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The facts of the matter
May the mass times acceleration be with you
Let's get physical!
Atoms trying to understand atoms

Matter is hard to define but easy to explain. Every object you know is made of matter. That matter, in turn, is composed of atoms and molecules; atoms are tiny bits of matter that combine with other atoms to make molecules, which are slightly larger bits of matter. In turn, atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. (Atoms are also composed of particles known as quarks and leptons, as protons and neutrons are made up of quarks and electrons are a type of lepton.)

Lumps of thousands millions billions lots and lots of molecules, identical or not, make up the objects you know so well, like trees, water, air, life forms, etc.

The most experience laypeople often have with the concept of matter is in the "three states of matter." Matter can be solid (having a defined shape and volume), liquid (having no particular shape but a defined volume), or gaseous (having neither defined shape nor volume). This is not, however, the definition of matter.

Matter is related to energy. There are 9.0 x 1020 ergs of energy in every gram of matter.

It is theorized that a particle, named the Higgs boson, is what gives matter its mass. Experiments at CERN using the Large Hadron Collider have now pretty much nailed this down.

Idealists dispute the existence of matter, saying instead that what seems like matter is really an "idea" of some sort.

That would then boil down to:

Derrida's Law of Matter: Matter - No matter.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. With apologies to Derrida, but he said he didn't write to be understood anyway.