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Q & A: minutephysics on Higgs

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Most recent answer: 04/09/2013
Q:
I learned from minute physics that particles with mass travel at the speed of light, but they bounces around in the Higgs field so much that they can appear to not be moving at all. Particles without mass travel at the speed of light because they are not influenced by the Higgs field. I always wondered where c squared in E = M*C^2 comes. Is there anyone who has suggested that c squared somehow is caused by the energy necessary to slow the particles from the speed of light, or the speed of mass less particles to zero speed?
- Richard Bruce (age 59)
Davis, CA, USA
A:
I found that minutephysics video. I'm not sure how useful its description of what the Higgs does as causing a particle to bounce "back and forth at the same time" is , but it is very hard to try to describe these quantum effects in familiar language.

I'm not quite sure what your proposed explanation of the c2 is. The argument for why there must be that conversion factor to go from mass units to energy units was developed by Einstein long ago. It's really rather simple, especially if you start from the previously known fact that for light E=pc, where p is momentum. Any good beginning book on special relativity should have this argument early on.

Mike W.

(published on 04/09/2013)

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