The simple answer is Yes. The three normal states of matter are easily recognizable as we are aware of them each and every day. Solids are probably the most easily recognizable form of matter to us. Solids are created when molecules are compressed together, giving it a resistance to change. Liquids however are much more fluid insofar as their molecules are not entirely compressed together, allowing for less surface tension and therefore an easier movement capability compared to that of solid. The final state of matter, Gas, appears when you heat a liquid to it’s boiling point, allowing the molecules to move faster and faster until what little compression might have existed before is now gone.
It’s the argument of a fourth state of matter that sometimes strikes people as odd. The fourth state of matter is known as Plasma, and it is a form of matter created when you superheat gases to such a point that the electrons become too energized and break off of the original molecules. It is typically referred to as ionized gas.
Plasma was discovered in 1879 under the name “radiant matter” by Sir William Crookes. It took another 30 years to finally be dubbed the name plasma. Unlike the other three states that have been studied, plasma is relatively new to the scientific scene. Common plasma’s include lightning, fluorescent light bulbs, and stars (including the sun).
Plasma is matter that has been superheated and pressured to such a point that the electrons that make up the molecule’s outer shell has been stripped away from it leaving behind a positively charged ion. The resulting mesh of free electrons and the positively charged ions creates something very similar to a liquid or a gas.
Because plasma contains charged ions instead of particles, it leaves behind electromagnetic forces that otherwise wouldn’t be present in normal states of matter. This is where plasma differs greatly from it’s material cousins.
Plasma’s main differences from the other states of matter consist of a few important details. First, rather than consist of one particle of matter, it consists of two or three which include the charged ion, and free floating electrons. This characteristic is very defining and separates it from the normalcy of fundamental states of matter. Second, plasma has a very high electrical conductivity, and consequently very high magnetism as well. And third, rather than usually having particles interact with each other in twos or rarely threes like ‘normal’ states of matter, plasma acts more on an organized motion, relying heavily on electromagnetic forces.
Plasma, the magnetic fourth state of matter, is not easily recognizable, but there are many areas of life that you can see it. You might witness it daily without even realizing it. The Aurora-Borealis, fluorescent light bulbs, conductors, lightning, and even the surface of the sun (although I’d advise not trying to look there for it) are a few places its presence is known.
There is a fifth state of matter that is more recently being researched is known as “Dark Matter”. There’s very little known about this substance as it’s very hard to detect (in fact we can only infer that it exists through it’s gravitational effect throughout the universe) and it comprises about 25% of the visible universe. Dark matter is a form of matter known as a nonbaryonic state of matter, which means it is not comprised of atoms. Scientists continue to research Dark matter.