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Mass of the Electron

  1. Sep 18, 2012 #1


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    I thought that somewhere I read the Electron has no intrinsic mass, but instead gains it's mass via interaction with the Higg's field. But I found no reference to this in the electron's Wikipedia definition (although it is a long article, and I might have missed it).

    So what is true about the mass of the electron? And if the electron really has no intrinsic mass, is this also the case with other fundamental particles (i.e. Quarks)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2012 #2
    Here is what you are looking for:

    Yukawa Interaction

    This is how a scalar field couples to a fermion field :)
  4. Sep 18, 2012 #3
    but was it not once thought that the mass of the electron, (or at least part of it), was due to the energy tied up in its electric field? since presumably this electromagnetic mass effect still make some kind of contribution to the actual observed mass, how does that fit into the higgs field picture?
  5. Sep 18, 2012 #4
    Are you talking about the bare mass versus the renormalized mass?
  6. Sep 19, 2012 #5
    oh dear! i am not at all sure! i suspect i asked the wrong question because i do not precisely understand what is going on! so, try again! -- and to quickly recap, the old idea was, i believe, that the total mass of the electron was comprised of an intrinsic mass or mechanical mass, i.e. the mass it would have if the electric charge could somehow be switched off, plus an electromagnetic mass due to the energy of the electric field. so, with that picture in mind, can one identify the intrinsic mass or mechanical mass with the mass acquired from the higgs field? and if so, is it meaningful to ask what fraction of the observed mass of ~0.51MeV is higgs and what fraction electromagnetic?
    and now just to add to the confusion, where would the bare mass and renormalized mass fit in? is the bare mass the same thing as the intrinsic mass or higgs acquired mass? there are far too many masses here for my peace of mind!
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