A couple of weeks ago, I revisited George Shollenberger, the creator the alleged “First Scientific Proof of God”, and commented on his pathetic antics on amazon.com, trying to explain just why no one had bothered to post a single review of his book. (If you’ll

recall, according to George, it’s because everyone is too busy considering the impact that his proof is going to have on their activities.)

Normally, I wouldn’t revisit a two-bit crank like George after such a short interval, but he showed up in the comments again to specifically point at a post he made on his own blog, which he *claims* justifies his position that all of mathematics needs to be reconsidered in light of his supposed proof.

And it’s just too silly to pass up.

There are two parts to it; but the second one is really just a reiteration of the first, expanded with even more nonsensical babble. Here’s the first part:

Last evening, I listened to a video presented by Professor Muhammad al Mahdi on the first Muslim scientific proof of God. Click Although the audio was bad, I could understand enough of the words used by al Mahdi. In general, this Muslim proof of God is based on Einstein’s relativity theory. For instance, if you are on a moving train and are walking in the same direction as the train, a person standing still outside of the train will say that you are moving faster than the train. But, if you are walking in the opposing direction , the person standing outside will say that you are moving slower than the train.

The Muslim proof deals with the motion of a particle of light (a photon) and its motion to our planet from the sun. If the photon has mass and moves from the sun to our planet at the speed of light, the mass of the photon would increase to infinity and destroy planet earth. Only if a photon has no mass, can light appear in our world. The truth is that each photon travels to planet earth in a fraction of a second.

Physicists identify a photon as a packet of light energy. But, if a photon has energy, Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc

^{2}, applies. If a photo has energy, at the speed of light the mass of the photon is approaching infinity and a photo would destroy our planet. Obviously, today’s physicists have made an error on defining a photon. The Muslim scientists correct this error by removing akk mass from the photon. When all mass is removed, the massless photon becomes an attribute of God where it is pure energy rather than physical light energy. So, biblical statements such as ‘let there be light’ have been correct.

So, first… He utterly botches relativity. The gibberish he describes has absolutely zippo, nada, nil, nothing to do with the *actual* theory of relativity. In fact, what he describes is nothing more than the concept of “frame of reference”, which dates back to roughly the time of Isaac Newton. But you know what? Botching relativity isn’t that big a deal: so few people actually have a clue of what it mnd it’eans that it’s hard to be overly critical of a dumb old guy for getting it wrong.

On the other hand, there’s the next paragraph. There’s no excuse for that.

How long does it take for a photon to reach the earth? Well, photons move at

186,000 miles/second. The average distance from the earth to the sun is about 93 million miles. So it takes about 500 seconds – or somewhat over *8 minutes* for a photon to get from the sun to the earth. And that’s not hard math, nor is it exactly esoteric knowledge – I learned how long it took for light to get to the earth in 4th grade. This is *profound* ignorance, and likewise profound innumeracy – anyone who had *any clue* about the speed of light, and the rough magnitude of the size of earths orbit (which *should* include anyone who claims to have revolutionized all of modern math and physics) – would pretty much instantly be able to tell that it takes far more than an instant for a photon to reach the earth.

And then, he tries to play games with the old e=mc^{2} equation – which, once again, demonstrates total and profound innumeracy and scientific illiteracy. e=mc^{2} has absolutely *no relation* to what George is talking about. There’s nothing in that equation that says *anything* about *anything* approaching infinity. It’s just that George remembers hearing somewhere that relativity says mass increases as you get closer to the speed of light, and he thinks that e=mc^{2} *is* relativity. But he obviously doesn’t even understand the

notation of the equation – because anyone who can even read an equation can see that the that equation says *nothing* about anything approaching infinity. Nor does it say *anything* about whether or not photons have mass.

That equation tells you *how much energy* is equivalent to a particular amount of mass. It does *not* say that anything with a particular amount of energy has a particular amount of mass. There is no legitimate way – if you actually understand the equation – to read that as saying that a photon must have mass because it has energy.

So how’s old George holding up here, in his claim to be supporting the idea that we need to re-consider the foundations of mathematics in light of his discovery? Not good at all. This little argument of his is not just supportive of his claim, but by demonstrating the sheer depth of his innumeracy, it utterly destroys any claim that he might have to understand anything that he’s talking about.

J-DogCareful! If you keep on building Old George up like this, next thing you know, he’ll be another DI Fellow.

_ArthurHeads up, Mark, Granville Sewell is posting on Uncommon Descent.

J. Rosenhouse has already guffawed at Evolution Blog.

GeckIt is probably worth mention in breaking down that argument that photons do have a rest mass of zero and that relativity will accept that quite happily. The thing about infinite mass at lightspeed only applies to something that has non-zero rest mass to start with.

ZombieE=mc2 is only true when you (a) are in the particle’s rest frame or (b) use a “Lorentz-adjusted” mass for a moving particle. The latter, though, is the wrong way to look at it. The correct equation, of which the popular one is a special case, is,

E2 = m2c4+p2c2

where p is the particle’s momentum. Of course, if you take the square root and factor out c2 and replace p = mv, you end up with m multiplied by the Lorentz factor, which is where (b) above comes from. Unfortunately, for v=c, this diverges (the Lorentz factor, not the mass).

The correct story for zero mass particles is not to do all that freshman algebra. Go back to the real equation and stick in a zero rest mass, and you get simply,

E = pc

In other words, energy is proportional to momentum. That is what photons have. This is not infinite. Maxwell’s electrodynamics can tell you both the energy and momentum of an electromagnetic wave, and this equation is consistent with it, and quantum mechanics will tell you the momentum of one photon, based on Planck’s constant.

ZombieForgot to say: the divergence of the Lorentz factor for v=c is what’s confused the creationists with this nonsensical infinite mass business.

SteveMAfter visiting George’s blog, I am amazed to learn that he has an electrical engineering degree and can be so woefully innumerate with regard to the speed of light. He claims to have worked in satellite telemetry, a field I would imagine would require intimate knowledge of the behavior of light and radio signals. Wow, just wow.

JoshuaWith all due respect, Mark, are you sure our pal George is right in the head? It’s not as obvious as Time Cube, but nonetheless I’m not so sure this is a sporting contest.

Thony C.“In fact, what he describes is nothing more than the concept of “frame of reference”, which dates back to roughly the time of Isaac Newton.”

The fundamental idea of the frame of reference actually goes back to Euclid’s Optics from about 300BCE!

Mark HudsonI think that the sad fact is that the majority of these people, with their immoveable obsessions, are just simply insane. Whether this insanity manifests itself as an unswerving belief in gods visiting ancient civilisations, or creating man and woman out of dirt, or that a dead famous guy is going to come and burn all the people we don’t like, or, or, or… doesn’t really make much difference.

They’re all just mad.

Oh well. It’s things like this that make me a little depressed.

jackdSteveM, Joshua, go back and read that thread that MarkCC references. It seems that some time before he wrote his book, Shollenberger had a serious arterial blockage with some brain damage.

Ian CookJoshua — that’s about where I got to after reading his intro on the far right of his blog.

Apparently, Jesus needs to “detect” the blog at some point. Since, you know, He’s not always up on the latest blogosphere goings-on.

While I appreciate MCC taking on the loonies parading as scientists, I think this might just be a loonie parading — period.

Jonathan Vos PostClose study of Isaac Newton’s treatise on the Book of Revelations, and the Necronomicon of Professor Muhammad al Mahdi, reveals that the Apocalypse will begin when the Third Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, and Jesus reads about it on a blog.

It takes roughly a million years for a photon to random walk from the fusion reactions of the core out to the photosphere. Now, from the point of view of a photon, always going at velocity C, it does not take 8 minutes to get from the photosphere of the sun to the Earth. From the photon’s reference frame, it IS instantaneous.

So, from the photonic viewpoint, there is zero elapsed time between leaving the Sun and absorbing into your retina.

Daniel LyonsI think both of George’s errors can be explained by the erroneous belief that the speed of light is infinite. I haven’t heard of anyone having that belief before now though.

Thony C.“I haven’t heard of anyone having that belief before now though.”

Most scientists in the 17th C. thought that the speed of light was infinite until Ole Römer actually measured it.

MiguelBI can’t resist pointing to today’s dieselsweeties comic strip. It is (somewhat) on topic:

http://www.dieselsweeties.com/archive.php?s=1717

Crysfascinating stuff, truly, but what’s with all the “dumb old guy” stuff? i would think you can make your points and take someone to intellectual task without being completely rude and obnoxious along the way.

although it doesn’t discredit your position, of course, it most certainly makes it hard to read.

agleeDumb he is, but what does old have to do with it?

In any case, thank God (?) Feynman isn’t alive to read this.

Jonathan Vos PostI wouldn’t quite put it that way, aglee, but I know what you mean. I really miss Feynman. He loved a good question, and would not be judgmental about who asked it. He also told me that if you can’t explain your research to your garbageman or mailman, then you don’t understand it well enough. It is HARD to give a simple explanation of a subtle idea. But one must try. If the audience doesn’t understand, the speaker is primarily to blame.

Mark C. Chu-CarrollJonathan:

I didn’t know that Feynman said that. It’s very similar to something my father always told me as I was growing up, when he was teaching me stuff. He’d make me explain things back to him – because the best way to check if you know something is to explain it to someone else. No matter how well you think you know it, if you can’t explain it to other people, you

don’tknow it. It’s a principle which has served me very well over the years, and which indirectly led to my writing this blog.Jonathan Vos PostOdds are that he is quoted to that effect in “Genius” — the Pulitzer-winning biography, or one of his bestsellers.

Many of the printed Feynman anecdotes were told and retold by him, scores of them to me, and polished to a fine edge, even though giving the appearance of utter spontaneity. Hard to tell, because his absolutely spontaneous statements were often the obvious product of genius . Whoops! That’s an Intelligent Design argument;)

But I agree very strongly with you, Mark.

I got much better at understanding Astronomy since I took the classes at Caltech when I first had to explain it to several hundred senior citizens in a series of Elderhostel classes (where I was replacing an unavailable Greg Benford). Then I got even deeper understanding from teaching 100+ college students in lectures and laboratory.

Ditto, when I taught Human Evolution. Or Ethics of Cloning. Or Epistemology. Or Oceanography. Or any of the other subjects I taught for tiny monetary reward, but huge gifts of insight.

Things I was sure I fully understood were challenged by simple questions from students, be they male, female, blue collar, white collar, teenager, 90 years old, Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, or Libertarians.

Again and again I’d go back to primary texts, read the footnotes I’d skipped the first time, pondered deeply, and struggled to explain at the next class.

Usually, the class and I converged on being satisfied.

Sometimes, though, I became skeptical of what I’d fully accepted before the questioning. In those cases, too, the attempt at clear explanation marvelously focused my mind.

There were interesting cases where I became skeptical of the dogma, and skeptical of the skeptics. It’s an exhilirating kind of Zen satori. I’m in that zone for Strong AI, for example, and some subtle aspects of QM and GR. For that matter, I was startled to discover exactly WHY Einstein abandoned SR. For that matter, I cannot say that there is a luminiferous aether, or that there is not. Skeptics fascinated my with theories about the aether as a superfluid. Or, in my modification, a supersolid. I cannot say how many dimensions our physical universe has. I’ve been noodling with analytical calculations about 4+1 D crystals, i.e. 4-dimensional body-centered-hypercubic crystals of points (or tiny hyperspheres) + 1 dimension of Time. The issue is stability. I was surprised to see that Feynman had played around with the same model!

And that’s part of why your blog is so good. Your intention was admirable; your execution remarkable.

Xanthir, FCDHeh, my wife always complains that I explain things to her that she already knows. I have to keep telling her, “Baby, I’m not explaining this for you. I’m explaining it for

me. I can’t say I understand something until I’ve explained it so many times there aren’t any questions left.”This is also why I don’t need to run the radio in the car. I fill the emptiness with my own voice.

agleeJonathan,

I was thinking of how nuts it drove Feynman that time he was reviewing “educational” math books: http://www.textbookleague.org/103feyn.htm

Jonathan Vos Postaglee: Excellent link! I’d completely forgotten about that.

I should have remembered, because my mother was a 3rd grade teacher in Brooklyn, her brother played cards with Feynman, I had a school teacher in common with Feynman, I was a beta-test subject for New York City’s first New Math textbooks in 2nd or 3rd grade (I breezed through all the texts through the 6th grade ones in the first day, and they took that as a good sign), and I discussed this whole schoolback matter with Feynman.

“‘John and his father go out to look at the stars. John sees two blue stars and a red star. His father sees a green star, a violet star, and two yellow stars. What is the total temperature of the stars seen by John and his father?’ — and I would explode in horror….”

I once heard a docent at a science museum “explain” to a crowd that the “surface” temperature of the Sun is about 6000 Farenheit. I was okay with that, since the Sun’s outer visible layer is called the photosphere and has a temperature of roughly 6000°C = 11000°F. But then he said:

“That’s more than 50 times the temperature of boiling water.”

I objected, politely. He defended himself with the fact that 11000 / 212 = 51.8867925.

I explained that neither water nor the Sun were personally familar with humans with temperature scales named after them. Yet, in a sense, they acted as if they knew about Kelvin. I pointed out that water boils at water boils at 373.16K and since the Sun’s photosphere was at roughly 6000K it was more scientific to say that the Sun’s photosphere is roughly 16 times as hot as boiling water:

6000 / 373.16 = 16.0788938

He didn’t get it. He repeated his 50+ line to the puzzled crowd. My girlfriend (this was years before I was married) physically pulled me away from the crowd.

By the way, the Pasadena Unified School District has collapsed in efficacy since Feynman’s school board involvement. It is a combination of “bright flight” to private schools (misreported as “white flight” because of bussing), terrible policy by teachers’ unions (even those my wife and I have been in), and enormous graft and corruption. Once a year the PUSD throws a party for their vendors (of textbooks, chalk, paper, and the like). The line item in the budget for the party is GREATER than than the amount spent each year for textbooks! The PUSD does not have even an average of 1 textbook per student. I could go on, but it hurts to think about. I’ve even applied to teach High School Math in Pasadena. That was about a year ago. I have yet to be given my first interview.

Feynman was right. You were right to cite him. Something MUST be done. For the children!

Rev. BigDumbChimpMark, I’d expect a random comment for the next few weeks or months pointing out each new bit of gobblygook he’s come up with. He hits me up periodically with a random comment usually to a post I made weeks before.

Still zero reviews on Amazon fyi.

agleeJonathan — I am not worthy! Feynman is a hero of sorts to me, even though my science knowledge is poor and I hit the math wall roughly at linear algebra (though somehow I managed to get an A in abstract topology). I wish I could have seen Feynman in person before he died.

It drives me nuts just *thinking* about the “total temperature of the stars”!

I’m reminded of another crazy-making anecdote, the one about the guy trying to explain to a Verizon rep the difference between one cent and 0.01 cents. You can just tell the Verizon reps were never taught what numbers and units mean; they only learned to recognize two digits after a decimal point as a number of cents.

Mike HaubrichHmmm. I see “George” and “Scientific Proof of God” and I think George S. Hammond and his Eigen Vectors. I always liked him because he was so arrogant. Psychologists and biologists wouldn’t be able to understand his proof because it was too complicated. But as soon as he published his book everyone else would accept the SPOG.

His was a little more complicated than this and had nothing to do with relativity nor infinite speed of photons. Hammond was using Eigen Vectors, which sounds vaguely like “Time Cube.”

AlejandroI just wanted to say something about this comic that was linked to:

http://www.dieselsweeties.com/archive.php?s=1717

Electrons cannot move at the speed of light.

Torbjörn LarssonThat is IMO a hallmark of the best teachers. Everyone should be so lucky to meet such an educator.

That reminds me of an anecdote. (But since I am too lazy to get the references, I may fumble the details.) When the basic course in solid state physics covers phonon spectra, it typically starts out with an 1D lattice model, as in Kittel’s “Introduction to Solid State Physics”. The lowest longitudinal mode (the uniform mode) would be equivalent to moving the whole crystal, and is typically neglected in a Fourier analysis with fixed or infinite boundaries.

At the course only a few of us noted that, after all it is a simple model and it was outside its purpose. Of course some excitation modes (hitting) may indeed move the crystal. And others (temperature) will benefit from a more realistic analysis from averaging et cetera in real, finite crystals. But the interesting reaction was the teacher’s. He simply said something equivalent to “Don’t bother” and dropped the matter, which wasn’t very helpful at the time.

A common test for models is, or should be, to push it ’til it breaks. It is done to judge if it is inherently wrong or where its domain of applicability is or what would improve it. Apparently that educator wasn’t used to think in that way.

AnonymousI have a corollary to this. Whenever one of my kids would come to me for help with their math homework, I would first force them to explain to me exactly what they didn’t understand about the problem (and not just point to it and say “help”). More than half the time, in trying to explain what they didn’t understand, they would suddenly say “Ah! I get it!” and not need my help after all. It was a trick I picked up in college, most of the time when I’d get stuck on a problem and try to describe it to someone else, the answer would become clear.

Jonathan Vos PostTorbjörn Larsson:

The 1D lattice model, as in Kittel’s “Introduction to Solid State Physics” is not a bad place to start. But there is no such thing (so far as I know) as 1-D magnetism. Magnetism starts in 2-D.

Ferromagnetism was first explained at a deep mathematical level by Ising’s model, which also explains weird phenomena such as fractional quantum Hall state accompanied by hysteresis in accord with 2D Ising ferromagnetism. and domain formation.

The stuff that PHysics students and EE students learn about “left-hand rule” and Maxwell’s Equations (actually most students now learn Heaviside’s equations) are uniquely dependent on 3-D space plus 1-D time. Only in 3-D and 7-D is there a good cross product.

Which is part of why I’m playing with 4-D space + 1-D time crystals.

Note that actual substances that form “quasicrystals” in 3-D are best explained as projections of 6-D crystals! Penrose tiles are a 2-D side-effect of 6-D geometry and crystallography.

I’ve been reading in the past few hours a paper by John Horton Conway (yes, that Conway: Game of Life, Surreal Numbers) and Neil J. A. Sloane about multidimensional lattices. Very very weird things happen at 11-D and 24-D. Physics intuition seems to get in the way of seeing things in these spaces.

Very simple questions such as “what is a crystal?” have shown me the depths of my ignorance in blindingly clear ways.

I’ll really not “get it” until I have to teach what I’ve been reading and doing…

Xanthir, FCDJVP – Mind citing that paper? I wouldn’t mind taking a look at it, even if it would be way over my head.

Jonathan Vos PostJ. H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane, Low-Dimensional Lattices VII: Coordination Sequences, Proc. Royal Soc. London, A453 (1997), 2369-2389

http://www.research.att.com/~njas/doc/ldl7.pdf

The pages come out in the wrong order, onscreen or when you laserprint them. So print then collate.

This is one of a series of papers. Those, and the list of references, point you in many interesting directions.

As always, look for what’s available on the web. In the brick-and-morter library, start with Coxeter’s “Regular Polytopes.”

I just a few minutes ago calculated the hypervolume of what Conway & Sloane call asn “ambotesseract” where the very name, in Conway’s Polyhedral Notation, told me how to proceed.

Xanthir, FCDThanks! I’d already been searching for the paper, but Sloane and Conway have written several papers together, so I wasn’t sure exactly which one you were referring to.

::goes to wander through math that is above his head, but still excessively interesting::

George ShollenbergerMark,

I didn’t know about this blogging effort of you. But you still don’t realize that mathematicians need to restudy their field of thought because God’s existence is proven. This proof will change all fields including the field of mathematics.

It is clear to me in this blog, that I heard incorrectly some statements of the Muslims. Please excuse me because I am hard of hearing and am slowly going blind. But you can correct these minor flaws yourself, as you are.

Those flaws don’t bother me because I am after facts at a higher level. For instance, how can a massless photon or any massless thing get mass other than with the equation e = mc2. And, don’t give me an answer like the BIG BANG partical. This particle is finite and cannot originate anything. The Muslims say say theat the massless photon comes from God and one of God’s attributes. This attribute is light, an many scriptures say. So, a photon receives light energy from God, but only if God creates the photon.

There is no numeracy involved in God. Numeracy appears only if God creates. This is clearly stated in my book. So, how is a mathematician going to tell us that God either exists or does not exit with mathematics? This is impossible. So how can you say the I returned to prove my innumeracy?

Xanthir, FCD???

Photons don’t have mass. They don’t get mass. They’re massless, plain and simple.

Also, I find it hard to believe that even someone who is hard of hearing can mishear “8 minutes” as “a fraction of a second”.

It *is* okay to admit that you didn’t know what you were talking about, you know. If you don’t know everything, it’s bound to happen.

Jonathan Vos Post==========

[Physics FAQ] – [Copyright]

Original by Philip Gibbs 1997.

Does light have mass?

The short answer is “no”, but it is a qualified “no” because there are odd ways of interpreting the question which could justify the answer “yes”.

Light is composed of photons, so we could ask if the photon has mass. The answer is then definitely “no”: the photon is a massless particle. According to theory it has energy and momentum but no mass, and this is confirmed by experiment to within strict limits. Even before it was known that light is composed of photons, it was known that light carries momentum and will exert pressure on a surface. This is not evidence that it has mass since momentum can exist without mass. (For details see the Physics FAQ article What is the mass of a photon?).

Sometimes people like to say that the photon does have mass because a photon has energy E = hf where h is Planck’s constant and f is the frequency of the photon. Energy, they say, is equivalent to mass according to Einstein’s famous formula E = mc^2. They also say that a photon has momentum, and momentum p is related to mass m by p = mv. What they are talking about is “relativistic mass”, an old concept that can cause confusion (see the FAQ article Does mass change with speed?). Relativistic mass is a measure of the energy E of a particle, which changes with velocity. By convention, relativistic mass is not usually called the mass of a particle in contemporary physics so, at least semantically, it is wrong to say the photon has mass in this way. But you can say that the photon has relativistic mass if you really want to. In modern terminology the mass of an object is its invariant mass, which is zero for a photon.

If we now return to the question “Does light have mass?”, this can be taken to mean different things if the light is moving freely or trapped in a container. The definition of the invariant mass of an object is m = sqrt{E^2/c^4 – p^2/c^2}. By this definition a beam of light is massless like the photons it is composed of. However, if light is trapped in a box with perfect mirrors so the photons are continually reflected back and forth in both directions symmetrically in the box, then the total momentum is zero in the box’s frame of reference but the energy is not. Therefore the light adds a small contribution to the mass of the box. This could be measured–in principle at least–either by the greater force required to accelerate the box, or by an increase in its gravitational pull. You might say that the light in the box has mass, but it would be more correct to say that the light contributes to the total mass of the box of light. You should not use this to justify the statement that light has mass in general.

Part of this discussion is only concerned with semantics. It might be thought that it would be better to regard the mass of the photons to be their (nonzero) relativistic mass, as opposed to their (zero) invariant mass. We could then consistently talk about the light having mass independently of whether or not it is contained. If relativistic mass is used for all objects, then mass is conserved and the mass of an object is the sum of the masses of its parts. However, modern usage defines mass as the invariant mass of an object mainly because the invariant mass is more useful when doing any kind of calculation. In this case mass is not conserved and the mass of an object is not the sum of the masses of its parts. Thus, the mass of a box of light is more than the mass of the box and the sum of the masses of the photons (the latter being zero). Relativistic mass is equivalent to energy, which is why relativistic mass is not a commonly used term nowadays. In the modern view “mass” is not equivalent to energy; mass is just that part of the energy of a body which is not kinetic energy. Mass is independent of velocity whereas energy is not.

Let’s try to phrase this another way. What is the meaning of the equation E=mc2? You can interpret it to mean that energy is the same thing as mass except for a conversion factor equal to the square of the speed of light. Then wherever there is mass there is energy and wherever there is energy there is mass. In that case photons have mass, but we call it relativistic mass. Another way to use Einstein’s equation would be to keep mass and energy as separate and use it as an equation which applies when mass is converted to energy or energy is converted to mass–usually in nuclear reactions. The mass is then independent of velocity and is closer to the old Newtonian concept. In that case, only the total of energy and mass would be conserved, but it seems better to try to keep the conservation of energy. The interpretation most widely used is a compromise in which mass is invariant and always has energy so that total energy is conserved but kinetic energy and radiation does not have mass. The distinction is purely a matter of semantic convention.

Sometimes people ask “If light has no mass how can it be deflected by the gravity of a star?”. One answer is that all particles, including photons, move along geodesics in general relativity and the path they follow is independent of their mass. The deflection of starlight by the sun was first measured by Arthur Eddington in 1919. The result was consistent with the predictions of general relativity and inconsistent with the newtonian theory. Another answer is that the light has energy and momentum which couples to gravity. The energy-momentum 4-vector of a particle, rather than its mass, is the gravitational analogue of electric charge. (The corresponding analogue of electric current is the energy-momentum stress tensor which appears in the gravitational field equations of general relativity.) A massless particle can have energy E and momentum p because mass is related to these by the equation m^2 = E^2/c^4 – p^2/c^2, which is zero for a photon because E = pc for massless radiation. The energy and momentum of light also generates curvature of spacetime, so general relativity predicts that light will attract objects gravitationally. This effect is far too weak to have yet been measured. The gravitational effect of photons does not have any cosmological effects either (except perhaps in the first instant after the Big Bang). And there seem to be far too few with too little energy to make any noticeable contribution to dark matter.

==========

ABOUT THE ZERO MASS OF PHOTON

By A. Puccini

Full Article PDF (157 KB)

Abstract:

The photon, that is the messenger of the electromagnetic force, is considered with a zero restmass. Yet, just as there is no energy with a zero value, so we talk about a “Zero Point Energy”, for the equivalence between mass and energy (datum point of the Theory of Relativity and foundation of modern Physics), there should exist also a “Zero Point Mass”. That is, no particle, with energy, though extremely small, as the energy of the quantum of light, the Planck’s grain, can have a zero mass. In other words, just for the equivalence Mass-Energy (E = mc2), to any particle with energy should correspond a mass equal to the energy carried, divided the square of the speed of light. Of course when we consider particles like the photon this value will be extremely small, however it should be ≠ 0. Thus, a lot of the behaviours of the photon, in which it shows a clear sort of mechanic action (see photoelectric effect, Compton effect, or the Raman effect), so far ascribed to a mere energetic effect, may probably be considered as real “mass effects”.

Citation:

A. Puccini, “About the zero mass of photon,” Progress In Electromagnetics Research, PIER 55, 117-146, 2005.

==========

Title:

Possible Nonvanishing Mass of Photon

Authors:

Nakazato, H.; Namiki, M.; Yamanaka, Y.; Yokoyama, K.

Publication:

Progress of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 75, No. 3, pp. 686-691

Publication Date:

03/1986

Origin:

PTP

Abstract Copyright:

(c) 1986 Progress of Theoretical Physics

Bibliographic Code:

1986PThPh..75..686N

Abstract

From phenomenological and field-theoretical considerations on photon mass, we first show that photon is not limited to being massless at the present stage. Next we illustrate a possibility of formulating a local field theory for massive photons coupled with nonconserved currents, while we cannot formulate it for massless photons.

==========

Effective photon mass in nuclear matter and finite nuclei

Authors: Sun, Bao-Xi; Lu, Xiao-Fu; Shen, Peng-Nian; Zhao, En-Guang

Electromagnetic field in nuclear matter and nuclei are studied. In the nuclear matter, because the expectation value of the electric charge density operator is not zero, different in vacuum, the U(1) local gauge symmetry of electric charge is spontaneously broken, and consequently, the photon gains an effective mass through the Higgs mechanism. An alternative way to study the effective mass of photon is to calculate the self-energy of photon perturbatively. It shows that the effective mass of photon is about 5.42MeV in the symmetric nuclear matter at the saturation density ρ0 = 0.16fm-3 and about 2.0MeV at the surface of }238U. It seems that the two-body decay of a massive photon causes the sharp lines of electron-positron pairs in the low energy heavy ion collision experiments of }238U+}232Th .

Comment: 10 pages, 2 figures, 1 table, REVTEX4, submitted to Int. J. Mod. Phys. E

Full-text available from: Cached PDF

Linked PDF (experimental)

Mod.Phys.Lett. A18 (2003) 1485-1492

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Torbjörn LarssonAnd reportedly AQFT stops there. 😉

The dimensionality of different things is fascinating. Especially when small or large extra dimensions can fix things to work in our observations.

I once thought that perhaps the deep reason that we see 3+1 D was that 3D permits so many different manifolds. Sort of a dimensional entropic or environmental principle.

Then Tegmark goes around and shows that it is probably forced, even from such a weak standpoint that we want observers. Damn you, Tegmark! 🙂

This gets more complicated for other particles or pseudoparticles. For example, conduction electrons in semiconductors can for convenience be interpreted to have a large mass, depending on their doping level et cetera. Even their absence, holes, can be modeled such.

Of course, Schollenberger can point to the modern view, or to his ‘facts at a higher level’ (which of course have nothing to do with what we mean with facts). I’m just saying that it’s not as cut-and-dry as he claims.

Mark C. Chu-CarrollGeorge:

You keep saying that. And yet, you haven’t

evershown anything about current math that’s wrong, or done anything that remotely begins to approach suggesting what’s actuallymissingfrom math. All you do is babble about how mathematicians are allegedly atheists, or cultists… But you never say just what aboutmath itselfwould change if we were to accept your supposed proof.George, they’re not minor flaws, and you can’t just hand-wave them off by saying that you had trouble hearing. The problems with the supposed muslim argument that you presented were deep, fundamental errors. The entire argument is a pile of rubbish, because they’re so deeply wrong. They’re not correctable. You

cannotcorrect an argument that uses a false statement as a premise.See, there’s the error. A massless photon

can’tget mass: it’s massless. What it *means* to be massless is that it has no mass. It never acquires mass. Ever. Under any conditions. It’s *massless*. Period. No one needs to explain how it acquires mass, because it can’t.And that’s what I keep referring to as your babbling. You’re making meaningless claims, without any supporting argument, any supporting evidence. And you’re attributing it to an entire group of people that you know absolutely nothing about.

Once again with the non-sequiturs. You claim to have a “scientific proof” of the existence of god. Proofs are – by definition – chains of logical reasoning. Logic is math. If you want to *prove* the existence of God, it comes down to mathematics.

But as I said – it’s a non-sequitur. You came here to point out your new blog entries about the supposed muslim proof of god. And

youpulled out the equation e=mc2, and demonstrated that you have absolutely no clue of what it means. That’s innumeracy, aka mathematical illiteracy. It’s drawing invalid conclusions about the meaning of a very simple mathematical equation.You’re the one who keeps drawing math into your arguments; and then, when you get it incredibly, pathetically wrong, you shift gears, and say that math has nothing to do with God.

You can’t have it both ways.

Jonathan Vos PostTorbjörn Larsson: “… conduction electrons in semiconductors can for convenience be interpreted to have a large mass, depending on their doping level et cetera. Even their absence, holes, can be modeled such….”

In my [exceptionally advanced] High School, I did an original Physics lab experiment for extra credit where I subjected a sample of Indium Antimonide (a p-type semiconductor, given to me by the head of the Thomas J. Watson Laboratory of IBM) to an electrical current along the x-axis, a strong (variable) magnetic field along the y-axis, and meaured the voltage along the z-axis. Hall effect calculations (classically, the charge carriers being bent in their trajectories by the magnetic field) clearly showed the mass of the charge carriers as negative. I don’t recall the value, but it was not -1 times the mass of an electron, but the mass of the “holes” in that substance. Very cool!

Someone who claims to know Electrical Engineering might or might not know about Electronics at that level. Not the details of the Quantum Mechanics (Fermi surfaces and the like) but at least about the masses of charge carriers, and photons.

“proof”: God is that being which is both proved by Math and disproved by Math.

Torbjörn LarssonActually, the effective mass of a carrier in a band (conduction for electrons and valence for holes) is defined by the band energy to wavevector curvature, and interpreted as the response to accelerations. Since the valence band curvature is inverted in the simplest approximation, the electron effective mass comes out negative in the model, which makes the hole mass positive.

My problem was that this is a definition based on the kinetics. But when I look again at the modern mass view it seems to me now that it is actually compatible with it. The mass is seen as a result of kinetics for particles associated with the group velocity of a wave packet, but it isn’t the resulting kinetic energy nor velocity dependent (at least in the first approximation).

StephenAssume that an average American picks up George’s book. Will (s)he be able to determine what truth (if any) is contained in it? Probably not. So, the damage that the book can do has to do with how many average people will pick up the book. The promise of the Proof of God might make it happen. But if we had only peer review books at the grocery store checkout line, that would be censure.

Feh.

I’d vote for a peer reviewed book isle, though. And, with level ratings, starting at zero. That’s for the Kindergardener (at whatever age) that can read.

Hey! A business plan!

AnonymousI’d prefer a sanity rating system, kind of like the crackpot index: this book is rated “O” for Ordinary words used with highly idiosyncratic and ever-shifting meanings, Obvious inanity and insanity, and zero useful content.