How can photons arise out of pure energy?

  • Thread starter g.lemaitre
  • Start date
  • #1
267
1
In the First Three Minutes, S Weinberg wrote:

These particles—electrons, positrons, neutrinos, photons— were continually being created out of pure energy, and then after short lives being annihilated again

I thought mass gives rise to pure energy in the form of photons. I didn't know pure energy could give rise to photons, I thought photons were pure energy.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
27,611
11,809
There is no such thing as "pure energy". That's not a scientific concept - it's science fiction, and popularizations of science sometimes steal the term. But there is no way to measure the "purity of energy", so it's not a scientific concept.
 
  • #3
174
5
There is no such thing as "pure energy". That's not a scientific concept - it's science fiction, and popularizations of science sometimes steal the term. But there is no way to measure the "purity of energy", so it's not a scientific concept.

yeah, I think the concept is just used in the sense that if you have enough energy around you can create particles and photons (conservation of energy),, but that energy didn't come in a "pure form" it was already there in the state of the particles.
 
  • #4
45
1
There is no such thing as "pure energy". That's not a scientific concept - it's science fiction, and popularizations of science sometimes steal the term. But there is no way to measure the "purity of energy", so it's not a scientific concept.

Of course, you are right when saying that it is no scientific concept. However, I guess that people using the term "pure energy" will usually emphasize that no matter is involved, i.e. photons do not carry any matter quantum numbers like "lepton number", "baryon number", "electric charge" etc..
 
  • #5
35,655
12,218
Photons carry spin. The definition of "matter quantum number" looks a bit arbitrary, but I know what you mean.
 

Related Threads on How can photons arise out of pure energy?

Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
4K
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
9
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
1K
Replies
11
Views
3K
Top