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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34
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8answers
25k views

If photons have no mass, how can they have momentum?

As an explanation of why a large gravitational field (such as a black hole) can bend light, I have heard that light has momentum. This is given as a solution to the problem of only massive objects ...
69
votes
8answers
13k views

Don't heavier objects actually fall faster because they exert their own gravity?

The common understanding is that, setting air resistance aside, all objects dropped to Earth fall at the same rate. This is often demonstrated through the thought experiment of cutting a large object ...
27
votes
9answers
16k views

How can a photon have no mass and still travel at the speed of light?

I've read a number of the helpful Q&As on photons that mention the mass/mass-less issue. Do I understand correctly that the idea of mass-less (a rest mass of 0) may be just a convention to make ...
15
votes
3answers
6k views

What's the difference between the five masses: inertial mass, gravitational mass, rest mass, invariant mass and relativistic mass?

I have learned in my physics classes about five different types of masses and I am confused about the differences between them. What's the difference between the five masses: inertial mass, ...
7
votes
3answers
848 views

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 ...
10
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11answers
19k views

Why does the (relativistic) mass of an object increase when its speed approaches that of light?

I'm reading Nano: The Essentials by T. Pradeep and I came upon this statement in the section explaining the basics of scanning electron microscopy. However, the equation breaks down when the ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Does a photon exert a gravitational pull?

I know a photon has zero rest mass, but it does have plenty of energy. Since energy and mass are equivalent does this mean that a photon (or more practically, a light beam) exerts a gravitational pull ...
13
votes
3answers
858 views

Are Newton's “laws” of motion laws or definitions of force and mass?

If you consider them as laws, then there must be independent definitions of force and mass but I don't think there's such definitions. If you consider them as definitions, then why are they still ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

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?
4
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5answers
1k views

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, ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How does rest mass become energy?

I know that there's a difference between relativistic rest mass. Relativistic mass is "acquired" when an object is moving at speeds comparable to the speed of light.Rest mass is the inherent mass that ...
1
vote
2answers
394 views

Why is Gravitational force proportional to the masses?.

We know that two mass particles attract each other with a force $$F~=~\frac{G M_1 M_2}{r^2}.$$ But what is the reason behind that? Why does this happen?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Does $E = mc^2$ apply to photons?

Photons are massless, but if $m = 0$ and $E = mc^2$ then $E = 0c^2 = 0$. This would say that photons have no energy, which is not true. However, given the formula $E = ℎf$, a photon does have energy ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Does matter with negative mass exist?

Or does it exist mathematically? Is it really inconsistent with a common-sense, mathematics or known physical laws? As far as I understand, if it exists, it must be far away from the "positive" ...
2
votes
6answers
599 views

Does the (relativistic) mass change? Why?

I learned recently that when an object moves with a velocity comparable to the velocity of light the (relativistic) mass changes. How does this alteration take place?
28
votes
6answers
1k views

What keeps mass from turning into energy?

I understand the energy and mass can change back and forth according to Einstein. It is fluid; it can go from one to the other. So, what keeps mass from just turning into energy? Is there some force ...
29
votes
7answers
7k views

Is a hard drive heavier when it is full?

Browsing Quora, I saw the following question with contradicting answers. For the highest voted answer: The bits are represented by certain orientations of magnetic fields which shouldn't have ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
323 views

Negative Mass and gravitation

Since Newtonian gravity is analogous to electrostatics shouldn't there be something called negative mass? Also, a moving charge generates electric field, but why doesn't a moving mass generate some ...
35
votes
7answers
2k views

Why do we have an elementary charge but no elementary mass?

Why do we have an elementary charge $e$ in physics but no elementary mass? Is an elementary mass ruled out by experiment or is an elementary mass forbidden by some theoretical reason?
20
votes
7answers
3k views

Is (rest) mass quantized?

I learned today in class that photons and light are quantized. I also remember that electric charge is quantized as well. I was thinking about these implications, and I was wondering if (rest) mass ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the $S_{z} =0$ state forbidden for photons?

If photons are spin-1 bosons, then doesn't quantum mechanics imply that the allowed values for the z-component of spin (in units of $\hbar$) are -1, 0, and 1? Why then in practice do we only use the ...
35
votes
7answers
2k views

Massless charged particles

Are there any massless (zero invariant mass) particles carrying electric charge? If not, why not? Do we expect to see any or are they a theoretical impossibility?
5
votes
2answers
907 views

The contribution to mass from the dynamical breaking of chiral symmetry

The claim is often made that the discovery of the Higgs boson will give us information about the origin of mass. However, the bare masses of the up and down quarks are only around 5 MeV, quite a bit ...
1
vote
1answer
615 views

If photons are deflected by a strong gravitational field, then how come photons do not have mass? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Explain how (or if) a box full of photons would weigh more due to massless photons It has been proved and showed through experiments that light can be bent by the Sun or ...
3
votes
4answers
439 views

Does $p=mc$ hold for photons?

Known that $E=hf$, $p=hf/c=h/\lambda$, then if $p=mc$, where $m$ is the (relativistic) mass, then $E=mc^2$ follows directly as an algebraic fact. Is this the case?
1
vote
1answer
163 views

Is light affect by gravity? Why?

I would like to know if light is affected by gravity, also, I would like to know what is the more correct for the definition of gravity: A force that attracts bodies with mass or force that attracts ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that photons slow down when travelling through glass. Does this mean they gain mass? Otherwise, what happens to extra kinetic energy? I understand now ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

If the universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be?

I understand only a little of general relativity, but that's why I'm here! :) Consider the hypothetical situation of some extra-terrestrial intelligence pushing all the mass in the universe, every ...
2
votes
2answers
958 views

How could something have negative mass?

With all the theories on how Neutrinos apparently broke the light barrier, there was one theory someone told me of how neutrinos might have less than zero mass, but she didn't explain how this was ...
1
vote
4answers
216 views

Conversion of mass and energy

First of all I am not a scientist and all these doubts are coming from my curiosity. When Googling about Einstein's $E = mc^2$. I understand that mass and energy are convertible. What it exactly ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Decay of massless particles

We don't normally consider the possibility that massless particles could undergo radioactive decay. There are elementary arguments that make it sound implausible. (A bunch of the following is ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field?

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field and hence remain massless?
6
votes
2answers
353 views

Special relativity and massless particles

I met an approval that 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 approval by the next ...
6
votes
2answers
654 views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How does Higgs Boson get the rest mass?

Higgs Boson detected at LHC is massive. It has high relativistic mass means it has non-zero rest mass. Higgs Boson gives other things rest mass. But, how does it get rest mass by itself?
6
votes
3answers
659 views

Special Relativity and $E = mc^2$

I read somewhere that $E=mc^2$ shows that if something was to travel faster than the speed of light then they would have infinite mass and would have used infinite energy. How does the equation show ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do neutrino oscillations imply nonzero neutrino masses?

Neutrinos can pass from one family to another (that is, change in flavor) in a process known as neutrino oscillation. The oscillation between the different families occurs randomly, and the likelihood ...
4
votes
5answers
636 views

Does $E$ really equal $mc^2$?

I'm currently in a debate with a co-worker. If mass is sped up to the speed of light, does the mass become energy?
3
votes
3answers
376 views

How can we deduce the relation $m = \frac{m_0}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}$ between relativistic mass and rest mass in special relativity? [duplicate]

I was watching a video on Youtube which deduce Einstein's relation $E=mc^2$ and the process of deduction used the relation between relativistic mass and rest mass, which is $$m= ...
4
votes
1answer
188 views

Understanding the different kinds of mass in gravity

On this site, the Phys.SE question Is there a fundamental reason why gravitational mass is the same as inertial mass? has been asked. See also this Phys.SE question. The 'answer' provided on this ...
0
votes
1answer
264 views

Expression for the (relativistic) mass of the photon [closed]

I started learning a bit ahead from an old physics book, and they were discussing the photoelectric effect and after that Planck's hypotheses and energy quantas. The book said that the mass of a ...
78
votes
23answers
7k views

How can you weigh your own head in an accurate way?

I read some methods but they're not accurate. They use the Archimedes principle and they assume uniform body density which of course is far from true. Others are silly like this one: Take a knife ...
63
votes
16answers
111k views

How Does Mass Leave the Body When you Lose Weight?

When your body burns calories and you lose weight, obviously mass is leaving your body. In what form does it leave? In other words, what is the physical process by which the body loses weight when ...
14
votes
3answers
635 views

Does relativistic mass have weight?

If an object was sliding on an infinitely long friction-less floor on Earth with relativistic speeds (ignoring air resistance), would it exert more vertical weight force on the floor than when it's at ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Relativistic momentum

I have been trying to derive why relativistic momentum is defined as $p=\gamma mv$. I set up a collision between 2 same balls ($m_1 = m_2 = m$). Before the collision these two balls travel one ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the exact gravitational force between two masses including relativistic effects?

I was wondering if there is a closed-form formula for the force between two masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ if relativistic effects are included. My understanding is that the classic formula $G \frac{m_1 ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

Relation of Higgs couplings to masses of fundamental particles

The standard model has 12 massive leptons and 2 massive bosons other than the Higgs. My understanding of the Higgs mechanism is at about the level of this article, which goes as follows. Start with ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

Is there a theory which treats particles as classical point singularities?

Is there a published theory that looks at all matter as occupying no space and only being felt because of its gravitational pull? We've been taught in school that matter has mass and occupies space. ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Do light and sound waves have mass

I have been reading Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time' and it has gotten me thinking about Einstein's theory of relativity, in that it assumes that an object must have infinite mass if it is to be ...