Solutions To Lee Smolin’s Five Great Problems in Theoretical Physics, Using the Theory of Atomism
Published: August 18, 2010

According to the American theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, there are five great problems in physics that represent the boundaries to present knowledge. He says: “They are what keep theoretical physicists up at night. Together they drive most current work on the frontiers of theoretical physics.”1 They are stated as follows:

  • Problem 1: Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature. This is called the problem of quantum gravity.
  • Problem 2: Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense.
  • Problem 3: Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single, fundamental entity.
  • Problem 4: Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.
  • Problem 5: Explain dark matter and dark energy, Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scales. More generally, explain why the constants of the standard model of cosmology, including the dark energy, have the values they do.2

All of the above problems have been created by the two types of theories that dominate modern physics: Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and Max Planck’s quanta theory. The theory of relativity is based on two ideas: (1) the relativity of motion and (2) the constancy of the speed of light. Quanta theory is based on the idea of the subdivision of radiant energy into finite tiny discrete bundles called “quanta” (singular: “quantum”). Both theories contradict the known facts of the theory of Atomism and require physics to break definitively with Newton’s physics, which is based upon the facts of the theory of Atomism.

Ironically, its takes Newton’s Atomism to solve the very problems they have created.

Newton’s Atomism explains that the universe is made up of solid bodies, or objects, which are attracted towards each other by a force called ‘Gravity’. He explained that: “All bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of the masses at the bodies and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.” This theory is called the universal law of gravitation. Newton explained “the least parts of bodies to be – all extended, and hard and impenetrable, and moveable, and endowed with their proper inertia.” In other words, he explained that all objects in the universe are made up of “solid” atoms, and that “solid”atoms are the smallest particles of matter that can exist; the ultimate and smallest division of matter.

It is important to understand that Newton’s Atomism is a quantum gravity theory. Gravity is a fundamental property of the solid atoms, the ultimate three–dimensional building-blocks of matter. Newton conceived of the universe as being a mechanical system of solid atoms. He believed that the gravitational interaction of absolutely solid atoms in absolute void space at the rate of absolute time ultimately causes all the different phenomena in nature. This belief is expressed by his universal law of gravitation, which shows that gravity is the force in control of the entire solar system. It holds planets, asteroids, comets, and smaller bodies in orbits.

In addition to the universal law of gravitation, he discovered three laws of motion that govern the infinite universe.

  • Newton's first law states that objects at rest remain at rest, and object in motion remains in motion with the same velocity, unless acted upon by an unbalanced.
  • Newton's second law states that the acceleration of an object increases with increased force and decreases with increased mass.
  • Newton’s third law states that to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Being an Atomist, Newton believed in the existence of absolute space (the void) and in absolute time (the eternal uniform flow of the duration of the universe, independent of objects and of change). He also believed in the independency of matter from space. To him, there were no such things as zero time, zero distance, zero mass, and zero gravity. These beliefs make his physics incompatible with Einstein’s theory of relativity and Max Planck’s quanta theory. They show that Newton’s Atomism opposes the idea in modern physics that Einstein’s general relativity and Planck’s quantum theory can be combined into a single theory of nature. Both theories are false theories of nature. Even if they could be combined into a single, the theory would be a single false theory of nature, because it would not be a true description of reality, which consists of atoms and void. Interestingly, physicists call the problem of combining the theories the problem of quantum gravity.

In modern physics, quantum gravity is defined as an attempt to unify Einstein’s theory of general relativity with quantum theory. This attempt boils down to being impossible, because the two theories treat space-time differently. Einstein’s theory of relativity treats space-time as a dynamical stuff of the universe, whereas quantum theory treats it as an arena that is unchanged by the events within it. This makes it impossible to combine the two theories into a single consistent theory of nature.

I maintain that since everything is made up of atoms, the theory of Atomism is the theory of everything. It is the single complete theory of nature. It views nature as being uniform throughout, exhibiting the same Atomic order (immutable Atomic laws). The theory of Atomism states these facts:

  1. Reality consists of atoms and void.
  2. Atoms can neither be created nor destroyed.
  3. Atoms make up all the matter in the universe.
  4. Matter is anything that takes up space, has mass, and reacts to gravity.
  5. The aggregates atoms that make up matter exist in five forms or states: solids, liquids, gases, plasmas, and radiations.
  6. Where there’s no matter, there’s nothing but the void.
  7. A void possesses no qualities whatever, no power, no potentiality, no tangibility in any way.
  8. Nothing exists that is distinct both from atoms and from void and could be ranked with them as a third constituent of nature.
  9. Anything that can be named is either a property or an accident of atoms and void.
  10. Accidents of atoms and void are the sensory properties produced in our minds by the interaction of atoms in voids that’s affecting our sense organs, but are not essential to the existence of atoms and void themselves.
  11. Atoms possess such fundamental properties as shape, size, solidity, weight, motion, gravity, inertia, arrangement, position, and repellency.
  12. Atoms are invisible particles, because they are too small to be seen with the naked eye and have no color (not even black or gray).
  13. Atoms possess power from their sheer existence.
  14. Power is the ability to do, act, or bring about a particular results or certain effect.
  15. Power is the most important quality that things possess, because without it they would be unable to do anything.
  16. The sources of power include (1) humans and animals, (2) water, (3) wind, (4) steam, (5) internal-combustion engines, (6), electricity, and (7) nuclear power.
  17. The activity of atoms directed toward work is called “energy” (An English word taken from the Greek word energeia, which is the Greek word for “activity.”
  18. Energy varies in duration of time.
  19. Time is duration of existence.
  20. Duration of existence passes at the same rate for all things, whether they are in motion or stationary.
  21. No material thing can be uplifted or travel upward by its own power.(Epicurus’ first law of motion)
  22. No material thing can move aslant by its own power.(Epicurus’ second law of motion)
  23. All material things are driven downwards through the void by the force of their own mass, or drawn downwards by gravity. (Epicurus’ third law of motion)3
  24. Gravity is direct force of attraction between atoms and aggregates of atoms because of their mass.
  25. Atoms are constantly on the move because void can offer no resistance to their motion.
  26. A void, or empty space, has no ability to affect the atoms moving within it.
  27. When the atoms are freely traveling straight down through empty space by the force of their own mass or weight, at indeterminate times and places they swerve to one side or the other toward a larger atom, under the influence of gravity.
  28. The gravity of atoms is the force in control of the entire solar system.
  29. The gravitational interaction of atoms ultimately causes all the different phenomena in nature.
  30. Atoms move randomly, and therefore do not post themselves purposefully in due order by an act of intelligence, nor do they stipulate what movements each should perform.
  31. Atoms in random motion have come together under the influence of gravity to form our world (galaxy) and the things in it as well as innumerable other worlds (galaxies).
  32. Our Atomic universe is boundless in all direction; it is restrained from setting any limit to itself by nature, which compels every atomic body to be bounded by void and void by an atomic body.
  33. Being restrained from setting any limit to itself, the universe is infinite in size.
  34. Being infinite in size, the universe is neither increasing nor diminishing.
  35. Also, being infinite in size, the universe can neither expand nor contract.4

In the face of all these known facts revealed by the theory of Atomism, theoretical physicists decided back in the early twentieth century to accept Einstein’s theory of relativity and Planck’s quantum theory as correct theories of the universe, turning modern physics into fiction. Examples of this are: Einstein’s theory of relativity’s that claims matter can be destroyed to create energy, that space can curve, that time is relative, that gravity is a property of space, and that light is made up of massless particles called “photons.” Quantum theory claims that atoms are splittable, that matter is reducible to point-like particles, and that light has a wave-particle duality. (A wave is a kind of movement that particles can make, not something that exists aside from the particles that make up light.)

Of interest to me is that Smolin did not mention the gravest of all problems in modern theoretical physics, which is the problem of explaining the phenomena of permanence and change in the universe. Neither Einstein’s theory of relativity nor quanta theory can explain both of these phenomena, which require knowledge of the ultimate “stuff” from which all things come. Both theories acknowledge the existence of matter, but fail to give a satisfactory explanation of the nature of matter. Recall, Einstein claimed matter and energy are equivalent, and that matter can be changed into energy and energy into matter. He held energy to be a content of matter. He gave us a false explanation of the nature of matter. He regarded energy as being heat and light, but neither heat nor light can be the ultimate and permanent “stuff” from which all things come.

Quanta theory, like Einstein’s theory of relavitity, claims that energy and matter, or mass, are equivalent. It says that energy, light or any other electromagnetic radiation, exists as numbers of small indivisible quantities, called “photons”. Photons are described as particles that have no mass. Certainly, photons cannot be the “stuff” from which all things come. In fact, nothing can exist which has no mass, except void space. It is impossible for photons and matter to be equivalent. Having no mass, photons cannot be the cause of change in matter and certainly cannot explain the permanency of matter or energy. I maintain that photons are fictitious particles.

As the theory of Atomism, the original quanta theory, explains, matter is not made up of heat and light; it’s made up of “atoms.” Recall, the word “atom” comes from the Greek word atomos, meaning “uncuttable.” If matter is repeatedly cut up, the end result will be solid uncuttable particles of matter, or “solid atoms.” I will reiterate: Solid atoms are the smallest quanta, or particles of matter that can exist; the ultimate and smallest division of matter. Nothing can be smaller than an atom but another atom. Since it is impossible for atoms to come into existence out of nothing or pass away into nothing, they are eternal and indestructible. They are the things that give permanency to the material universe. Each atom, being absolutely solid, has no internal structure and no motion inside it. Let it be understood that atoms cannot absorb or emit anything, no heat or light or other forms of “so-called” energy.

Being eternal and absolutely solid particles, atoms cannot undergo change. They have existed just as they now are from eternity and will continue to exist in the same way forever. The only change possible is as atoms group themselves together to form an object or separate from each other. Bear in mind, being absolutely solid, atoms cannot be destroyed. While they are the source of change, they are also the source of the permanency of the matter they make up the material universe.

I maintain that the theory of Atomism is the only theory of the universe that can explain both permanency and change of things in the universe. Since nothing exists but atoms and void space, and since everything, then, is made up of atoms, it is the theory of everything. Every phenomenon is a manifestation of atoms and their activity. Every phenomenon can be explained in terms of the interaction of atoms, and atomic explanations of phenomena are the only correct explanations.

To conclude, I will simply say that there is a known fact revealed by the theory of Atomism, the original quanta theory, that provides a solution to each of Smolin’s five great problems in theoretical physics, and also to the problem of permanence and change in the universe. None these problems occur in the theory of Atomism, which the only correct theory of our Atomic universe. Thus, we have no need for Einstein’s theory of relativity and quanta theory, or any other non-Atomic theory of matter and universe.


  1. Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007), p. 16.
  2. Ibid., pp. 5-16.
  3. When we combine Epicurus’ three laws of motion with Newton’s law of universal gravitation and his three laws of motion, we gain knowledge of all the laws that govern the motion of everything in the universe.
  4. All of these 35 facts revealed by the theory of Atomism are taught as parts of my postmodern physics. The theory of Atomism is the basis for Atomists’ postmodern understanding of the universe. I offer it as replacement or alternative basis to Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics for understanding the universe.