Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why so few kinds for so many particles?

There are something like 1080 individual particles and only something like 102 kinds of particles. It seems an incredible coincidence; so many particles, all drawn from so few kinds, even though surely the space of metaphysical possibility contains infinitely many kinds. It's like a country all of whose citizens have names that start with A, B or M.

But perhaps one could explain this by the massively multilocated particle hypothesis (MMPH), namely that to each kind there corresponds only one individual, but highly multilocated, particle (Feynman proposed something like this)? It isn't surprising, after all, if all the names of the villagers in a village start with A, B or M when there are only three villagers.

Still, MMPH does bring in a new mystery: Why are there so very few particles? But perhaps that is a less pressing question?

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