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We have existed since the dawn of time,
Yet we're not older than a blink of an eye

We may be entities of creation,
or entities of destruction

Behold, however, and you shall see
We're nothing but dust

People used to think we were of some ethereal nature
It has been dismissed, in favour of something somewhat more mature

We can be everywhere,
We can stay nowhere

We can't, however, be torn apart
For which we have no part.

Who are we?

Hint:

"Behold", "creation" and "destruction" all take their meanings from a very specific context

The second and third stanzas form an antithesis, representing "two sides of the same coin"

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closed as too broad by A E, moonbutt74, Roland, Deusovi, Rohcana Sep 6 '15 at 5:33

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ are you talking about neutrinos ? $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to answer this but i don't have enough smarts to layout the explanation. $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Ivan Barreto Does the answer include multiple particles? Since it reads entities. Do you mean Bosons and Fermions like smaller than atoms? $\endgroup$ – kanchirk Sep 3 '15 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ Seems it should be "torn apart" rather than "teared apart"? $\endgroup$ – dennisdeems Sep 3 '15 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ @IvanBarreto Probably because your riddle could pertain to almost any aspect of quantum physics as indicated by the different answers, all of which are based on this subject. As it is, it's not quite detailed enough to make out exactly which specific aspect of quantum mechanics you had in mind (I guess particle/wave duality, like @Sabre) $\endgroup$ – McMagister Sep 4 '15 at 7:02
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We are:

Photons

We have existed since the dawn of time, Yet we're not older than a blink of an eye

as Light (photons) moves at the speed of light, they don't actually experience time.

We may be entities of creation, or entities of destruction

Light forms the source of energy that powers light, radiation (which is light) can also breakdown molecules and kill people.

Behold, however, and you shall see We're nothing but dust

In air you only see light as reflection off of dust. Also a note on behold, let there be light. Biblic'n'stuff

People used to think we were of some ethereal nature It has been dismissed, in favour of something somewhat more mature

THe photon is a pretty recent phenomenon, previous to that I am not sure what they believed probably some like blobby thingamajig, but photons are definitely a more refined theory.

We can be everywhere, We can stay nowhere

Light moves at the speed of light always, also EM waves (light) is everywhere there is stuff (depending on your thoughts on gravitons it gets crazy)

We can't, however, be teared apart For which we have no part.

photons can't be torn apart, as they don't have a mass to tear apart.

Who are we?

We are photons

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  • $\begingroup$ That's very close, but still not the intended solution. You've got half the clues. Did you see my hint? May help you with these. $\endgroup$ – MathET Sep 3 '15 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ I was thinking this too; interestingly on the photon "blobby thingamajig" the answer is actually in the clue "ethereal nature": before photons a popular theory was luminiferous (a)ether. Also I think creation/destruction could refer to constructive/destructive interference. $\endgroup$ – Sabre Sep 3 '15 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely correct. The "something" that replaced aether theory was simply the birth of special relativity. And the wave nature of light is manifested as constructive and destructive interference. Could you guess what the other clue is all about? $\endgroup$ – MathET Sep 3 '15 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah by "dust" you mean particle, and in those two clues you're hinting at the particle-wave duality. I would guess that "behold" is referencing the double-slit experiment? $\endgroup$ – Sabre Sep 3 '15 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Sabre I am thinking you probably could get credit for wave particle duality if you want to run with it. $\endgroup$ – Going hamateur Sep 3 '15 at 21:38
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I believe it is a

Star

We have existed since the dawn of time

Stars have existed since the dawn of time, they are believed to have a part in the creation of our universe

Yet we're not older than a blink of an eye

Stars are constantly making new atoms inside themselves

We may be entities of creation

As stated in the first explanation, they are believed to have a part in the creation of our universe

Or entities of destruction

Stars can turn into black holes when they die or collapse

Behold, however, and you shall see, We are nothing but dust

Stars are made of stardust and so is essentially everything in the universe

People used to think we were of some ethereal nature

People used to think that stars were holes in the sky and there were gods looking down on them.

It has been dismissed in favour of something somewhat more mature

We now know stars are big balls of elements and fire.

We can be everywhere

Everyone in the world sees them at different times

We can stay now where

They slowly move during the night

We can't, however be teared apart

You can't tear them apart they explode or "fold in" on themselves

For which we have no part

Stars are big balls of fused elements and have no actual "parts"

Who are we

Stars

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You are

Chemical elements or atoms.

We have existed since the dawn of time,

Hydrogen was the first atom or matter to ever exist in the universe.

Yet we're not older than a blink of an eye

Atoms are constantly created inside the cores of stars through nuclear fusion, billions of them per second

We may be entities of creation,

Every kind of life we know is based on Carbon

or entities of destruction

Hydrogen bomb rings a bell? :(

Behold, however, and you shall see We're nothing but dust

Lots of possibilities: "we are all formed by star dust" is my favourite though :)

People used to think we were of some ethereal nature

First elemental subdivision was fire, earth, water and wind. Then ether came along to explain how EMW propagated through space.

It has been dismissed, in favour of something somewhat more mature

The ether model was abandoned

We can be everywhere,

Yes, you are!

We can stay nowhere

Matter and anti-matter (atoms and anti-atoms) can be created literally from nowhere.

We can't, however, be teared apart

Atom from greek ἄτομος - àtomos -, indivisible

For which we have no part.

As we all know the atom isn't indeed indivisible, but formed by protons and electrons

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Since this has been guessed, but deleted due to a poorly written answer:

Are you neutrinos?

We have existed since the dawn of time,
Yet we're not older than a blink of an eye

Neutrinos were produced in the Big Bang with the rest of matter.
Neutrinos are created with large Lorentz factors, so one that has been alive for years in our rest frame could be alive for under a second in its own.

We may be entities of creation,
or entities of destruction

Neutrinos are created or destroyed in interactions with other particles. In these interactions, one or more particles are destroyed and others are created.

Behold, however, and you shall see
We're nothing but dust

They do not interact electromagnetically, so they cannot be seen in the traditional sense. They are everywhere but often go unnoticed, so you could call them the dust of elementary particles.

People used to think we were of some ethereal nature
It has been dismissed, in favour of something somewhat more mature

The neutrino was thought up as a kind of "ghost particle", which carried off some energy never to be detected, i.e. otherworldly
Now we know not only that they exist, but that they interact and can be detected.

We can be everywhere,
We can stay nowhere

Neutrinos are everywhere. See relic neutrinos
Neutrinos are always on the move. With mass under an eV, most neutrinos are practically travelling at the speed of light with typical energies.

We can't, however, be teared apart
For which we have no part.

They are fundamental particles; they cannot be reduced to components.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice work, but neutrinos may last veeeery long in mostly empty intergalactic space since it interacts so weakly with matter. All the other points fit very well. $\endgroup$ – MathET Sep 3 '15 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Roland, I never posted my answer because it would have been poorly written, thus no answer was deleted. Thanks for laying this out. On the dust reference I was looking at this Cosmic Microwave Background CMB $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 4 '15 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Moonbutt74 One of the first answers, by siewake, was neutrinos. Several people, including myself, were thinking neutrinos, but the answer was unexplained and then deleted for that reason. There's a reputation threshold to view deleted answers, and I think it's around 1,000. $\endgroup$ – Roland Sep 4 '15 at 20:55

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