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Gravitational or inertial mass gain in cern ?

  1. Jan 9, 2014 #1

    I have been reading about CERN for a while and found amazing - amongst many other things - the fact that hadrons in the LHC turn some of their energy to mass after having reached the maximum possible speed. However this statement was not clear enough. I was wondering whether the mass they gained was their Inertial or their Active Gravitational. Do they really get heavier or is it just an increase of their inertia?

    Thank you in advance,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2014 #2
    It's real mass. The result of E=mc^2 or m=Ec^-2.
    As they approach the speed of light, the affect is enormous.
  4. Jan 9, 2014 #3


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    They increase their inertia, that is sure and easy to see. The active gravitational mass is far too small to measure it. According to GR, their energy is a contribution to active gravitational mass (in our lab frame), but the gravitational effect of moving masses is more complicated than a simple increase in mass.
    They don't turn something into something else. In collisions, a fraction of their energy is used to create new particles.
    That does not happen, but they are very close to the speed of light (some km/h away from it).
  5. Jan 10, 2014 #4
    Thank you for your replies! You 've both been most informative!

    I meant the hadron's maximum possible speed which is of course less than the speed of light.
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