What caused energy to become "matter"

If some form of energy has always existed, which I believe it has, what theories are there out there that explain what could have caused this energy to begin to form matter of any kind? Wouldn’t some force have to have acted on the existing energy to make it respond by becoming particles of some sort which then became matter as we know it? I don’t posit a God, but I wonder what scientists posit, if anything, might have caused the organization of energy into matter to occur?

Posted: July 12th 2009

jonecc www

Just a quick point. You say “if energy has always existed, which I believe it has”.

Neither of us are equipped to have an opinion on the subject. To have a meaningful opinion about a subject like energy you have to spend years studying the available evidence, which neither of us has done.

I don’t want to give you a hard time, because you’re clearly seeking information on the subject, which is admirable, but conclusions are best left to the time after you’ve found it.

Posted: July 19th 2009

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brian thomson www

As noted already, it’s not correct to talk about “energy becoming matter”. The idea of “mass-energy equivalence” is attributed to Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, and expressed in his famous equation E=mc², where c is the speed of light in a vacuum. It might better to think of energy and matter as different states of what we call energy, with matter as condensed energy.

These days, String Theory proposes a new definition of mass, as the result of the emission of gravitons (quantum particles of gravity) by certain types of superstring (energy). That is, our concept of matter is a consequence of this (hypothesised) quantum gravity, where matter is the form of energy that has mass, but mass is merely the “face of gravity”, the means through which we come in to contact with gravity. (That’s my simplified interpretation, I should say!)

So, as yet we have no final, definitive answer on the nature of mass and energy, but (as with all science) that is no justification for filling the gap in our natural knowledge with anything supernatural. (The “god of the gaps” fallacy is a common theme here.)

Posted: July 19th 2009

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Matter and energy are inherently equivalent.

I suggest some research into cosmology, but here’s the brief summary.

In the big bang, at early points the temperatures were so high that matter could not exist, but as the universe cooled it reached a temperature where matter could exist, and at that point matter condensed.

I don’t think you need a force for it, any more than you need a force for matter to convert to energy in radioactive decay.

Posted: July 17th 2009

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