As I understand, the atomic hypothesis and quantum theory says that we cannot divide the matter infinitely. Atoms were discovered 100 years ago but why are they indivisible apart? It is said that they consist of elementary particles that quantumly blur--probabilistically diffuse over space such that they cannot have components. I do not know about the probabilistic cloud that forms the particles at the bottom but I think what is said about reversibility of physical laws at the fundamental level.

It is said that we notice the friction at macroscopic level, the macroscopic objects slow down, because kinetic energy leaks down to microscopic level of the atoms, into the heat. However, atoms are indivisible and, thus, energy of moving atoms cannot go at even lower level. This proves that there is no more elementary level below. Elementary particles have no constituent parts that can move and steal energy from atoms when their electron clouds collide and rub against each other. If atoms were consisted of anything else, they would slow down as the macroscopic objects. But, if they are in perpetual motion, there is nothing below the atoms (or known elementary particles they are made of), there are no subelementary particles that can be heated up. So, there are no subelementary particles besides quarks, leptons and bosons. I do not know about strings.

Is it right logic? I ask because some ignorant people try to persuade me that atoms are like planetary systems themselves, which consist of more primitive particles, without any arguments for that and arrogantly call the quantum theory "idiotic".

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    $\begingroup$ Physics.SE is not a site to explore personal theories about how physics work which are contrary to mainstream physics. I think you would find it difficult to ratify this theory against the evidence that particle physicists have collected over the decades. However, if you do wish to do so, consider treating the mainstream accepted physics as a "null hypothesis," and your theory as an "alternate hypothesis" and try to identify experiments which could refute the null hypothesis. That process is how science is built: people finding evidence that the accepted model cannot be the whole story. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 14 '17 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ If you are interested in discussing your theory further, I have opened a chat room $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 14 '17 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ I have removed some comments. $\endgroup$ – rob Jan 15 '17 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ Where are moderators trained to clean the slanders from the dirty objections? $\endgroup$ – Little Alien Jan 16 '17 at 17:57

You are assuming that what's at issue is length-scales, but actually what's at issue are energy scales. When a system thermalizes, each degree of freedom has an average energy occupation proportional to its absolute temperature; this governs its very erratic unpredictable motion. Before thermalization, those degrees of freedom with more energy can potentially lose energy to the other degrees of freedom, as our uncertainty about where the energy is grows larger and larger. On the other hand that energy can be bound up behind potential energy barriers.

So for example, the nucleus is made up of other little parts: your approach suggests that it will feel friction etc. as it trades energy with its constituent parts. But that doesn't happen, because those parts are in a very stable energy configuration. Similarly, your approach seems to ignore that this very basic thermal-driven motion is part of much larger particles: not only is it the reason that the air we breathe doesn't fall down to the ground, but Einstein's argument that atoms really existed hinged on interpreting the Brownian motion of motes of pollen.

Things get even more complicated in quantum field theory. For example, you probably think of the photon as one of your fundamental particles -- but quantum field theory allows (and the photon actually is) a derivative particle, a superposition of the other quantum fields that make up the electroweak interaction. It happens to be the case that after electroweak symmetry breaking one of the combinations that's left afterwards is a massless effective field, and that's the photon field. You might enjoy these cartoons of the various particles eating each other, as an explanation to a layperson.

So it's not so much about there being "smaller things" to lose energy to or gain energy from; it's about whether a degree-of-freedom can share its energy with other degrees-of-freedom. If it can, then it experiences some sort of drag until it thermalizes. If it can't, say because losing energy requires an energy input to "break through a barrier", then it doesn't.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would like to better understand what you say. $\endgroup$ – Little Alien Jan 14 '17 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ How can you have more degrees of freedom without the constituent parts? So, we need components. Are you saying that components are not necessary smaller but can be same size or larger than the body they constitute such that length-scale is irrelevant? I understand that atoms can lose energy emitting it into space. But, reversibility means that when we receive same amount of light that we emit, the average speed of atoms, the energy, won't change. The energy won't leak at the 'lower' level -> there is no lower level. The billiard balls can also give energy to the others. But, they all stop. $\endgroup$ – Little Alien Jan 15 '17 at 9:10

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