Object Properties: Understanding the Unique Characteristics of Everything in the Universe

Mark

Jan 10, 2024

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Object Properties: Understanding the Unique Characteristics of Everything in the Universe

Every Object is a Collection of Properties

Everything in the universe, including the phone you might be using to read this article, is unique. This uniqueness comes from a set of specific properties. For example, your phone has size, weight, and color. But a lot of phones have the same size, weight, and color.  What really makes it different from other phones is where it is in the world – its position.

Objects have many kinds of properties. Some are easy to understand and measure, like length, position, and weight. Other properties are a bit more complex and might need some math to figure out, like how fast something is moving (velocity), how much momentum it has, and how dense it is.

Scientists have gone even further, exploring more complicated properties like impedance (the combination of resistance, capacitance, and inductance), permeability (how well a material supports magnetic fields), and flux (the flow of energy through a surface). While these might sound challenging, they're just ways to describe different object properties.  Given the proper context and opportunity to learn, you can understand most of the object properties too.

Several Dozen Object Properties surround the Boondock Technologies Logo

A few dozen commonly seen object properties have been arranged in a word-cloud around the Boondock Technologies Logo

And the list of properties doesn't end there. For instance, Mathematica's built-in database lists over 3,000 object properties, highlighting the vast and intricate nature of the universe we live in.  Unfortunately, the program I wrote to create these neat images prints 3000 object properties at such a small font size, that the graphic becomes unreadable.  So here is a word-cloud image of 200 object properties that barely cover properties that start with the letter "A."

A list of the first 200 object properties from Wolfram's Mathematica.  (Adding the full >3000 word list produces fonts too small to be read)

Thinking about objects as a collection of properties that together make it a unique object can change how you see the world, especially at very small scales. Everything around you is now more than just a bunch of objects; it is the collected combination of the many different unique characteristics that make the object what it is.  Some of the characteristics and properties can easily change (position, orientation, etc.) and some cannot.  Some properties change how the object interacts with other objects, and some properties do not (battery state of charge, available memory, etc..)

Subatomic and Vacuum Properties

Protons, neutrons, and electrons exist where the universe has willed them into existence from the bubbling quantum goo that makes up the universe.  Imagine quantum space as the foaming broth  that sits atop the water in a boiling pot of pasta - an endless supply of bubbles that form and pop.  More heat means more and bigger bubbles.

Going Big

Atoms are the building blocks of the universe and are usually the smallest thing we consider when we think of what makes things what they are.  Atoms join to make molecules. Molecules assemble to make materials.  Materials mix to create compounds, and so on.  But what happens if you go in the other direction?  What makes protons and neutrons? 

Getting Small

Protons, neutrons, and electrons are collections of different amounts of the properties of mass, spin, and charge.  There are things smaller than protons and neutrons called quarks.  Quarks have the properties of charge, mass, color, and flavor.  When quarks are combined in specific groupings, they make protons and neutrons.  Two up quarks and one down quark form a proton.  Two down quarks and one up quark make a neutron.  Other quarks might bubble out of the quantum foam for a brief moment, but the up quark and down quark are the most plentiful.

Only in specific locations do the right set of properties exist for the up and down quarks to exist.  Only when the right combination of up and down quarks exists do protons and neutrons exist.  And only when the right number of protons are held together do you get an element.  

Sometimes, the right set of object properties isn't able to coalesce in the same location in the same instant, and the quarks don't form.  The protons don't exist to become molecules.  We refer to those locations as vacuums - a place where there is no matter.  It's true, there is no matter, because we defined matter as a collection of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  But the underlying properties that could become a quark, or an electron, are still there, bubbling quietly beneath the surface.  And every now and then, in these hard vacuums, the conditions exist for an electron to just pop into existence, and just as quickly vanish.

Summary

In this post, we explored the fascinating world of object properties. Every object is unique, characterized by its specific properties like size, weight, color, and notably, its position. We delved into different kinds of properties - from simple, easily measurable ones like length and weight to more complex properties such as velocity, momentum, impedance, and permeability. These properties help us understand the varied and intricate nature of objects around us.

Teaser for Next Posts:

In our next posts about Electromagnetic Fields, we will continue to build the foundation that allows us to eventually dive into the world of electromagnetic waves & the foundation of antenna technology. We'll explore scalars, vectors, and vector fields. This post will be an essential read for anyone curious about how antennas harness electromagnetic waves for communication and other technological marvels. So, stay tuned for an electrifying exploration into the heart of antenna technology!