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Could Observation Equal Mass?

  1. Jul 20, 2011 #1
    I'm thinking about the two slit experiement. When you place detectors in front of the slits, the single photon of light behaves as if it has mass. But when you take the detectors away, the photon behaves as if it doesn't have mass.

    Could observation impart mass? Could the higgs boson particle be observation?

    We are looking at a such a small scale, that the very act of looking alters the action. A single photon of light only behaves like it has mass when we are watching it, because in order to "watch something" it has to have mass.

    When we look away, the particle has no mass, because it doesn't need to have mass to be perceived.

    We are looking for the Higgs Boson particle, but what if in a way, "looking" is the particle?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2011 #2


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    Welcome to PhysicsForums, Nick!

    Photons have no more mass (or momentum) from one observational arrangement than another. So no, the idea you suggest does not really fly. You might want to read up on the double slit a little more. This effect is due to "which path" information.
  4. Jul 20, 2011 #3

    What would be the best evidence/experiment confirming the above statement and how certain is it? I've encountered it many times here and elsewhere on the net and genuinely wonder if it's true, as it would require a conscious, perceiving observer(information is only related to mind in this reality).
  5. Jul 20, 2011 #4


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    Photons have no mass. None of what you described here has any indication of photons having mass.

    Please start by reading the FAQ in the General Physics forum.

  6. Jul 20, 2011 #5


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    Maui, I don't understand what you mean by saying a photon acts like it has mass. Do you mean that it acts like a particle when the detectors are there, and like a wave when they are not? If you have a link to a reference, feel free to send it to me via private message, as I don't think it belongs here on a thread seeing as how it really seems incorrect.
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