Matter is a general term for the substance of which physical objects are made.The term does not have single correct scientific meaning; different people in different fields use the term in different sometimes contradictory ways. Whereas "matter" originally referred not to an independent thing, but to a co-dependent "principle," the modern conception is that matter is a "substance" or entity unto itself, that is to say, it exists even apart from composing something else. Modern science identifies this "substance" through its physical properties; the most common current definition of matter is anything that has mass and occupies volume.However, this definition has to be revised in light of quantum mechanics,where the concept of "having mass", and "occupying space" are not as well-defined as in everyday life. A more general view is that bodies are made of several substances, and the properties of matter are determined not only by the substances themselves, but by how they interact. In other words, matter is made up of interacting "building blocks", the so-called particulate theory of matter.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matter - 25.03.2010
The inanimate part of creation already features an amazing variety und beauty.