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No. 43: Jan-Feb 1986

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Connoisseurs of facetious scientific poetry will recognize the above title as coming from a poem about vortices which have littler vortices preying upon them, etc. Well, it seems that matter may not have a basement of truly fundamental, indivisible particles either. If one does not count the rather primitive notion of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, there are five basic levels of compositeness: (1) molecules; (2) atoms; (3) nuclei; (4) nucleons; and (5) quarks and leptons. But now physicists are beginning to see regularities in the lowest accepted layer, quarks and leptons, that betoken a sixth layer of compositeness or subdivisibility. In other words, quarks and leptons are not really fundamental and instead are composed of something else, which will undoubtedly eventually receive fanciful names.

In this article, O.W. Greenberg delves into this sixth stratum and the "regularities" it engenders. The article is really too technical for Science Frontiers, but we thought our readers might like to be warned that our concepts of matter are based on infinite quicksand.

(Greenberg, O.W.; "A New Level of Structure," Physics Today, 38:22, September 1985.)

Comment. With ever-more-gigantic galactic superclusters being charted and the possibility of Big Bangs occurring "somewhere else," matter may also be infinitely aggregative, too.

From Science Frontiers #43, JAN-FEB 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987