mass

For decades, scientists have tried to find a way to measure the mass of the lightest matter particle known to exist. Three new approaches now have a chance to succeed.

From New Scientist, Dec. 16, 2022: This year was another busy year in science and technology and New Scientist news editors’ have chosen some of the biggest scientific developments, discoveries and events in 2022. Included in this year’s selections is the April 2022 announcement of the mass of the W boson that used Fermilab’s Tevatron.

What is energy?

Energy is one of those confusing physics terms that has both familiar and technical meanings. In this video, Don Lincoln sheds some light on what physicists mean when they say the word, as well as some truths about energy that would shock his high school physics teacher.

From Pour la Science, April 11, 2022: A new measurement of the mass of the W boson is higher than predicted by the Standard Model. Is this a sign of new physics? For experts in the field, this conclusion would be premature. But this result is nevertheless very interesting as one of the most difficult measurements in physics.

From Forbes, Sept. 8, 2021: The Standard Model provides the framework of all the known and discovered fundamental particles, but has no way of providing expected values for what masses each particle should possess. Fermilab’s Main Ring, in operation for 25 years by physicists who used the accelerator for experiments, helped to create our current picture of the ultimate structure of matter, the Standard Model of particle interactions.

Imagine a particle. What comes to mind? If you aren’t a theoretical particle physicist, chances are you picture a tiny ball, bobbing in space. But that’s not quite correct. One way to prove it: Try to imagine that tiny ball as a particle with no mass. If a particle has no mass, how can it exist?

In this 8-minute video, Don Lincoln explains how, conceptually speaking at least, there are two kinds of mass — gravitational and inertial — and how the relationship between the two has huge consequences on our understanding of the universe.