What something is, is different from what something is not. It is fundamental logical truth that when something is something, it can not also, then, be what it is not.
What physicists seem to have found, however, is that the very basic stuff of reality. . . is both what it is and what it is not. It is both continuous and discontinuous. . . smooth and flowing like a wave, and discrete and moving like a particle.
Physicists today call this wave-particle stuff quantum fields. Quantum fields are invisible ghosts of potentiality. Undisturbed, they are undulating waves of continuous possibility. Disturbed – ‘measured’ – ‘observed’, they are moving particles and events.
Erwin Schroedinger discovered an equation that describes the state of a given quantum field and how it behaves.
“There is no ‘energy’ in the Schroedinger equation, a central point that means that whatever is ‘waving’ in the Schroedinger wave equation is neither energy or matter. It is terribly important that no one knows ‘what’ is waving in the Schroedinger wave equation.” Stuart A. Kauffman.
Slam a quantum field with an intense point of energy. This is what Particle Accelerators do. With long tunnels of accelerating electromagnetic and superconducting powers, they drive particles to ever higher speeds, and focus them, with extreme precision, to collide into each other – “like aiming a rifle at a mosquito sitting on the moon“. Leon Lederman From how the blasted bits of debris scatter, and where they scatter, physicists learn about quantum fields.
There are different kinds of quantum fields, it seems, quantum fields of gravity, of electromagnetism, and of nuclear forces. They must be unified in some way. This was something that Albert Einstein was trying to discover in the last thirty years of his life.
Peter Higgs, in Scotland, 37 years ago, figured that a certain other kind of field must also exist, a field that interacts with radiation and energy, and creates mass, and the material world that we can know. When particle accelerators became powerful enough, in 2012, the Higgs field was found.
Quantum fields seem layered, creating a Universe like a giant jello cake, in which some layers allow electromagnetism and the speed of light but no mass, and some with gravity that allows mass and planets and galaxies. The layers jiggle as events occur. . . not totally randomly, but with predictable probability . . and a with mysterious unity. Where there is a bounce one way, there is somewhere else a bounce the other way.
“Over the 20th century, we came to picture all forms of matter as accumulations of transient disturbances in ubiquitous fields. Some of those fields, when cold, create space filling mists – the Higg’s field is one. Like morning dew, they are spontaneous emanations, thrown off as the fields settle into equilibrium.” Frank Wilczek.
The universe is expanding, at an ever accelerating rate. Back in time it had to have been very small, and then exploded in something like a nuclear explosion. . . the Big Bang. Initially, with intense heat and energy, it expanded. . . and then in time it cooled. Like a mists becoming water, the layers of quantum fields came to be. And God said . . .