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Mass shell

  1. Aug 11, 2008 #1
    what does it mean when somebody says that a particle is on its mass shell? I have somewhat but not full understanding of that.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2008 #2


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    Ahoy there captain! :smile:

    All real particles are on the mass shell.

    Only pretend particles can be off-mass-shell … you use them in Feynman-type calculations, and then forget about them. :wink:
  4. Aug 11, 2008 #3
    A particle is on mass shell if E^2 = (pc)^2 + (mc^2)^2 holds. Virtual particles are off mass shell.
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