An elementary particle: the aetherette

Just a few thoughts on the way to anyone’s TOE. It seems to me that a true elementary particle wouldn’t have any parts. In other words it shouldn’t be made of smaller things. I think if it is made of smaller things, then it really shouldn’t really be called elementary. The standard model currently includes several “elementary particles” each of them described as having identifiable attributes and having the ability to combine to make other things.

To me, a thing which has attributes which can be identified must be interacting with other things in a way such that those attributes can be detected. This interaction must involve some sort of exchange of information. If the thing receives and emits information, that is an indication that it changes. Anything that changes must have some internal structure. If it has internal structure, it can’t be “elementary”. I suggest a true elementary particle would have no identifiable attributes, nothing like charge, mass, color or spin as currently accepted. I also suggest that a true elementary particle must be able to somehow produce the particles currently identified.

My candidate for the true elementary particle will be one that does only one thing, it occupies space. This is the way that the aether has always been described. I chose the name for individual particles of the aether to be aetherettes. This name refers only to the aether and is descriptive without any bias to any action performed by the particle.

Besides that, it’s a fun name; it reminds me of the chocolate covered things that rattled in the box when I shook it and the young lady with the flashlight who guided movie goers to their seats.

Some interesting thoughts. Gets bogged down a little bit in defining what an elementary particle is and whether its attributes can be detected or not, though. I have a few thoughts on that, if you’ll entertain me.

First, the idea that any attributes must be detectable. This isn’t necessarily true. The attributes of one specific particle may have a profound affect on an other specific particle but no affect whatsoever on any other particle. It may even have no effect whatsoever on any “whole” which is made up of the second particle. Atomic gold, for instance, reacts very, very differently, chemically speaking, than larger “chunks” of gold. And the electrons which that gold atom contains bear no resemblance whatsoever to an atom of gold. I cannot build a detector out of a single elementary particle and therefore it may not be physically possible to build a detector to detect interactions between individual particles, depending on what the interaction actually is. Is it something profound like a release of energy or a change of angular momentum? Or is it something more subtle and tiny such as the creation of minute amounts of new space a trillionth of a percentage the size of the particle? Is the interaction even something we’ve seen before and know to look for?

Then there’s also the question of what a “particle” actually is. It is believed that matter and energy are completely interchangeable, meaning I can convert a particle into energy directly. And the double slit test suggests that there may be no point where this conversion happens definitively but rather the difference between particle and energy is more of a sliding scale. There is also the belief that all particles are made up of waves, which are definitely not particles themselves. So a fundamental particle which is not made up of smaller particles may still be made up of something which is not particles, meaning its nature can still be changed. Matter can be converted into antimatter, for example, and, in fact, that happens all the time with lightning strikes. So one fundamental particle could, in theory, be converted into another, completely different fundamental particle.

And even a wave occupies space. Or rather, it covers an amount of space as it travels through space. So is a wave a particle? Or a gamma ray? A gamma ray burst does occupy space. I would think anything which travels through space would have to occupy space. If it’s measurable it has dimensions.

Finally, aether theory has long since been discredited, so I don’t see any need to bring that into the conversation. But overall an interesting contemplation.

Widdershins, thanks for your response.

I did not mean to give any impression that I think any or all of the attributes of a particle must be detectable. What I was trying to say about attributes is that any thing that has identified attributes cannot be an elementary particle; it must have structure in order to provide evidence of its attributes, and if it has structure it is not truly elementary. Indeed, I think the existence of the elementary particle is not directly detectable, but can only be inferred.

I’m sure you will notice I said the elementary particle. I have pretty much accepted that the smallest thing that exists, and can exist, will be the elementary particle. We could call it the basic unit of existence, the basic unit of matter, the basic unit of space or the basic unit of whatever. In a mechanical universe, everything would be built from basic units, aetherettes. I advocate for a mechanical universe because it seems simpler and more intuitive than other schemes and because it provides a basis for the mechanisms of gravity and mass, something other models don’t do well.

I recognize many people like the idea of having an opposite or anti-particle for each particle. I am totally undecided on that and certainly open to it. It may be that the Higgs boson is the anti-aetherette. My understanding of the boson is that is can occupy the same space as other things, both bosons and fermions. The aetherette would be a fermion. It could be that Higgs bosons, or something very much like them, fill the volume of space not occupied by aetherettes. My initial feeling is that the Higgs as detected is much too large to be the anti-aetherette, but when I consider that it isn’t a fermion the issue of size needs a different approach.

I think the reason aether theory is commonly rejected is because most people consider any aether particles to have a microscopic size and attributes consistent with particles which have charge and mass. I believe the smallest particle thus far identified is the quark. The quarks have detected attributes and thus structure. I think the aetherette must be at least one generation, perhaps two, three or four, smaller than the quark. In other words, I think quarks are made of things not yet identified which are made of other things not posited which are made of more other things not yet posited which are made of aetherettes.

I suspect the family tree of existence may begin with aetherettes , and continues with individual clumps of aetherettes, organized more stable clumps, rotating constructs, and maybe even larger constructs which form quarks. Somewhere in this hierarchy the effects we call “charge” and mass will be manifested and the origins of the nuclear forces will seen. As you can see I think there is a lot to be posited but with the aether as a begining there is a potential path forward.

I think waves as identified and posited require an aether, at least one form of aether with unit particles and possibly another form with larger particles. If there is more than one the larger one may be local. In either case an aether make it much easier to explain waves just as a boson field makes it easier to explain the notion of a vacuum. I have been looking at LeSage’s theory of gravity and the Allais effect with the idea of incorporating some form of “push” gravity into a mechanical model. It seems promising.

I’m not there yet, probably not even close. I will appreciate any input.

You really can’t bring aether theory into this at all. Aether theory, also known as luminiferous aether theory, is a theory created, then later rejected, specifically to explain the propagation of light. The chances of a theory being created to explain one thing, being completely rejected as an explanation for that thing, but then being found to perfectly fit a completely different thing are statistically zero. It would be like you trying to follow the directions to build your own clock, failing miserably at it but finding you accidentally built a perfect telescope with the parts. The chances of these two things are literally statistically the same. Aether theory wasn’t created to explain any of this, so if you try to use it to explain any of this you’re just shoehorning it in because it sounds good.

I doubt there can be a single elementary particle from which all things are built. The only thing you could change with that is the shape. And there are 13 known fields. There are 3 sets of 4 and then gravity. Given that the other fields come in sets of 4, gravity is probably not actually a field. At least, not in the same way. You can combine those fields together in pretty much infinite different ways (at least, without some further information on what restrictions might exist, such as a particle must be made of exactly 3 fields or no field can be used more than once) to combine those together to form a fundamental particle. The structure of the universe as we know it seems to demand multiple fundamental particle types. The way they interact with each other is governed by properties they have, whether we understand them or not. For the particles to come together to form a larger mass would require interaction between the particles. If all the particles were the same they would all interact with each other in the same way. They would either mass together or they would not. Not both, not sometimes and no third thing. The universe would be a one trick pony and there would be only one type of matter or no matter except these particles.

I think the way atoms work can give us a pretty good look at how these fundamental particles might work. There are only 3 particles in an atom, yet combining them together in different ways creates completely different matter. And, interestingly, there are 3 sets of 4 fields as well. I don’t know if that means anything here and I’m not going to entertain fanciful imagination that it does, but it is interesting. That would mean 3 fundamental particles. Then there is antimatter, which is the same, but opposite. It’s easy to connect the dots there and say 3 more fundamental particles, totaling 6, the number of quarks we are aware of. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case, but again, it’s interesting. But certainly some of the properties the fundamental particles would have would be apparent in the larger structures made from them. Not necessarily directly. Some properties of the various fundamental particles making up, say, an electron may cancel each other out, amplify each other or work together to form a completely different property.

Take charge, for instance. Charge is essentially meaningless unless and until you have it interact with another charge. An electron doesn’t know it has a charge. It just knows it doesn’t like to go near other electrons , loves the hell out of protons and has no opinion on neutrons. But just going through empty space all on its own (barring interaction with magnetic or other fields) its charge is meaningless. It’s not a property you can measure, as you mentioned. At least not directly. You can only measure its interaction with other charges. But fundamental particles may have no charge at all. Charge could be completely meaningless to them. If they’re flying through space they don’t care if you’re an electron, a proton or a neutron, they’ll hit or miss you without changing their paths. But, put this particle with a couple of others and their properties work together in such a way that the larger particle has what we see as a charge.

So while I don’t think atomic structure can tell us precisely what’s going on on a smaller scale, I think it can give us hints at what’s going on. It’s like knowing the outcome is 12, 27 and 153, now you just have to figure out which numbers were used how many times to make those numbers.


IMO, there are no elementary particle other than quarks and leptons. There is no field of formed particles. There are qantum fields which when they interact with the Higgs field acquire physical properties which do interact to form matter, such as the elementary particles we named atoms.

So, I believe that what you see as the aether, is a collection of fields which make up the spacetime fabric. I like the term Potential.

Potential = that which may become reality.

If we extend that then the aether would consist of potentials, inherent latent quanta which may become expressed as particles. QED

Lol, that video didn’t play 10 seconds before I saw a problem with it. Not a serious one, but quantum theory doesn’t govern “the microscopic world”. Not even viruses are big enough to be “microscopic”.

Other than that, difficult to follow but extremely interesting. Thanks.

Widdershins: “You really can’t bring aether theory into this at all.”

If it fits I don’t see why not. There have been proponents of an aether as the medium for light and gravity for at least 200 years and there are some today. Besides Le Sage, both Newton and Einstein posited an aether. Einstein had to give it up only because an aether requires a preferred frame and relativity won’t allow it. He couldn’t have both so he chose relativity.

We can get to all the effects of Special Relativity from an aether in a preferred field and we can derive the Lorentz transformation without too much difficulty with geometry. I did this many years ago and put it aside because it was so obvious and I didn’t have much interest in relativity. I may look at it again.


Widdershins: “I doubt there can be a single elementary particle from which all things are built. The only thing you could change with that is the shape. … The structure of the universe as we know it seems to demand multiple fundamental particle types. The way they interact with each other is governed by properties they have, whether we understand them or not. … For the particles to come together to form a larger mass would require interaction between the particles.”

I obviously think it is quite likely that everything we know comes from one kind of particle, a fermion I like to call the aetherette and one anti-particle, a boson, for which I can accept the name Higgs. Nature seems to be very efficient; if one (or two) will do, why invent more?

I’ve just started trying to figure out how aetherettes would interact. Since they would have no mass, they would not have an obvious means of expressing inertia or energy. Since they would be rigid bodies, collisions would be perfectly elastic. I suppose there might have to be a rule for conservation of velocity or position rather than conservation of momentum or energy. I don’t know how we would describe or explain an object which would be displaced and stop moving on its own without a collision to make it stop.

If we posit a coexisting Higgs field I suppose we would have to decide whether there would be any interaction between the aetherettes and the Higgs bosons at this level. If we take the idea from the standard model that the Higgs gives matter its mass, then that expression of mass would have to occur at some level of constructs. I think it more likely that it would be at a higher level, perhaps at a level where mass is required for angular momentum.

I don’t have a feeling for where charge would be developed. I suppose it could be at the level of the constituents of quarks. I suspect magnetism is the result of particles flowing as a result of alignments of and/or within molecules acting like little pumps. Some part of this would probably be developed along with or even before the development of charge.

The existence of action at a distance, as in gravity, is still being questioned. Newton didn’t accept it and opted for something like either an intrinsic property of matter or a push from an aether. Push gravity is the most intuitive and the easiest to explain. I don’t accept Le Sages idea of external pushes because it requires so many interactions with very restrictive conditions.

I prefer the idea of a medium with pushes from oscillating particles and a reverse shadowing effect to explain gravity. This idea needs much work before it could be considered a theory but I think it has promise. If we consider that an aether will permeate all matter including the space between the nucleus and the electrons the shadowing idea makes more sense.

If we take away the idea of external bombardment (per Le Sage and others) and replace it with a vibrating field (oscillating aetherettes) and add the idea of reverse shadowing we can get to an explanation analogous to pressure in a volume wherein attraction between two bodies is caused by a gradient of lower local pressure between the two bodies. In other words, the bodies are pushed towards each other by the ambient pressure of the medium (the aether) due to a lower local pressure between the two bodies. This idea accommodates the theory and observation of gravitational shadowing by Allais and others.

Widdershins, Two things I forgot to mention. I think the push gravity model might help explain some of the Casimir effect and the van der Waals force and possibly part of the “clumping” effect NASA found recently.

I really do appreciate your input. I expect all this speculation is a bit much for someone interested in a mathematical explanation of the universe, especially when I have presented it only qualitatively. I think it best to develop a coherent qualitative model and refine it some before trying to pin it down with mathematical structure which would have to address and be consistent with all levels of physical structures. If this model works out I think the math will follow.

Bob said : If this model works out I think the math will follow.
IMO, there is no other way to describe any universal properties except by common mathematical denominators. Ultimately we are dealing with nothing more than "relative values" and "mathematical processing functions

Mathematics even apply at Planck scale.

Quantum mechanics

Max Planck's study of blackbody radiation marked the beginning of quantum mechanics. He treated atoms, which absorb and emit electromagnetic radiation, as tiny oscillators with the crucial property that their energies can only take on a series of discrete, rather than continuous, values. These are known as quantum harmonic oscillators. This process of restricting energies to discrete values is called "quantization".

Note: quantization is a mathematical term.

If Aetherettes exist they possess a mathematical value, however small. There is nothing that has no relative mathematical value.