How China's massive water transfer shapes drinking water quality

Dissolved organic matter (DOM), originating from both natural and human activities, is a complex mixture of organic substances that can vary by season, location, and environmental conditions. DOM impacts the coagulation process, ...

Hubble views cosmic dust lanes

Featured in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is a nearly edge-on view of the lenticular galaxy NGC 4753. Lenticular galaxies have an elliptical shape and ill-defined spiral arms.

Some clever ways to search for primordial black holes

Primordial black holes (PBHs) have recently received much attention in the physics community. One of the primary reasons is the potential link to dark matter. In effect, if PBHs can be proven to exist, there's a very good ...

Does the Milky Way have too many satellite galaxies?

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are well-known satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, but there are more. It is surrounded by at least 61 within 1.4 million light years (for context the Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million ...

Tracing the origins of organic matter in Martian sediments

Although Mars presents a barren, dusty landscape with no signs of life so far, its geological features such as deltas, lakebeds, and river valleys strongly suggest a past where water once flowed abundantly on its surface. ...

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Matter

Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume. However, different fields use the term in different and sometimes incompatible ways; there is no single agreed scientific meaning of the word "matter".

For much of the history of the natural sciences people have contemplated the exact nature of matter. The idea that matter was built of discrete building blocks, the so-called particulate theory of matter, was first put forward by the Greek philosophers Leucippus (~490 BC) and Democritus (~470–380 BC). Over time an increasingly fine structure for matter was discovered: objects are made from molecules, molecules consist of atoms, which in turn consist of interacting subatomic particles like protons and electrons.

Matter is commonly said to exist in four states (or phases): solid, liquid, gas and plasma. However, advances in experimental techniques have realized other phases, previously only theoretical constructs, such as Bose–Einstein condensates and fermionic condensates. A focus on an elementary-particle view of matter also leads to new phases of matter, such as the quark–gluon plasma.

In physics and chemistry, matter exhibits both wave-like and particle-like properties, the so-called wave–particle duality.

In the realm of cosmology, extensions of the term matter are invoked to include dark matter and dark energy, concepts introduced to explain some odd phenomena of the observable universe, such as the galactic rotation curve. These exotic forms of "matter" do not refer to matter as "building blocks", but rather to currently poorly understood forms of mass and energy.

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