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The Tao of Matter

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.

The Tao of Matter

The Tao of Matter

Life, the universe and everything

Life, the universe and everything

Probability, chance, serendipity, unpredictability shattered my perfectly formed illusions. I was dragged in, dizzy and delirious, to the world of Quantum mechanics. And in doing so, of the mysteries of life itself.

What Matters Most...

Science is obsessed, understandably, by observable objects and phenomena. Such is the nature of proof and evidence.

When I was little, matter made sense. Newton's laws of motion were fully enacted. There was inertia and momentum. There was action and reaction. Life was uncomplicated ( well, it seemed so). What mattered most was the insatiable curiosity and the constant growth. What mattered most was wanting to be loved, protected, nurtured and cared for.

As I grew a tad older, Einstein blew open my mind. He showed me that everything was relative. And it wasn't just the Newtonian laws of motion that govern tangible objects. Truth, beauty, happiness, intelligence, peace, contentment - I realised all those states that mattered were also relative.

I was happy in my knowledge of relativity and felt wiser for it until I grew into adulthood. Then strangeness crept in. Games were played, forces were in action that were as yet uncaptured. Probability, chance, serendipity, unpredictability shattered by perfectly formed illusions. I was dragged in, dizzy and delirious, to the world of Quantum mechanics.

My expanding understanding and puzzlement of the physical world paralleled my understanding of life. I realised that things weren't just relative, but positively wondrous. The farther out to space or further into the innards of an atom I traveled, my world began to unravel. Yet, strangely, in the middle of all that chaos theory, I sensed a glimmer of understanding.

Here, I hope to share this perspective. While it is my journey, I do hope, fellow passengers, that you'll take my invitation to share the views outside this speeding vehicle.

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States of Matter

States of Matter

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Perspectives


The Perspectives series began in the Fall of 2012 and has continued into 2013.

Along with our original convenor Mickey Sr, wonderfully talented scribes such as bravewarrior, Martie Coetser, marcoujor, VickiW and the also ran pretender Docmo have got together to share with you our take on various chosen topics.

We also invite guest authors each month to share their perspective on the theme at hand.

Our previous perspectives include...


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Changes to the states of matter

Changes to the states of matter

We learn, as we advance, that the states of the matter is down to the distribution of the individual molecules held together by forces of attraction.

States of Matter


In our first encounter with Physics, we are introduced to simple states of matter. We become familiar with the objects we see and interact. We realise the variability in two forms - solids and liquids. We are then stretched beyond our sense of touch and vision to feel the air. We feel the gentle breeze, take a deep breath and realise that there are things that exist that we may not always see. We accept the three states of the matter as solids, liquids and gases.

We learn, as we advance, that the state of the matter is down to the distribution of the individual molecules held together by forces of attraction. Closely packed are the Solids. Liquids have more space between them. Gases have their individual molecules drifting quite far apart, in a Brownian motion, shapeless yet still governed by their own laws.

As children we are motivated by simple wants like hunger and attention. We want to be seen and heard. We want to be fed. We cry, we laugh. We are familiar with simple relationships that we accept unconditionally. Mother and Father. Then our siblings, grandparents and the ever widening circle of relatives. We believe in the security of our home, our relationship. We believe in solid, tangible truths.

We think the solid is strong and dependable. We soon realise that a liquid can be as strong if not more as it erodes mountains in its path. The gentle breeze that can equally turn into a destructive cyclone. We are then taught solids can melt into liquids or even sublimate into gases. We understand liquids can freeze or vaporise. We find that gases can precipitate into solids or condense into liquids.

We understand a bit about change.


Mind over Matter

Mind over Matter

Inside the Atom

Inside the Atom

Like the Electrons, we do exude and consume energy. Energy levels can upscale or downscale a person. We may take energy and grow. We lose energy and decay...

Inside the Atoms

We understand that the basic unit of matter is the atom. The atom looks like a little celestial organisation. At the centre of it is the nucleus that contains the positive protons and the neutral neutrons. Surrounding this is a 'cloud' of negatively charged electrons held in their orbital tracks by electromagnetic forces.

We understand that there is also a lot of space between these particles. Atoms group together forming bonds to create a molecule.

The rather decisive name, 'Atom', comes from the Greek A- Tomos which means that which couldn't be cut open or indivisible. During their initial discovery, Atoms were thought to be the ultimate building blocks- that which cannot be cut further. However, as we know now, we are only limited by our imagination and the scientific tools we possess for looking far within.

Our understanding of the laws of physics parallels our own growth. We realise the deeper we look within, the more components matter has. We realise the people that we know have many facets. They may have positives and negatives. They may hold neutral beliefs. It is in the coming together of their inner elements that forms a whole. They are bits we may like and bits we don't. Sometimes we need to weigh up these bits and choose wisely.

Protons and Neutrons inhabit the nucleus. Without the neutrality of the neutrons, the protons may repel each other.There are those souls who seem boring neutral, yet serve their function in preventing repulsion and implosion.

Atoms can transmute. Electrons, the chief purveyors of the individual characteristic of an atom are travelling at one third the speed of light. They may ascend or descend down their orbital states by gaining or losing energy. In doing so they change not only their own state but also that of the individual atom.

We understand energy levels can upscale or downscale a person. We may take energy and grow. We may lose energy and decay. We understand the laws of happiness and sadness; anger and peace.

We enter the world of subatomic particles.


The fundamental particles of Matter

The fundamental particles of Matter

Elementary Particles

Elementary Particles