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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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What is mass (physics)?

I just started musing on how we still haven't really answered that question. Or to be more specific, we still haven't clearly explained the concept. And before you reply with one or more of the definitions - I know them all. And they all fall short of being much other than circular arguments.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

I think we probably have to wait until the existence of the Higgs boson is confirmed to answer this question.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 04:01 PM
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

We don't even know what the force is.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

Yeah. Just my mindset today - musing on how, when you get right down to it, our objective explanations of "reality" are - in reality (sorry . . heh)- not much more than guesstimates and conjecture. Sure we can see the obvious - gravity accelerates an object at x m/s/s but saying what gravity is . . .

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

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Originally Posted by pov View Post
I just started musing on how we still haven't really answered that question. Or to be more specific, we still haven't clearly explained the concept. And before you reply with one or more of the definitions - I know them all. And they all fall short of being much other than circular arguments.
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Yeah. Just my mindset today - musing on how, when you get right down to it, our objective explanations of "reality" are - in reality (sorry . . heh)- not much more than guesstimates and conjecture. Sure we can see the obvious - gravity accelerates an object at x m/s/s but saying what gravity is . . .

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 12th, 2012, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2012, 03:35 AM
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

we still don't really know how magnets work either.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2012, 04:40 AM
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Re: What is mass (physics)?

Well the main aim of physics today is to unite all phenomenon under the same theoretical model, and the leading candidate for everything that excludes non-quantum effects is the Standard Model. The proposed origin of mass is due to the fields exerted by something called the Higgs boson. In essence, imagine the Higgs particle exerting a field throughout the universe very much like a swimming pool. If something interacts very weakly with the field, just like a streamlined body in a pool of water, it will have very little mass. If it interacts strongly, then it will have large mass. Some special particles, like photons of light, are proposed to have no.interactions at all, and they manifest themselves as massless particles.

This is also why the Higgs boson is such a big deal in the media recently, because the high energy collider at CERN can actually detect energy signatures that are specific to the Higgs boson, and hence providing first proof of the completeness of the Standard Model. But the physics is definitely continually being explored, but this is the best candidate we have so far for the origin of mass.

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Last edited by Morning Morgan; Oct 13th, 2012 at 03:33 PM.
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