Why Empirical Physicists Must Take Physics Back from Mathematical Physicists
Published: November 24, 2010

To understand why empirical physicists must take physics back from mathematical physicists, you need to understand what physics is. Physics is the science that tries to describe the physical nature of the universe on the basis of observation, experiments, and reason. It seeks to answer the following questions: What is the universe made of? How does it work, or operate? and Why it works the way it does? As you know, science is systematic knowledge gained by the use of reason based on observation. In science, observation is the act of examining, noting, and recording facts or occurrences.

Observation is the basis of science, which is sense knowledge. It’s the activity that separates science from nonscience. It’s also the activity that separates empirical physics from mathematical physics. “Empirical physics” is physics that describes the physical nature of the universe with knowledge gained from sense experience, experiments, and reason. “Mathematical physics” is physics that describes the nature of the universe with mathematical equations without any physical description. Mathematical physicists give primacy to mathematical inferences over empirical evidence.

For example, empirical evidence reveals that all matter is three- dimensional (having height, width, and depth), but mathematical physicists make mathematical inferences that reduce matter to point-like particles, having no dimensions at all. As the American mathematicians Marcia Learner and Doug McMullen, Jr., explain, “the real world doesn’t have objects like these in it, with only zero, one, or two dimensions. If you examined a real-life dot with a microscope, you’d discover that it definitely has dimensions, even thickness.”1

Mathematical physicists who believe in the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, tell us that we live in a universe consisting of matter, space, time, and energy that was created about 13.9 billion years ago by a huge explosion out of nothing (the non-existent). They say that matter can be destroyed to create energy, which has no mass. They also say that energy, which has no mass, can be changed into matter. Matter is anything that takes up (or occupies) space, has mass, and reacts to gravity. There is nothing in the universe that does not fit this definition of matter, except the void space of the universe. All matter is made up of atoms.

Atoms are the smallest particles of matter that can exist; the ultimate and smallest division of matter. If matter is repeatedly cut up, the end result will be uncuttable pieces of matter or “atoms.” In other words, all matter can be divided into tiny particles that cannot be further divided, called “atoms.” The English word “atom” comes from the Greek word atomos, meaning “uncuttable” or “indivisible.” Nothing can be smaller than an atom but another atom. This means that atoms are the ultimate building-blocks of matter. Since it is impossible for atoms to come into existence out of nothing, or to pass away into nothing, they are eternal and indestructible.

Mathematical physicists say that atoms are not the ultimate building-blocks of matter. They claim that atoms are made up of tinier particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons. I will reiterate: the English word “atom” comes from the Greek atomos, meaning “uncuttable” or “indivisible.” If the description of a particle does not fit this definition of an atom, it cannot be an atom. The particle that mathematical physicists call an atom, which has been split into sub-particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons, is really misnamed. I call that particle a “thom.” Its tiny subthomic particles are made up of still tinier particles, the atoms.

Astonishingly, mathematical physicists claim that atoms can be split to release an enormous amount energy. The English word “energy” which is erroneously defined as the ability to do work, is taken from the Greek word energeia, meaning “activity.” Energy is merely the word for the activity of atoms, or aggregates of atoms, directed toward work. In Greek, the word for ability to do work is dynamis, the Greek word for “power.” In dictionaries, power is defined as “the ability or capacity to do, act, or bring about a particular effect.” All atoms possess power from their sheer existence, not energy.

By now, I hope that you realize that mathematical physics does not give us a true picture of reality (Nature). This is because mathematics, being a human invention, has no role to play in giving us a description of fundamental reality, which is a role that belongs solely to the realm of metaphysics, based upon the theory of Atomism, the original quanta theory.

Mathematical physicists can only use it to give us a set of equations or formulas that predict what we will observe in an empirical experiment. Such an experiment is based upon the senses, which can only make us aware of things that are ever changing, things as they are in relation to our sense organs (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and skin). Only by reasoning based upon observation can we grasp reality, that is, gain an understanding of the existence of things that are changeless, as in themselves, such as the atoms and the void of which all of nature is composed.

Mathematical physicists substitute mathematics for reasoning. They also abandon the use of experiments which are needed to make physics understandable. For this reason, I maintain that physicists who are empiricists must take back physics from the mathematical physicists, especially since they now make physics their private domain.

Physics can be described by the use of words without mathematical equations. There is nothing that mathematical equations can say about physics that cannot be said in words, so that non-mathematicians can understand the physics.

As you study postmodern physics, which is based upon the theory of Atomism, you will find that all of nature can be understood by describing in words, the size, shape, solidity, weight, motion, gravity, inertia, position, arrangement, repellency, and power of the atoms. The gravitational interaction of the atoms in the void ultimately causes all the different phenomena in nature. Here, allow me to resolve a problem created by Albert Einstein’s who claimed that the gravity and inertia are equivalent properties. The two properties are not equivalent; they are merely two opposing effects carried by atoms because they have mass. Anything with mass will be resistant to being moved by any force. We must stay focused on the fact that all of nature can be understood by describing the properties of its constituent atoms.

Atoms of various sizes and shapes make up everything that exists. Our sensory ideas of color, taste, smell, sound, and being hot or cold are produced in our minds by the motions of atoms affecting our sense organs. Our beliefs, thoughts, desires, sensations, and other mental states are merely properties of atomic systems.


  1. Marcia Lerner and Doug McMullen, Jr., Math: Smart Junior, 2nd Edition (New York: The Princeton Review Publishing, L.L.C., 2002), p. 158.