The matter creates the universe, but what is objectionable? For those who think about it, this question is long complicated, especially for physicists.

Reflecting recent trends in physics, my colleague Jeffrey Eisen and I have described an updated way of thinking about the subject. We suggest that matter is not made up of particles or waves, as was thought long ago, but – more fundamentally – that matter is made up of pieces of energy.

## Five to one

The ancient Greeks held five building blocks – from bottom to top: earth, water, air, fire and ether. Arthur explained the matter by filling the sky and the rotation of the stars, as observed from the point of space of the earth.

These were the first most basic elements from which one could build a world. Their ideas about physical elements have not changed dramatically in nearly 2,000 years.

Then about 300 years ago Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea that all things exist in points called particles. One hundred and fifty years later, James Clark Maxwell introduced electromagnetic waves – the inherent and often invisible forms of magnetism, electricity and light.

The particle acted as a building block for mechanics and as a wave for electromagnetism – and people fixed particles and waves as two building blocks of matter. Together, particles and waves become the building blocks of all kinds of matter.

It was a huge improvement over the five elements of the ancient Greeks but was still flawed. In a famous series of tests known as the double-slit test, light sometimes acts as a particle and at other times acts as a wave. Wave and particle theory and mathematics allow scientists to make incredibly accurate predictions about the universe, those laws are divided into the largest and smallest scales.

Einstein proposed a remedy for his general theory of relativity. Using the mathematical tools available to him at the time, Einstein was able to better explain some physical phenomena and solve long-standing paradoxes about inertia and gravity.

But instead of improving particles or waves, they remove them as they propose an increase in space and time.

Using new mathematical tools, my colleague and I demonstrated a new theory that could accurately describe the universe. Instead of basing the theory on space and time, we have considered that there could be a building block that is more fundamental than particles and waves.

Scientists have realized that particles and waves are the opposite of existence: a particle is a source of matter that exists at a single point and exists everywhere except the points that make up waves.

My coworker and I thought it made logical sense to have an underlying connection between it.

## Pieces of flow and energy

Our theory begins with a new basic idea – that energy is always “flowing” in space and time.

Think of the energy created by a combination of lines that fill an area of space and time, flowing in that area and never starting, never ending, and never crossing each other.

Working from the concept of a universe of flowing energy lines, we have looked for a single building block for flowing energy. If we can find and define something like this, we hope we can use it to accurately predict the universe on the larger and smaller scales.

There were many building blocks to choose from mathematically, but we looked for one that had the properties of both particles and waves – condensed like particles but spread like waves across space and time.

The answer was a building block that looks like the concentration of energy – like a kind of star – has energy that is highest in the center and it moves farther away from the center.

To our surprise, we discovered that there were only a limited number of ways to describe the concentration of flowing energy. Of these we have found only one that works according to the mathematical definition of our flow.

We call it a part of energy. For Aficanado in mathematics and physics, it is defined as A = -⍺ / r where ⍺ is the intensity and R is the distance function.

Using the piece of energy as the building block of matter, we then create the mathematics necessary to solve the problems of physics. The final step was to test it.

## Come back to Einstein, add universality

More than 100 years ago, Einstein went back to two legendary problems in physics to verify general relativity: the slightest ever-annual shift in the orbit of Mercury – or antecedents, and the small curved light as it passes through the Sun.

These problems were in the final stages of size. Particle theories of waves or matter could not solve them, but general relativity did occur.

The theory of general relativity distorts space and time in such a way that it can shift the trajectory of Mercury and bend as accurately as can be seen in astronomical observations.

If our new theory is likely to replace particles and waves with more fundamental fragments, then we must be able to solve these problems through our theory as well.

For the difference-Mercury problem, we have modeled the Sun as a huge stable fraction of the Sun’s energy and Mercury as a small but still slow-moving fragment of energy. For the curvature-light problem, the sun was similarly modeled, but the photon was modeled as a tiny fraction of the energy moving at the speed of light.

In both problems we have calculated the trajectory of the moving segments and found the same answer as the answers predicted by the theory of general relativity. We were shocked.

Our initial work demonstrated how a new building block is able to accurately model companies to subtract from a huge amount. Where the particles and waves broke, the piece of energy building block was strong.

The piece could be a single potential universal building block from which to mathematically model reality – and update how people think about building blocks around the world.

*Larry M. Silverberg, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University.*

**This article has been republished from the conversation under the Creative Commons license. Read the original article.**