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When and why a Mass can Increase when gaining absolute Velocity or can Decrease when gaining absolute Velocity
by Carl R. Littmann 3-1-2016

Many scientists and students understand correctly that particle accelerators can increase the velocities of particles to nearly the speed of light.   And that such a gain in velocity also increases the particle’s mass to many times its original mass – as compared to when it was at rest, i.e., its lesser ‘rest mass’.  And powerful accelerators can even accelerate two particles, two protons, or other nuclei toward each other and crash them together, thus creating another mass or masses of much greater mass than the original rest masses of the two particles before they were accelerated. 

But less known or appreciated is this:  There is a different outcome when particles speed up, say, when they are mutually attracted to each other ‘naturally’, and come closer and closer together, traveling faster and faster, and may even begin orbiting one-other.  In that case the masses do not increase with increased velocity.  They may even suffer a decrease in mass.  (I, myself,  did not realize that until recently, and doubted it earlier even in my writings.)  But empirical data now points to that reality, even though evidence may change with more experiments and more analysis.

So this article mainly tries to help explain ‘why’ and ‘under what conditions’ –  the following dichotomy occurs:  Sometimes particle masses increase in mass with increase in their absolute velocity, but sometimes they don’t!  In fact they sometimes even decrease in mass with increase in their absolute velocity!
Major Implications and Examples
The first case discussed below involves the simplest atom, hydrogen.  It consists of only one (positively charged) proton and one much lighter mass electron (negatively charged), and the electron orbits the proton at high velocity.  And when that happens, there is a very slight decrease in the masses of the proton and electron compared to when they were very far apart, not orbiting, and were nearly at rest.  I.e., with their then slightly greater ‘rest masses’.

The implications of the above are immense!  Suppose an electron, attracted to a proton (and moving faster and faster toward the proton which it will orbit) – does not increase its mass with its increased velocity?  How about the gravitational analogy?  If, say, a low mass space station is attracted toward the Sun, and moves faster and faster toward the Sun, say, before orbiting it – does the space station’s mass also not increase as it drifts toward the Sun – at increasing velocity?  Using the analogy of our ‘electron’s attraction to the proton’, i.e., our hydrogen atom, I think the space station would then not increase in mass! 

I hope future advances in science will give us clear answers to the above simple questions, (clear answers to simple questions for a change!)  This may help us more clearly to understand the ‘cause & effect’ fundamentals regarding why our universe acts as it does.  But currently the implications of the empirical evidence are so great and broad that we can only cover here a few of the many great, new issues and questions that arise.

Now we consider, in more detail, the likely empirical realities of the hydrogen atom.  The data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, (NIST), indicate this:  In the case of the simple hydrogen atom -- when its electron is orbiting the proton at very high velocity – that hydrogen atom has a little less mass than when its electron was very far from its proton. ((When the proton and electron were far apart, both were nearly at rest.  And in that state they are called ‘free particles’ instead of ‘bound’ (orbiting) particles.))  That was before the proton and especially the lighter electron sped toward one-another and the electron commenced to orbit the proton. 

(It also gave off a photon, a ‘ray of light’ when the electron began orbiting.)   So the ‘NIST’ data seems to indicate a slight loss of mass by the proton and the electron when they ceased to be far apart (rest masses) and came closer together -- and became a bound fast orbiting system.  The mass decrease seems approximately equal to the ‘mass equivalent’ of the photon emitted.  More on that and ‘NIST’ later, but first also consider the below:

In retrospect, other considerations also argue for a likely decrease in mass for that simplest atom with only one orbiting electron.  (That is often called the ‘Bohr atom’ or ‘Bohr model of the hydrogen atom’.)  It takes applied energy to push the electron far away from the proton so that the attraction becomes negligible and the orbiting ceases.  That energy or work required, to pull the electron and proton that far apart, is termed the hydrogen atom’s ‘ionization energy’.  And apparently the proton and electron acquire a very slight increase in their masses when greatly separated.  That mass increase is approximated equal to the mass equivalent of the ‘ionization energy’ applied, in that case. 

((That very small mass increase is given by m = E/c2 where E is the ionization energy, and the m is the total small mass increase of the electron plus distant proton.  (A reminder:  that mass increase, m, is also equal to the equivalent mass of a photon absorbed by the atom which is barely enough to cause such ionization – assuming the photon has that much energy in that case.)  That was, in a sense, predicted by Einstein in his ‘E=mc2 paper’, a paper that came a little after his main 1905 ‘Special Relativity’ paper.))

Of course, as long known – there can also occur a few very light nuclei crashing together at high velocities, say, to form common helium.  And in that case, there is a significant mass loss when that helium is formed, as compared to the rest mass of the very light nuclei before they were accelerated and crashed together.  And great energy is emitted with that amount of mass loss, ‘m’, an E=mc2 worth of energy.  That is somewhat like what occurs deep inside our sun or for the case an exploding hydrogen bomb. 

But consider this about the simple case of the electron orbiting around the a proton, the simple hydrogen atom case:  Then the proton and orbiting electron did not (and do not) crash together.  And yet, when they simply commenced orbiting each other (instead of being very far apart and at rest), they still suffered a slight mass loss!  (And a photon ray of light is emitted with mass equivalent equal to that mass loss.)  But still, in a sense, that slight mass-loss phenomenon by the hydrogen atom seems like a miniature version of nuclear fusion!  Perhaps we can regard that as precursor to the much greater mass loss that occurs in nuclear fusion, an extreme case where particles come so close together that they partly mesh together, forming a larger nucleus. 

((Suppose (regarding the question of change in massiveness) – that the outcome of a gravitational attraction is rather similar to the outcome of the hydrogen atom’s electrostatic attraction?  Then the use of our analogy, when comparing them, was appropriate, and also resulted in this remarkable shortcut:  In effect, we have made good special use of the long-known fact that the electrostatic force of the hydrogen atom is about 1036 times stronger than the gravitational force between proton and orbiting electron.  Then, we have correctly predicted a special gravitational outcome without having to resort to many difficult, cumbersome experiments involving very large masses.  Then, even more than otherwise, the hydrogen atom would have shown itself to be ‘a microcosm of the world’!))
Why a Mass can Increase Or Decrease with Increased Velocity?
(I realize that the below explanation is not entirely perfect nor complete in all its details, but I still think it is likely helpful and a step forward.)

You, as a live human being, can feel the difference between the following:   Say, being ‘unnaturally’ pushed forward by a crowd suddenly pushing against your back.  That is in contrasted to, say, an astronaut-in-training – experiencing a natural ‘gravitational free-fall’, where you fall faster and faster toward the earth, but you don’t feel an acceleration -- just weightlessness and drift.  Yet in both cases, you have been accelerated from ‘rest’ to a velocity forward, at least for a short time.

I think, fundamentally, the differences, regarding the nature of the pushes above, are these:

In the case of the crowd’s rude push against you – it is like trillions of photons suddenly hitting the back of a proton or electron and knocking it fast forward in an environment that is otherwise rather uniform regarding what is in front and at the sides of the proton or electron.  Then the hit particle is sent forward, say at high velocity, and incurs a mass increase.  I think that sort of push happens, not only in the case of unnaturally being hit in the back by a trillion photons, but also for a particle accelerator where the particle eventually emerges from the accelerator into a normal environment. 

((Optional technical remark for the above case:  Perhaps the now fast forward traveling proton or electron has its spinning velocity decreased in the normal environment so that the combination of its spinning velocity plus its forward velocity does not exceed the velocity of light.  Then, that proton or electron must incur a slight mass increase to maintain the same ‘Planck-related’ quantum unit of angular momentum it had when it was ‘at rest’ -- not traveling.  (I.e., barring some other complicated consideration, at least).))

But now -- contrast that case with the ‘natural’ cases of an electron (electrostatically) attracted to a proton, or each gravitationally attracted to the Sun.  In my opinion, this involves a very special natural ‘gradient field’.  (Or I would say ‘ethereal’ pressure gradient and even a slight density gradient surrounding the accelerating particle due to permutation of the ethereal flow.  That is due to the particle’s mass presence in the ethereal flow.  I feel more comfortable with the concept of ‘the bending of ethereal flow’, instead of what is more popularly presented as Einstein’s bending or permutation of the lines or net of ‘space-time’.  So actually my concept of gravity is somewhat like Newton’s concept of an ethereal cause of gravitation, which Newton outlined in his last edition of ‘Opticks’.  (I.e., under his “Queries, ‘Qu. 20-21’.”) 

(When I mention the ‘bending of ethereal flow’, that should bring to mind the narrowing of fluid flow in narrowing tubes, the Bernoulli’s equation and the ‘Venturi effect’.  All of those cause a region of decreased pressure, even suction, i.e., attraction-like behavior arising, maybe electrostatic and/or gravitational attractions!)

Anyway, I think the result is that you and the particles experience quite a different detailed mechanism or action, for accelerating you forward, (a ‘natural’ effect) in the two paragraphs just presented above -- compared to the two paragraphs before those (a rude push).  And the end result is therefore not too surprising: Namely, this time neither you nor the particles have increased in mass as long as you stay within the attractive field! 

(I believe that that special attractive field might also cause a region of very slightly decreased ethereal density in space.  And that in cases where an electron orbits a particle and both have lost a little mass -- that that slightly lower ethereal density may even allow the particles to spin faster that otherwise.  Perhaps to even spin a pinch faster than the ‘speed of light’ – to maintain the original angular momentum which they had when they were at rest. 

((Or alternatively, perhaps the special field may just promote a change or permutation of size or shape of the particle.  Then, that action could also result in the particle maintaining the same angular momentum it had when it was not traveling (‘at rest’).  I.e., even though when that particle is now moving fast forward, it may be spinning slightly slower.))

Optional, speculative comment:  In the case of an electrostatic or gravitational field, ethereal flows associated with those fields may substantially mix with the very ethereal flows or interactions that are responsible for holding together a proton itself, a nucleus itself, or an electron itself.  In a sense, they are then no longer entirely separate, independent particles; but of course there still remains great advantages and appeal in continuing to call them by their independent names, ‘the proton’, ‘the nucleus’, and ‘the electron’.

The Fundamental Nature of a ‘Photon light-ray’ vs. a Proton Particle
A proton and an electron are both very stable particles that have mass.  A photon (ray of light) also seems to be a particle, in a sense, as shown by Arthur Compton, using x-rays.  (I.e., x-rays seem to have mass, in so far as they exhibit forward traveling momentum.)  I prefer to say that a photon is a ‘pseudo-particle’, and I’ll outline why -- further below.  ((Yes, a photon does have some ‘wave-like behavior’, but actually -- so does a proton and electron.))

It is important to realize that a photon and a group of photons can stay together traveling along the same very narrow-line path, for example, when a laser pulse sends them out toward a very small target on the moon.  They do not rather quickly, ‘flow in all directions along the way’, like sound-through-air or the effect of a diver diving off the side of a swimming pool into the water -- regarding water waves.  That laser’s light (by maintaining an extremely thin line of flight) -- would have likely surprised most 19th Century scientists who thought ‘light was an ethereal wave’.  So a photon and a proton or electron particle actually have more in common than one might realize ‘at first glance’.  And thus, below, I will explain what I think are the most fundamental differences between a photon (including its more powerful versions -- the x-ray and gamma ray) compared to a proton or electron particle.  This is very important!

In effect, one of the things Arthur Compton established with his experiments involving ‘hitting electrons with x-rays’ was this:  In a sense a photon is not a very stable particle (and I would therefore say ‘it is a pseudo-particle’).  In other words, we can imagine, under certain circumstances, that a photon can fly westward at velocity ‘c’, pass a certain point, then ‘glance off’ an electron and be deflected slightly northward but with a little loss of its mass and energy.  Imagine the photon continuing to ‘glance off’ many other specially placed electrons, one after another, and being deflected roughly in a circle as it does.  And losing more and more of its mass and energy as these deflections deflect it, until the photon finally passes that original point traveling westward at velocity ‘c’ again.  But by this time it has lost almost all of its mass and energy!  That lack of durability is a major reason why I call the photon a ‘pseudo-particle’, and I don’t believe protons and electrons behave in any way close to like that!

Now imagine a proton or electron passing a point traveling westward at a very high velocity, say, one-half ‘c’, and bumping off this and that, in all sorts of ways, until it finally passes its original point traveling westward again at its original velocity, one-half ‘c’.  We note this:  Such a proton mass or an electron mass would then have its original mass back again!  So, in that sense, they are very stable particles, unlike the photons!  Some reasons for that are displayed and described in my important website article, Particle Mass Ratios and Similar Geometric Volume Ratios.

Let us further examine the case of nuclear fusion, and imagine this:  Before the fusion occurred, some free (at rest) protons and neutrons existed.   Next, fusion occurs, and they are fused together to form fused nucleons in a nucleus.  When that occurred, there is a slight mass lost, and a lot of energy is emitted.  But comparatively speaking, note that the big nucleus formed has only lost, at most, about 1% of its original mass – that is, compared to the total mass of the all the original proton rest masses plus neutron rest masses existing before the fusion.  I.e., the big fused nucleus still retains roughly 99% of the original rest mass of the particles before they were crashed together and fused.  (That fusion, of course, still resulted in a huge amount of ‘fusion energy’ being given off.) 

((Now, recall the case of the forming of a simple hydrogen atom (with its orbiting electron) -- as compared to when the electron and proton were greatly separated:  Note that only an extremely small amount of mass was lost and just a little energy was given off in that case.   I.e., that is many magnitudes less mass lost compared to what occurs in a ‘nuclear fusion’ described in the previous paragraph.  The forming of the hydrogen atom, with its orbiting electron, is classed as a ‘chemical reaction’ in contrast to a ‘nuclear reaction’.))

Optional but important:  Now, optionally, for the next 4 paragraphs -- we return to discussing the photon.  There is at least one other important difference in the fundamental nature and behavior of the photon compared to a proton or electron, although it is subtle.  And it may be described as follows:  Imagine that a rocket sweeps by the moon, speeding up on approach due to the moon’s gravity, and slowing down some, after that -- after it passes by.  My current thinking is that I doubt if the rocket undergoes an increase or decrease in mass while taking that gravitationally affected path.  But, regarding a photon, passing close to the moon in a somewhat similar way, there is long-standing evidence implying that the photon’s behavior is quite different than the previous rocket case described!

Despite the photon’s constant speed, c; almost all scientists presently believe that the photon’s energy (and equivalent mass) increase as the photon approaches, say, the moon -- due to the moon’s gravitational pull.  But after the photon just misses colliding with the moon and then travels further and further away, the photon’s energy and equivalent mass decrease until roughly equal to the energy and equivalent mass the photon had before it neared the moon.

First, recall that the photon gains some mass, while approaching the moon.  I regard that as mass transferred from the aether to the photon!  But that gained mass is transferred back to the aether by the photon as the photon gets further and further away from the moon after passing it.  Therefore, although the photon’s net amount of mass has not changed, part of its mass has now been acquired from a different source (different location) compared to the original mass it had before it neared the moon.  Therefore, when it finally hits, say, a distant target, after missing the moon, it will not deliver to that target its original mass, (even if the total amount of mass that the photon had before it approached the moon vs. the amount it delivered to its final target -- did not change)! 

That aspect of the photon’s behavior is thus a ‘wave-like’ behavior!  I.e., sort of like the fact that a musical airwave (air molecule vibrations) that leave a beating drum are not the same air molecules of air that reach the ear of the listener – assuming, say, that the airwaves travel through a very long tube from the drum to the ear.  That is true, even if the net noise energy and the waveform are unchanged -- regarding the amount leaving the drum compared to the amount arriving at the ear.  That wave analogy, (the photon’s partly changing the source of its mass in route compared to the molecules off the drum not being the same ones that reach the ear) – is another reason why I consider the photon to be a pseudo particle!  (Especially when considering that aspect -- while also remembering that a photon loses some mass in Compton-like ‘collisions’ with electrons at rest!) 

Unfortunately, the more subtle case of photon behavior (discussed in the last 4  paragraphs above) is almost always ignored in discussing, “whether a photon is a wave or particle!” 

In view of the last five paragraphs, it is clear that there is at least one more dichotomy regarding a photon’s behavior and nature -- compared to a rocket’s behavior and nature (or that of the molecules that make up the rocket).  Here are, roughly, my other thoughts on the subject:  The speed of light through space is considered to be constant by almost all scientists, and denoted ‘c’.  (We can not here discuss all the theoretical reasons why that is so or its merits.)  But the principle of ‘cause and effect’ would seem to require some change in a photon or its action when it comes under the action of a gravitational attraction.  So even if the nature of the photon does not allow it to change its speed – in response to gravitational action arising along its route; the photon still can and does change its cycle frequency, its amount of energy, and thus its mass – due to gravity.  So there does seem to be a ‘cause and effect’ involved there. 

But in the case of our rocket, molecules, and electrons -- even if they empirically do not change their mass under natural gravity’s influence – they are free to change their speed, for reasons offered earlier in this article.  So, without going into more long, speculative detail, we’ll just say that that constitutes a different way that an entity, different from the photon, can naturally respond to encountering a gravitational attraction.  So again, a cause and effect is noted. 

(Optional) NIST Data and what it indicates
I found it is difficult to ‘surf’ the NIST website.  But below is the relevant information I found there 9-7-2015 – and along with that are some other entries marked with an asterisk* which are my calculations and simple conclusions using NIST data:

Free electron mass:    ________________  0.00054857990946(22) u
Free proton mass:  __________________  1.007276466812(90) u
* Total of above free (separate) masses: _  1.007825046721 u
Mass of Hydrogen atom (with electron): _ 1.00782503223(9) u
*Important:  the Hydrogen atom, with its orbiting electron, has less mass than the, at-rest, free electron plus free proton when they were very far apart – i.e., before attraction pulled them much closer together to form the ‘bound’ atom.  Thus (see above) the small mass lost when that hydrogen atom was formed, was as follows:
*Mass lost by the formation of hydrogen: _ 0.0000000145  u

Although future NIST data or other published information may change, I think the above clearly indicates that the hydrogen atom lost mass when it formed, and that the data’s accuracy, as also shown, is sufficiently accurate to support that and, thus, the main theme of my article.

Conclusion and Closing Remarks
This article has presented evidence that presently exists – indicating that a mass can increase with a gain in its absolute velocity under certain circumstance – and decrease in massiveness with a gain in its absolute velocity under different circumstances.   The former is well known, but the latter is not well known.  We gave examples of when each of those different actions occur, and we emphasized the different circumstances that cause that dichotomy in behavior to occur!  We presented my theory, in some detail, as to why those different circumstances cause different behaviors.

The dichotomy described above (mass increase vs. mass decrease) has great and broad implications, and we could only cover some implications and questions it raises in this article.  And, importantly, we must remember that in the future -- further research, improved data and improved ways to extract and interpret that data -- may make it appropriate to change much of this article.  But presently, data and reasoning seem to support the basic points and themes  of this article.

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Carl R. Littmann

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