the other way around.

Being inside a Galaxy I can locate this with ease, the Galaxy on the other hand will have a definate problem isolating my miniscule mass away from all the other far greater mass objects around the Galaxy! A quantum needle (electron for instance) can be anywhere in the Macro Haystack of atomic structure? also the Electrons position around an Atom, WHEN veiwed by the Proton outwards, can be everywhere, thus as far as the proton is concerned, it exists WITHIN the Electron!

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Dude wrote on Nov. 19, 2008 @ 01:26 GMT
If you're standing in the sunlight and I look at your eyes I see your eye color as a result of the sunlight hitting your eyes. Everyone else who looked at you at that same time would see the same thing, unless they were color blind. There's your experiment. Save some money, walk outside and look someone in the eyes.

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Clinton "Kyle" Miller wrote on Nov. 22, 2008 @ 21:22 GMT
Perhaps objective reality is just a philosophical device used to give meaning to physical theory, because, in the end, it is only our attention which can give meaning to anything; it is humanity that allows contextuality.

And, in a way, I am only a limited 'spot' of attention--I live in a phenomenological world, which influences my conscious decisions. The physical world described by physical theory has trouble fitting the former into itself, yet I think some recent observations might help to provide a delineation/connection between the phenomenological and physical:

It seems we will never know if the fundamental forces we ever unified (attached):


Even the nucleus of the nearly empty atom is almost entirely a product of vacuum fluctuations:

virtual particle pairs. (


It is as if all the physical stuff we talk about is almost completely virtual. This might fit nicely with the idea of a holographic universe, which realizes the holographic principle. Also, a recent paper (attached) has described how the gravitational wave data might support this idea: allowing us to identify the fundamental interval of *physical* time--if space-time is holographic--which, in this case, would be limited by the planck scale.


P.S. For the interested reader, I have entered an essay for the contest, which elaborates on such themes, entitled "The Here-and-Now."

attachments: 1_Indeterminacy_of_holographic_quantum_geometry.pdf, 1_Quantum_Gravitational_Effects_and_Grand_Unification.pdf

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amrit wrote on Jan. 12, 2009 @ 12:05 GMT
regarding parallel universe this is a pure speculation (idea of the mind) universe is one

we experience this one universe through our mind models which determinate our experience of universe itself

consciousness as a research tool in scientific research give us possibility to distinguish between models of the universe (as also idea of parallel universe is) and universe itself

attachments: 2_ETERNITY_IS_NOW___Sorli__2009.pdf

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Peter Morgan wrote on Jan. 12, 2009 @ 14:21 GMT
Contextuality is certainly present /in practice/ in classical physics. If we can reduce the effects of measurement apparatus arbitrarily, then we can estimate what experimental results we would obtain if we had an ideal classical measurement apparatus, but we routinely make allowances for external influences that we cannot remove.

In the case of thermal fluctuations, we can reduce the...

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amrit wrote on Jan. 13, 2009 @ 13:25 GMT
Dear Peter

It was dificult for me to understand your article, but my inpression is that in quantum field theora time does not flow as we experience on macro level.

Fundamental question is quanta exists in space and in time or they exists in space only and time is a measure of their motion.

In that second case there is no point to talk about direction of time, we can only talk about direction of motion of quanta in space. Universe exists in an arena of atemporal space and this means that "eternity is now".

yours amrit

attachments: ETERNITY_IS_NOW_sorli_2009.pdf

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Brian Beverly wrote on Jan. 21, 2009 @ 00:23 GMT
Please give me a satisfactory reason we are using imaginary time despite the following objection and I promise I will stop posting.

The measurement problem in physics is where it is implied that imaginary time is ordered:


The mathematical axioms tell us that complex numbers can not be ordered.

Order Axioms:

1) A number can not be less than itself

2) x > y, x < y, or x = y

3) if x > 0 and y > 0, then xy > 0

4) if x < y, then for all z, x + z < z + y

5) if x < y, then for all z, xz < yz

set x = i and y = 2i and z= 2 + i

1) makes sense

2) i < 2i makes sense?

3) a bit tricky:

0 = 0 + 0i and i = 0 +1i therefore i>0 and 2i>0

(i)(2i) > 0 ---> -2 > 0 FALSE!

4) 2 + 2i < 2 + 3i (complex # is of the form a + bi)

5) This is the key axiom!

xz = what exactly? xz or x*z (* is complex conjugate i*=-i)

If we distribute xz as we do for real numbers then axiom 5 is false. If we take the complex conjugate x*z then axiom 5 is true.

Quantum mechanics relies on C* algebra which is ordered. What is the big idea of C* algebra? C*C, multiply a complex number by a complex conjugate and you end up with a real ordered/countable number.

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Ryan Westafer wrote on Jan. 21, 2009 @ 07:25 GMT
Dear Zeeya Merali,

If I am colorblind, you might have a very hard time convincing me your eyes are green and not brown. My measurement instruments project the world into a space of fewer colors.

As I absorb photons from your irises, I may lack the photosensitive chemical necessary to absorb a particular wavelength of light. In a transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, this might imply your iris never reflected such a wavelength of light to me because I have no available state to record it. Are your eyes truly a different color when interaction with me? It might seem this is the case.

But where do we draw the line? We can make secondary observations, much like a felled tree in the forest. Such observations may correlate strongly with the omitted primary observation (hearing). We can see the dust pattern and scattered leaves on the forest floor. Maybe the trunk split a little. All these remaining features indicate the production of significant sounds, so we say, "yes, unattended trees do make noise in desolate forests." I find it hard, however, to conclusively show this.

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Ryan Westafer wrote on Jan. 21, 2009 @ 07:27 GMT

That math confuses me. Logically, I cannot reconcile the fact that you are using relational operators between independent quantities, e.g. your treatment of 3): "i>0 and 2i>0" First, this statement could be clarified with an expansion of zero: 0 + i0, such that we compare pure "imaginaries." Furthermore,

(-1)(-2) < 0 ---> +2 < 0 FALSE!

The negative numbers could trick us just as in your imaginary number example. The resolution lies in rotations. Not only are we cascading the magnitudes 1 and 2, but also their rotation operators! The symmetries represented by operators (-) and (i) must be accommodated in the axioms or in the definition of our relational operators: , =.

Just as we can use a ray to represent a line with (-), we can use a ray to construct the ("complex") plane with (i). Hermann Weyl referred to this sort of thing as generalization to a "ray space." Successive applications of either rotation returns us to our starting point:

(-1)^n: -1, 1, -1, ...

(i1)^n: 1, i1, -1, -i1, 1, ...

These two operators have been implied since Euclid as they are necessary to produce zeros of linear and quadratic forms. "Folding" or harmonic behavior is then fundamentally characteristic of closed/balanced systems.

So, finally, in response to "imaginary time," I think we use it because it is fundamental to the mathematics. Physical representations do exist, too. For an attenuating plane wave, we can allow the frequency to be complex, or we can allow the time to be complex: (omega)(t) can be like your (x)(y) above. This isn't a big deal, it just means that we are doing more energy accounting. Kramers and Kronig in this way related the dispersion and attenuation of x-rays in the 1920's.

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Brian Beverly wrote on Jan. 22, 2009 @ 00:33 GMT
Ryan, you are very smart and I’m glad someone has finally replied but we shouldn’t forget it is the imaginary number, i.

The "pure imaginaries" are real numbers which are then multiplied by the imaginary number. We are discussing complex analysis where a real number is added to a real number that has been multiplied by the imaginary number (a + bi where a, b are real numbers.) So a "pure imaginary" number has a = 0.

My reasoning was identical to your reasoning; I thought how is it possible to label a y axis when we think about the complex plane if imaginary numbers have no ordering? Then I read the following from Wolfram's mathworld

torically, the geometric representation of a complex number as simply a point in the plane was important because it made the whole idea of a complex number more acceptable. In particular, "imaginary" numbers became accepted partly through their visualization.

Unlike real numbers, complex numbers do not have a natural ordering, so there is no analog of complex-valued inequalities. This property is not so surprising however when they are viewed as being elements in the complex plane, since points in a plane also lack a natural ordering."

We should not be using imaginary numbers in quantum mechanics especially for time see the attached PDF.

I hope to convince you that imaginary numbers are the source of all the mystery in physics, but I understand if you are resistant, I definitely was.

attachments: 1_FQXI_Quantum.pdf

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amrit wrote on Jan. 22, 2009 @ 08:52 GMT
reality is real but our mind interpretation of it is a mind model only

this model is also real, it exist as a mind model

sure how exact mind model corresponds to reality itself is another question

attachments: 3_6._Consciousness_As_A_Research_Tool_Into_Space_And_Time.pdf

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amrit wrote on Jan. 22, 2009 @ 08:58 GMT
in our model consciousness is the basic frequency of quanta of space

because of that information and energy trasnsfer directly via space are immediate

vaccum energy might be consciousness itself

attachments: 2_IIGSS_BASIC_FREQUENCY.pdf, 2_Indirect_and_Direct_Quantum_Information_and_Quantum_Energy_Transfer_Sorli__2009.pdf

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 23, 2009 @ 23:28 GMT
I think that, perhaps, some of the difficulties with quantum physics are with the form of mathematics being used.

The universe is a quaternion structure and quaternion mathematics is the ideal form of mathematics to model it.

Not everything can be explained by observation within 3D vector space. Using ordinary mathematics, which is fine for 3D vector space, leads to complications such as non commutative values.

Mathematics is, in my opinion, a tool for comprehension and explanation and the correct tool is needed for the job.

I am not a mathematician, nor am I a carpenter. I do however know that a screw driver works better than a knife.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 24, 2009 @ 01:11 GMT
I would also like to add that questions regarding objective reality are beyond scientific verification or falsification and the scientific method. This is beyond the boundary of science into the realm of mathematical speculation, metaphysics, philosophy and religion.

The scientific method can only work with observation and therefore within the realm of subjective reality which is formed from observations.

Information (such as electromagnetic radiation) passes from objective reality to our senses. It may first interact with our man made detectors or measuring devices. Only the interpretation of this information can be known. This is not objective reality itself but an interpretation from which subjective reality can be built.

Science is thus the exploration of subjective reality in all of its manifestations. Mathematics, philosophy, religion and metaphysics can explore the possibilities of objective reality, but non of the models provided by those disciplines are science. In my opinion.

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Ryan Westafer wrote on Mar. 1, 2009 @ 22:06 GMT

You made excellent points. I do agree that mathematics alone is not science. However, the two are intricately connected. We use math in any prediction or assertion of a scientific "truth" or "law." For instance, it is my opinion (and others') that all algebras can be reduced to Boolean algebra. Thus, when we do basic hypothesis testing, we ultimately reduce something complex to the unit of information: the bit. This is the assertion: either something is true or it is false; the process of projection required to arrive at a fundamental "yes" or "no" is implicitly mathematical.

I'm unable to agree with a fundamentally quaternion structure - wouldn't that preclude many observations? Only if we can expand all other physically useful but distinct algebras from quaternion algebras is the quaternion algebra truly fundamental; thus it is not fundamental. You're probably aware of the simpler complex algebra and maybe hypercomplex algebras: octonion, sedenion, etc. It is hard to categorically demarcate the physical mathematics from the nonphysical. "Nonphysical" is often indistinguishable from "unobserved."

It's a thought problem of quantum mechanics that states are represented as superpositions - i.e. true AND false - until we measure them. From our perspective there is no information until we measure. In this way, mathematics is made incomplete by measurement: we break the symmetry.

We detect a flat(tening) universe - didn't we once detect a flat earth? This reminds us of the observer principle: physics uses the subset of mathematics which matches observations; we might expect incomplete formulations. Remember the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: entropy increases. This unidirectional linearization gives a fundamentally broken symmetry which allows us to amass knowledge but leaves us questioning the reality of beautiful mathematical ideas such as supersymmetry.

So, science and mathematics are interrelated. With mathematics we may check the self-consistency of scientific observations. Furthermore, we may perform extrapolation or induction to guide experimentation.

Summarizing my personal opinion: even philosophy alone can be useful to inspect science using simple logic. It is science performed upon science, or observations about observations. And wait, I said with logic. So mathematics appears again. Ah, we have a wonderful fractal indeed.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 2, 2009 @ 02:37 GMT

we are not at all in disagreement over the importance of mathematics. For precision of communication alone mathematics is essential. It is also a useful analytical tool for the scientist. When a model works, the philosophy or logical arguments behind it are supported by the mathematics. Precise formulation of the mathematical translation of ideas is important.

However when scientific conclusions are based on elegant mathematics derived from a speculative premise, those conclusions may very well be impressive philosophical nonsense. Unfortunately when such impressive nonsense is taught and then becomes part of mainstream pop culture,it assumes an undeserved authority, based perhaps on the complexity of the mathematics or the perceived intellectual superiority of the mathematically minded.

This nonsense is then assumed to be correct or as given fact and is built upon to give the current state of affairs which I am calling intellectual disorientation. However impressive it still does not answer those fundamental questions. Classical physics can not do it, currently accepted models of quantum physics can not do it. The Prime Quaternion model does all of it by simplification without the need for new particles or dimensions or many worlds of different laws.

The basic requirements are the 3 different definitions of time for the 3 currently confused concepts, recognition of the Prime Reality Interface and a quaternion structure of 4 spatio-energetic dimensions.

Leo Tolstoy said "I know that most men can seldom accept even the most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."

The necessary structure to give the basic laws of physics as they are, allow for relativity and explain subjective time was conceived first. Unexpectedly this also explains gravity, gives a structure that gives rise to the universe and answers all of the other fundamental questions of physics. The mathematics to describe that structure was then sought and quaternion mathematics just happens to describe it perfectly.

The quaternion structure is the structure of objective reality that is unobservable because of the Prime Reality Interface. All measurements and observation are of subjective reality, assumption of superposition is unnecessary.

The mathematics for production of quaternion fractals is also proposed as an extension of the model, for modelling and analysis of the ongoing process of creation of matter and formation of structures observable as 3 dimensional in 3D vector space.

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Georgina Parrry wrote on Mar. 2, 2009 @ 04:43 GMT

..also essential that sub atomic particles are able to move both ways along the 4th dimension to explain the quantum leap and fit with the current model for the structure of the atom as well as permit other quantum behaviours, where as matter is in continuous motion one way only.

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Ryan Westafer wrote on Apr. 14, 2009 @ 15:31 GMT

This "prime quaternion model" sounds interesting; I am fascinated with noncommutativity, cohomology, etc. Did you only publish a book, or do you have some freely-available (or scientifically published) literature?

I do wonder about the completeness of your model (or any "TOE" model). You say it explains "all of the other fundamental questions of physics." Can this be? Feynman already proposed what might be a complete model in one of his quips: F=0.

Who can beat that? I suppose all the conformal theory guys can make the statement a little more profound by superposing zero and infinity. The most trivial statement is then also all-encompassing. So a TOE probably must also be a theory of nothing (TON). As John Merryman alluded on another thread, a theory has its appropriate niche according to the history of measurement/observation supporting it.

A final note to stimulate thought: every unit of information - every state - has a supporting "partner." Information is conserved. Sure there may be a large amount of "dark" matter, but the universe also has other (often inexplicable) energies to maintain its balance, e.g. the cosmological "constant."

However, in each locale, we see only a subset of the whole. To the extent of knowledge, something is true so long as it is not contradicted, i.e. it is true in some neighborhood. It might seem illogical or counterintuitive, but perhaps knowing everything would in turn mean knowing nothing. If information is conserved, then logical "bits" cancel: on the whole, truth is conserved and contradictions of our theories abound.

This is convenient for creating new theories: just find reasonable ways to contradict the existing ones. Julian Barbour just eliminated time...

From what I understand of your theory, it is too specific to be a TOE, and it thereby also misses being a TON. The good news is that it may be useful; the "bad" news is that it is not a TOE. (I'm still trying to figure out how a TOE/TON could actually be useful other than for its philosophical profundity). Any thoughts on this?


Ryan Westafer

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Ryan Westafer wrote on Apr. 14, 2009 @ 15:33 GMT

Are all subatomic particles somehow massless in your model? (Referring to your second post to this thread on March 2.)

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Georgina Parry replied on Dec. 7, 2010 @ 07:11 GMT

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jul. 30, 2009 @ 22:59 GMT
According to the Prime Quaternion model, mass is primarily due to the motion of matter along the 4th spatio-energetic dimension from nearer the exterior of the hypersphere to closer to the interior of the hypersphere. It is promotional energy, equivalent to the loss of "universal potential energy".This 4th dimensional motion is the energy that drives the formation of matter and holds it together as gravity.When the matter is destroyed the motion along the 4th spatio-energetic dimension is lost and this energy is released. An object in motion within 3D space has additional energy and therefore additional mass.

Sub atomic particles also have energy due to their motion within 4 dimensional space and therefore are also observed to have mass within 3D space.They oscillate backwards and forwards along the 4th spatio-energetic dimension but still with net loss of "universal potential energy", keeping pace" with the net loss of "universal potential energy of all matter. Those "particles" that are massless are not particles but disturbances.

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