I’ve talked a couple times about nuclear weapons. They have a terror and a beauty that’s hard to deny. There’s much more going on there than merely an explosion, though. That device is emitting energy at all wavelengths. Since light is the fastest, you see it first. After that comes all the other energy on down the scale. X-rays, Gamma rays, Shock Waves, Sound Waves, Matter. That’s right, matter exists on the same scale as energy. Think of it as frozen energy. Just as steam can become water, energy can condense into matter. Reverse the process. Boil some water. What once was a cohesive liquid becomes energy and matter (heat and steam).
Now, think of energy on a scale, like the light spectrum. Red is very energetic, it’s at the top of the range we can perceive with our eyes. X-Rays are a little higher up the scale. Purple is near the bottom of our ability to visually perceive. Light becomes heat, infrared, as you go down the scale from purple.
Now that we’ve started, keep going down the scale. Eventually, you get into radio waves. Yes, you could perceive the waves made by your favorite radio station if your eyes could just see in that scale. The sky would be filled with overlapping waves, and every tower would look like a giant light bulb. Try imagining that some day, very cool way to look at a radio tower.
Keep falling down the scale. You pass through all kinds of ever deepening waves until you get to the energy you can feel when you stand in the ocean. When you stand in the waves, you can feel the energy pushing and pulling on you. That type of energy is also released by an atomic weapon. Now we’re deep on the scale of energy, far away from where we started with a rosy cheek. The energy waves have gotten progressively longer until now you have to feel it with your legs instead of see it with your eyes.
Lower down the scale, energy eventually begins to coalesce into matter. You can watch it happen in a plasma ball. The glow is caused when the gas atoms’ electrons are stripped away. The atoms regain their matter status when the missing electrons are returned. Matter and energy freely interchange, propelled by the electrified ball in the middle. Plasma is considered an intermediate state, balanced on the knife edge between energy and matter. There are some theories that 99.9% of the Universe is made up of plasma or energy. When we’re lucky enough to have some of that coalesce into matter, we get all the things around us.
It takes a lot of energy to make even the tiniest scrap of matter, but that is how we all got here. So, given a certain viewpoint, we can all think of ourselves as frozen energy.