Science education

Matter CAN be Massless

Mystics and crackpots mutilate modern physics so much that at the end it appears as one of their spiritual karmic entities. A favorite mutilation is to equate masslessness with non-materiality and conclude that a particle such as photon – the particle of light which is massless – is non-material. Yet the theories of relativity and quantum physics, and therefore, the entire modern physics, which studies only material objects, is based largely on photons and photon-like particles. Crackpots’ conclusion? Modern physics talks about non-material in precisely the same manner that Eastern theosophy talks about tao, qi, chakra, prana, akasha, dharma, Tantra, etc. Therefore, Eastern mysticism is on a scientific footing! … But is mass a necessary property of materiality?

Whats The Matter 7360626In his 1939 seminal paper that won him the Nobel Prize in 1963, Eugene Wigner, the great Hungarian-American mathematical physicist, asked the question: If we assume that relativistic energy and momentum are properties of matter, how should we characterize the particles of which matter is made up? The answer came in the form of a mathematical proof: the particles of matter are characterized by two non-negative numbers, mass and spin. Either of these numbers could be zero. Therefore,

With the exactness of a mathematical proof, we can assert that photons – and other massless particles – are as material as electrons, protons, atoms, molecules, and billiard balls!

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