Why 3?

One of my most popular articles is Triangle. Another one is Number Symbolism. In both articles I mention the significance of 3. It seems to me that people intuitively understand the importance of 3 and they want to learn more.

I wrote few other articles on 3. They are dear to my heart but less popular

  1. Conservation Law of 3 Gunas
  2. Aspects of Rajoguna, Tamoguna, Sattvaguna
  3. The 3 fundamental variables are coupled pair-wise
  4. Golden Biquaternions, 3 Generations and Spin

In these articles I expressed my conviction that the ancient theory of “3 gunas” has great explanatory power.

A critical thinker would argue that the ‘3 fundamental variables’ (3 gunas) is a human construct and not really part of reality. The critic would argue that we can always sort things into 3 categories. He would then ask the critical question “why not 2 categories?” We can continue this line of thinking and ask “why not 4 or 5 fundamental variables?” I respect this criticism. It is true that we can categorize the observed universe in any way we like. But, there is clear evidence from physics about the ontological reality of 3 fundamental variables.

There are 3 generations (flavors, families) of fermions. What is a fermion? Electron is a fermion, anti-electron (positron) is a fermion, neutrinos and anti-neutrinos are fermions, all quarks and anti-quarks are fermions too. Fermion is a term referring to one of the intrinsic properties of elementary particles. All fermions have spin=1/2. The spin is an intrinsic property that cannot be described in terms of our common intuitions.


Second generation fermions are heavier but otherwise identical to their first generation versions. Similarly, the third generation fermions are even heavier but otherwise identical to their first and second generation versions. Nobody knows why the second and third generations exist. The second and third generations of fermions are not required by any known law of nature.

Every fermion (spin=1/2 particle) type has an anti-particle type. If the fermion has electric charge then the electric charge of the anti-fermion is the opposite of that of the fermion. For example, electron has -1 electric charge. The anti-electron (positron) has +1 electric charge. The “anti-ness” is related to the “spin=1/2” property. Since “anti-ness” manifests as the opposite electrical charge we should think about the relationship between the “spin=1/2” property and the electrical charge. This is my humble request from the professional physicists.

The fact that there are 3 generations of fermions is the most profound experimental finding established by the 20th century physics. This is no hype! The significance of this will be fully realized in the future.

Precise measurements of the Z-boson (one of the force-carrying particles of the electroweak force) properties in the CERN LEP experiments (Aleph, Delphi, L3, and Opal) provided clear evidence that the number of fermion generations is 3.

Most recently, precise measurements of the CMB (cosmic microwave background) by the Planck space telescope provided independent confirmation of the number of neutrino types (number of fermion generations) as 3. The Neff parameter was measured to be 3.3 +/- 0.27. This clearly rules out the existence of a fourth generation of neutrinos.

There are 3 color charges exhibited by the quarks inside protons and neutrons. The 3 color charges of quarks must be related to the 3 generations of fermions because quarks are fermions themselves. Both the 3 generations of fermions and the 3 color charges of quarks must be manifestations of the 3 gunas.



About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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