Quantum Physics Says That You Can’t Actually Touch Anything

All the time of your life it is sure that you are feeling something by touching it. Things are surrounded by you in the physical world, like for example your phone, computer, or your dress that you are wearing right now. Right? Maybe it’s not like that.

Everything around you that you can feel and touch is made of atoms. Atoms are concentrated on a small component of matter. The specialization that studies this – quantum physics gives us many often unbelievable things to understand about the world around us. Notably, the invisible movements are going on at an atomic level.


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It may look like the atomic world is not a part of our day-to-day lives. We cannot see that, and we cannot touch it. However, this information is a crucial point when it comes to our understanding of how the four forces shape the physical world, and thus, it is key to understanding the universe. After all, you can’t understand how great things work without knowing the ins and outs of the small stuff, too.

Among the phenomena, we have quantum entanglement, particles that pop in and out of existence. Quantum mechanics also tells us that we are made up of particles. That means, on a microscopic level, all sorts of strange things are going on. Within us that are not visible to the human eye — things that sometimes seem to make little sense of something, says quantum physics.


The weird world of electrons in senses

To understand why you can never touch anything, you need to know how electrons work. Before you can understand that, you need to know the necessary information about the structure of atoms. For beginners – almost all of the “touchable” mass on atom level is concentrated into incredibly small parts called the nucleus.

Surrounding the nucleus is a space, except for the areas within an atom where electrons and protons can be found orbiting the central – core of the nucleus. The number of electrons within an atom depends on the element that each atom is supposed to contain.

Like photons, a subatomic part also exhibits the particle-wave duality, which means that the electron has characteristics of both a particle and a wave. On the other hand, they also have a negative charge. Particles are, by their nature, attracted to particles with an opposite charge, and they reject other similarly charged particles, like magnet poles, says quantum physics. Such a practice prevents electrons from ever coming in direct contact. Their wave packets, on the other hand, can overlap, but never touch.

The same is true for all of humankind. When you plop down in a chair or slink into your bed, the electrons within your body are repelling the electrons that make up the chair. You are hovering above it by an unfathomably small distance.


Why we think we touch things – our senses

So, if electron repulsion prevents us from ever truly touching anything, why do we perceive touch as a real thing? The answer boils down to how our brains interpret the physical world. In this matter, many factors are at work. The nerve cells that make up our body send signals to our brain that tell us that we are physically touching something. When the touch is merely given to us by our electron’s interaction, the electromagnetic field permeates spacetime (the medium electron waves propagate through).

Also note, various things play a role here in making collections of particles into tangible things. We have things such as chemical bonding and, of course, the four primary forces mentioned above. Chemical bonds allow electrons to “latch on” to imperfections within an object’s surface, creating friction.


For those that have persevered thus far

You will see that the purely electrostatic repulsion between electrons is not the only reason why you hover above your chair. In the typical case, it’s about as strong as the Pauli Exclusion Principle when it comes to pushing things apart. It’s a combination of these two effects dominating the actual behavior. This principle explains the unbelievable idea that electrons know where every other electron is. They try to avoid each other as much as possible, resulting in an exponential decrease in the force between electrons. They do that even without the electromagnetic repulsion in play.

All in all, isn’t it amazing how these things relate? It’s a fundamental scientific truth that things are often not as they seem, or at least, they are not as we perceive them to be. It throws everything we think about the universe into a new light, isn’t it? Although, new light is still a pretty strong phrase because quantum physics inventors still coming with the more original and even crazier explanation of how the universe and a physical world work and what is the role of our senses.


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