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What causes Mass

  1. Aug 1, 2004 #1
    I know the question sounds stupid but mathmatically speaking. What causes mass topologically, when does energy just say, "ok now i want to become matter and fit neatly on the plane and that plane or coordinate of this here pretty three dimensional geometry.

    sorry if it's a dumb question.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2004 #2


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    Don't say its a dumb question because its not. Why hasn't anyone replied? Well, I know that some zero point energy/ether energy/vacuum energy theorists say that the universe is made of a "thing" they call ether. Matter is a geometric form of ether that gives itself inertial qualities. They belive the most advanced form of power production would be to create or find something or someplace that extracts the ether and converts it to matter or pure energy.
  4. Aug 1, 2004 #3
    It's not a dumb question at all.

    I can give an example that might help a bit.

    Protons are made up of two quarks (actually, I'm ASSUMING a proton is made up of two quarks ... I don't know the exact details and I'm sure a whole heap of people will come on and tell me this is wrong, but the idea is correct).

    In terms of mass, though, the sum of the masses of the two quarks falls far, far short of the mass of the proton. So, some of the 'mass' must be due to the 'binding' energy (again, someone please correct my inaccurate terms).

    This doesn't 'explain' where the mass of the quarks come from, though.
  5. Aug 1, 2004 #4
    Protons, just like all baryons are made of 3 quarks.

    The explanation with binding-energy is right when looked at the proton in it's ground state. Don't forget though that the interactions of quarks can also alter the constituent mass of a proton. This also occurs when vacuum-polarizations are taken into account.

    The mechanism that gives (rest)mass to quarks is the Higgsmechanism. By interacting with a fundamental particle called the Higgs particle, fundamental particles acquire mass. We have a lot of threads on this matter. Just look for anything with Higgs in the title

    If more explanation is needed, just let me know

  6. Aug 1, 2004 #5
    Thanks for the correction, marlon.
  7. Aug 1, 2004 #6
    the higgs boson is still only theorised dont forget

  8. Aug 1, 2004 #7
    i know its only theorized about, but what is the higgs boson, what would it account for, be like, etc
  9. Aug 1, 2004 #8
    I'm sure there are many better able to answer this question but I'll have a go.

    The Higgs Boson is a particle theorised by Peter Higgs. My (decidedly basic) understanding of it is that all particles that have mass also possess Higgs Bosons and as such they feel something known as the Higgs Field. The Higgs Bosons then essentially make the matter in which they are contained drag when passing through this field, which is what gives them their mass.

    I'm sure that is a poor description of the effect, but you can find more about it at:


    Newer particle accelerators such as the LHC at Cern, when they become operational will attempt to detect the Higgs Particle, starting (I think) in around 2005-2006.
  10. Aug 1, 2004 #9
    how will the find them there, i thought higgs boson were suppose to be massive.

    maybe i am thinkin of the gravitron
  11. Aug 1, 2004 #10
    i had believed that most of the mass of particles comes from the internal kinetic energy. or am i wrong?
  12. Aug 1, 2004 #11
    daveed, I was more asking the question about the abstract mathmaticall dimensions and what would constitute mass like how it would assume position in spacetime, but thanx anyways k.
  13. Aug 2, 2004 #12
    I dont know about that, but the whole Higgs field theory explains WHAT mass is. As others said before, its like a "resistance" to the Higgs field.
  14. Aug 2, 2004 #13


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    Ohh I forgot about the higgs field...
  15. Aug 2, 2004 #14


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  16. Aug 2, 2004 #15
    I'm not sure what topology has to do with all of this. It also seems from your replies that you're only interested in the mass of particles and not in the mass of arbitrary objets. These are two different topics. The change in mass of a macroscopic body has a different mechanism than the mass of an arbitrary body. It seems to me that for every mode of energy change there is a corresponing mechanism which facilitates the change.

  17. Aug 4, 2004 #16
    can you explain what and arbitrary body is? and how each has different mechanism.

    Pete, you help me so much, so i hope you can understand what I am asking here.

    Ok I am trying to envision or understand how matter came to be, or should I say how it(if we gave it a brain) chooses to take form in space time. How it assumes positon, like take a tree thats growing, it starts to sprout up out and side to side in all three dimensions but when it does this it assumes a position in space time what allows this, i know it sounds stupid, but in the begginning its like a flat jack in the box and the boom out pops jack, its abstract yes but maybe you can explain it to me.
    maybe i have just not paid attention is any phys or math class in college and am way wrong...
  18. Aug 7, 2004 #17
    What is a good definition of mass?

    I like to think of mass as a set of force fields that occupy some amount of space. These force fields include electric fields, which are always connected to magnetic fields, and potentially other force fields which have not yet been observed.

    I also believe that there is no physical or mechanical mass in the universe. This means that all particles do not have any mechanical mass at the center of the particle. The mass, that we perceive, is simply the interaction of one set of force fields against another set of force fields.

  19. Aug 10, 2004 #18
    Mass is electromagnetic change. Think about it. Einstein came up with that notion almost a hundred years ago. Einstein said, "the final irreducible constituent of all physical reality is the electromagnetic field."

    No one has ever been able to come up with any physical thing that can not be reduced to electromagnetic fields.

    Works for me :smile:

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