The property of an object that determines how much it responds to a force in Newtonian mechanics, and how much it interacts with gravity in the Newtonian framework. Mass also refers to the intrinsic energy of a particle in particle physics.

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How do we determine the mass of a black hole?

Since by definition we cannot observe black holes directly, how do astronomers determine the mass of a black hole? What observational techniques are there that would allow us to determine a black ...
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Is there a fundamental reason why gravitational mass is the same as inertial mass?

The principle of equivalence - that, locally, you can't distinguish between a uniform gravitational field and a non-inertial frame accelerating in the sense opposite to the gravitational field - is ...
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Why would a fat skydiver fall first in free fall?

I was having one of those obnoxious conversations with a friend where he was arguing that a fat skydiver would reach the ground faster than a skinny skydiver. To me it seemed as obvious that the world ...
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Where does matter come from?

I admit, it's been a few years since I've studied physics, but the following question came to me when I was listening to a talk by Lawrence Krauss. Is there any knowledge of from where matter that ...
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Do all massless particles (e.g. photon, graviton, gluon) necessarily have the same speed $c$?

I suppose there was a discussion already on speed-of-gravity-and-speed-of-light. But I silly wonder whether all the massless mediators of four fundamental forces, i.e. Graviton: $g_{\mu\nu}$ ...
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Acceleration of two falling objects with identical form and air drag but different masses

I have a theoretical question that has been bugging me and my peers for weeks now - and we have yet to settle on a concrete answer. Imagine two balloons, one is filled with air, one with concrete. ...
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Equivalence of definitions of ADM Mass

ADM Mass is a useful measure of a system. It is often defined (Wald 293) $$M_{ADM}=\frac{1}{16\pi} \lim_{r \to \infty} \oint_{s_r} (h_{\mu\nu,\mu}-h_{\mu\mu,\nu})N^{\nu} dA$$ Where $s_r$ is two ...
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Why does a black hole have a finite mass?

I mean besides the obvious "it has to have finite mass or it would suck up the universe." A singularity is a dimensionless point in space with infinite density, if I'm not mistaken. If something is ...
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What is the role of the vacuum expectation value in symmetry breaking and the generation of mass?

Consider a theory of one complex scalar field with the following Lagrangian. $$ \mathcal{L}=\partial _\mu \phi ^*\partial ^\mu \phi +\mu ^2\phi ^*\phi -\frac{\lambda}{2}(\phi ^*\phi )^2. $$ The ...
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Do we have an idea about the amount of matter in the universe?

Do we consider the amount of matter in the universe to be "infinite"? Or do we have an idea about "how much" there is?
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How the inverse square law in electrodynamics is related to photon mass?

I have read somewhere that one of the tests of the inverse square law is to assume nonzero mass for photon and then, by finding a maximum limit for it , determine a maximum possible error in ...
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Density of a proton

I was doing some exercises the other day, when I came across this question in my book: A proton weighs about 1.66 x 10-24 g and has a diameter of about 10-15 m. What is its density in g/cm3? ...
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Have I discovered how to calculate the proton's mass using only integers?

Could it be possible that the mass of the proton can be calculated by a series of integer sequences? Or is this just a curiosity? $$\sum_{m=1}^{\infty } \frac{1}{10^{26}(m^2+1)_{2m}}=$$ ...
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Why can light (photons) bends in a curve through space without mass? [duplicate]

I've heard that light can form a curve if they travel near high-mass stars or even a black hole with strong gravity. Which is according to this Newtonian formula $$\large ...
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630 views

How do you estimate the mass of a star?

How do we estimate the mass of a single star? I guess we need the luminosity the surface temperature, radius, distance, etc. But we know nothing about the reality, because we can measure the real ...
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473 views

What's with the very slightly larger mass of the neutron compared to the proton?

Neutron mass: 1.008664 u Proton mass: 1.007276 u Why the discrepancy? On a related note, how does one go about measuring the mass of a neutron or proton, anyway?
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Why can't photons have a mass?

Why can't photons have a mass? Could you explain this to me in a short and mathematical way?
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How come a photon acts like it has mass in a superconducting field?

I've heard the Higgs mechanism explained as analogous to the reason that a photon acts like it has mass in a superconducting field. However, that's not too helpful if I don't understand the latter. ...
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Is everything made of massless particles?

Photons have no mass. Yet they interact gravitationally, as all energy does, with other energetic and massive particles. This means that if you put multiple photons in a system, you get something that ...
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Explain how (or if) a box full of photons would weigh more due to massless photons

I understand that mass-energy equivalence is often misinterpreted as saying that mass can be converted into energy and vice versa. The reality is that energy is always manifested as mass in some ...
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235 views

Are all fermions massless at high temperatures?

According to the standard model, the electroweak symmetry is unbroken at high temperatures, and therefore all gauge bosons are massless then. But since fermions are said to acquire mass by a different ...
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501 views

Why do clouds fly? [duplicate]

I know it's probably the most stupid question there is, but why do they fly are the clouds lighter than air? What's keeping those tiny ice structures floating miles about the ground? I've been looking ...
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145 views

Current known *lower* bounds to the neutrino masses?

I started a little bit of Googling around the topic, and found very few information. There are mainly upper limits. I found lower limits only to the rest mass differences of the different neutrino ...
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How did Newton find out gravity is proportional to the product of two masses? [duplicate]

I am going to ask a really stupid question here. It is a very well known fact that gravity is inversely proportional to the distance squared between two masses. I understand how he arrived at this ...
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352 views

For a particle to have physical mass, is it always necessary to have a mass term in the lagrangian?

Since the self-energy adds to the bare mass defined in the Lagrangian, is it possible to create a physical particle mass from the self-energy alone, with no mass terms occuring in the Lagrangian? On ...
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Why do we need Higgs field to re-explain mass, but not charge?

We already had definition of mass based on gravitational interactions since before Higgs. It's similar to charge which is defined based on electromagnetic interactions of particles. Why did Higgs ...
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Question about Majorana fermions

I have a few questions about Majorana fermions. What is Majorana mass? Does it have a different value compared to the mass in the Dirac equation for an arbitrary fermion? How exactly do they differ? ...
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325 views

Why would a particle in an extra dimension appear not as one particle, but a set of particles?

I was reading an article in this months issue of Physics World magazine on the three main theories of extra dimensions and stumbled across something I didn't quite understand when the author began ...
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178 views

Can a superpartner be less massive than its SM counterpart?

Theoretically, can a superpartner be less massive than its standard model counterpart? I realize there are experimental constraints.
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What is the difference between pole and running mass?

For example, when we meassure Higgs boson mass to be 125 GeV, do we think about renormalized or pole mass? Should the mass of the Higgs change if it is produced at higher energies?
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What's this about kinetic energy increasing with the fifth power of length?

I don't quite understand this quote from Stephen J. Gould's Ever since Darwin, where he talks about the compensating physical characteristics of organisms for their size. Other essential features ...
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774 views

Why do neutrinos propagate in a mass eigenstate?

I am aware that flavor $\neq$ mass eigenstate, which is how mixing happens, but whenever someone talks about neutrino oscillations they tend to state without motivation that when neutrinos are ...
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What is the difference between 'running' and 'current' quark mass?

When looking at the PDG, there is a difference between the 'running' and the 'current' quark masses. Does anyone know which is the difference between these two?
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If protons and electrons had similar masses

If electrons and protons had the same mass, would they still be in a stable orbit around their barycenter, or would they eventually collide? Similarly, a positronium(or protonium) only lasts extremely ...
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Is (rest) mass conserved in special relativity?

I don't understand why it is said that the (rest) mass of a system is not conserved in relativity. I mean, the momentum of a system is conserved (i.e.: it remains constant in a frame of reference ...
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573 views

How would the universe be different if the electron mass was twice as large? [closed]

Would the universe even start? Would it collapse or act differently? What if, instead, the mass changed right now? Edit: Since this is too broad lets narrow it to two scenarios: What happens to ...
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783 views

If a neutrino has a rest frame, why can't a photon have a rest frame as well?

Concerning Rest Frame Wikipedia states: For example, in the rest frame of a neutrino particle travelling from the Crab Nebula supernova to Earth the supernova occurred in the 11th Century AD ...
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Why aren't all black holes the same “size”?

The center of a black hole is a singularity. By definition, a singularity has infinite density. So how can a black hole with a different mass or density be described?
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Why should it be allowed to set the einbein to unity?

The Polyakov action for a massive free point particle with worldline $\gamma$ is given by $$ S[\gamma] = \frac{1}{2}\int_\gamma e \biggl(\frac{1}{e^2}\dot{x}^2 - m^2\biggr)\mathrm{d}\tau $$ where ...
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355 views

Who formulated the idea of mass?

This may sound like a dumb question, but googling didn't seem to help. Mostly because I'm having a hard time formulating the question, and anything with "mass" seems to direct me to "Mass Effect". I ...
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537 views

Why mass terms are forbidden?

I would like to clarify my understanding on why mass terms in Lagrangians of gauge theories are forbidden. It's often repeated that particle masses are forbidden by electroweak symmetry because it is ...
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Why can't gauge bosons have mass?

Clearly, a mass term for a vector field would render the Lagrangian not gauge-invariant, but what are the consequences of this? Gauge invariance is supposed to be crucial for the renormalisation of a ...
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Why did this glass start popping?

I remember a while ago my father dropped a glass lid and it smashed. It looked something like this. When that happened, for about 5 minutes afterwards, the glass parts were splitting, kind of like ...
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399 views

What part does the Higgs boson play in conveying mass?

I am a high school physics teacher and did my physics degree a while ago, well before the Higgs boson was on in the physics undergraduate syllabus. Now, I am a little confused. The recent discovery ...
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680 views

Special relativity and massless particles

I encountered an assertion that a massless particle moves with fundamental speed c, and this is the consequence of special relativity. Some authors (such as L. Okun) like to prove this assertion with ...
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1answer
389 views

How did Newton find out force has something to do with acceleration?

Its about Newton's second law of motion, $$F=ma.$$ It says the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force and is inversely proportional to the object's mass. Yes I can ...
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180 views

Intuitive explanation of how hadron mass emerges from the strong force

I'm not familiar with QCD, but I'm looking for intuitive explanation of this phenomenon (it could be that easy explanation does not exist). What I've read is that large part of hadron masses arises ...
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Evidence that stationary masses in space actually attract each other

I'm finding it rather difficult to find experimental evidence that two stationary masses in space (unaffected by external massive bodies or gravities) actually attract one another. For moving masses, ...
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Why is Higgs Boson given the name “The God Particle”?

Higgs Boson (messenger particle of Higgs field) accounts for inertial mass, not gravitational mass. So, how could it account for formation of universe as we know it today? I think, gravity accounts ...
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Why do two bodies of different masses fall at the same rate (in the absence of air resistance)?

I'm far from being a physics expert and figured this would be a good place to ask a beginner question that has been confusing me for some time. According to Galileo, two bodies of different masses, ...