If, according to relativity matter is energy condensed, Wouldnt breaking open the endless "russian dolls" of matter to find the most fundamental particle which gives mass to matter be fallacious? Fallacious in the sense that searching for a particle composed of energy, energy being something immaterial forming the composition of matter, is searching for something that in itself has no physical existence therefore breaking down particles into sub-particulate matter would go on ad-infinitum because there would be no such "particle" to be found. Would it stand to reason that Energy gives mass to matter?

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    I think that this question would be just as well suited for Physics.SE if not better. Why would breaking down particles into sub-particulate matter be a fallacious process? Such is experimentation - exploration of the unknown.
    – Avestron
    May 7, 2014 at 12:41
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    Fallacious in the sense that searching for a particle composed of energy, energy being something immaterial forming the composition of matter, is searching for something that in itself has no physical existence therefore breaking down particles into sub-particulate matter would go on ad-infinitum because there would be no such "particle" to be found. May 7, 2014 at 12:55
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    This is best suited for Physics.SE.
    – user132181
    May 7, 2014 at 16:22
  • Given there is already four answers specifically pertaining to the Higgs particle you might consider reverting your edit and re-asking your question?
    – Lucas
    May 7, 2014 at 18:34
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    Physics mod here - although any sensible answer to this question would have to come from someone with physics expertise, which suggests that it would be appropriate for us, it doesn't actually make much (or any?) sense as a physics question. In its current form, it would probably be closed as unclear on our site.
    – David Z
    May 7, 2014 at 20:02

4 Answers 4


If, according to relativity matter is energy condensed,

Ex falso quodlibet.

Relativity does not say that matter is condensed energy. Rather it says that mass (a property of matter) is equivalent to energy (also a property of matter). Given that matter has other properties which are not equivalent to either mass or energy (like electric charge or spin), it is quite obvious that that you cannot equate matter with mass.

Since relativity doesn't say what you think it says, your conditional has a false premise, and therefore you cannot conclude anything from it.

Note that also your assumption that the Higgs particle is the most fundamental particle is, according to current theories, wrong. It is neither more nor less fundamental than e.g. the electron or the Neutrino. For example the electron cannot be made up of Higgs particles because anything made of Higgs has neither charge nor spin.

Maybe you're confused because of the nickname "god particle" for the Higgs particle. In that case, you may be interested to hear that this name was the invention of a publisher who didn't like the originally proposed title of the book which coined the name: "The goddamn particle".

But relativity is in no way threatened by the Higgs mechanism: Mass is still equivalent to energy; it's just that with the Higgs mechanism that energy is an interaction energy with the Higgs field, rather than a separate type of energy.

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    @krue.ron.taiepa You may not have explicitly stated that, but you strongly implied it by using the phrase "god particle" in the same context as "find the most fundamental particle", where "god particle" is generally understood to mean the Higgs Boson. If you want your question to be clearer, then you'd be better served by stating up front that you're providing your own definition for "god particle", which deviates from the normal meaning of the phrase (or better, use "fundamental particle" and omit "god particle" altogether).
    – JBentley
    May 7, 2014 at 16:49
  • @krue.ron.taiepa It's not just the phrase "God particle" itself that will lead people to think about the Higgs boson, the most well know hadron collider's have been searching for the Higgs boson, so the context the term appears in in your question's title also implicates the Higgs boson.
    – Lucas
    May 7, 2014 at 17:54
  • @krue.ron.taiepa: About relativity: In general relativity the big bang is a singularity, that is a point in which the theory fails. That is, general relativity says exactly nothing about the big bang itself, it especially doesn't say that at the big bang there was pure energy; indeed, it would not even have the means to describe "pure energy", whatever that is supposed to be. About Higgs: Besides what JBentley and Lucas already sayd, you also described it as a "particle which gives mass to matter" which is essentially what the Higgs mechanism does.
    – celtschk
    May 7, 2014 at 17:57
  • "gives mass to matter" is not quite right. The Higgs boson (a particle) is a necessary consequence of the Higgs mechanism (a physical process that all massive fundamental particles participate in).
    – Dave
    May 7, 2014 at 19:24
  • @Dave: If you read carefully, you'll notice that "particle that gives mass to matter" is a quote from the question, while I've written "Higgs mechanism" in the non-quoted text. And yes, "gives mass to matter" isn't entirely accurate either, but I've written "essentially" for a reason (and the point of the comment wasn't an explanation of the Higgs mechanism, after all).
    – celtschk
    May 7, 2014 at 19:46

This really would have been better under Physics.

First, let me clear up a few things for you.

Relativity has nothing to do with the energy and matter (specifically mass) being the same thing, beyond both coming from Einstein. Special and general relativity are theories dealing with the question 'what happens when you move at speeds nearing the speed of light'. The famous equation E=mc2 has nothing to do with that, and in fact specifically only applies when the object is at rest! To be completely accurate the formula would need to include a term for momentum.

Energy is not, by itself, a distinct thing. There are numerous flavors of energy in the universe, including but not limited to sound, light, heat, kinetic, and potential energies. One can convert between energies fairly easily.

The Higgs Boson (the 'God particle') is something being sought not because it is a small part of matter or energy but because it, if it exists, is the particle that carries the force of gravity. Physicists are looking for it, in the hopes of learning why some subatomic particles have more mass more than other, very similar particles.

And using current tools, we have found some of the 'smallest' building blocks beyond which matter cannot be subdivided. Electrons are one of them, as are up and down quarks. One of the goals of colliders like the Hadron collider is to find out whether we are missing some yet or not.

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    First four paragraphs going well. But "if it exists, is the particle that carries the force of gravity" is not correct. The theoretical particle for gravity would be the graviton. The Higgs particle and its relationship to mass suffers from being a bit fiddly to explain, and gets mixed up a lot with another holy grail of physics: Unification of fundamental forces. May 7, 2014 at 16:17
  • -1 several errors in describing physics.
    – Dave
    May 7, 2014 at 19:14
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    And relativity does not only deal with high speeds. An atomic bomb (matter converted into energy) or the liquid state of mercury (Hg) are relativistic effects.
    – Davidmh
    May 8, 2014 at 14:46
  • @Davidmh: in what way is the liquid state of Mercury relativistic? Jul 14, 2014 at 17:32
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    @MoziburUllah the liquid state is due to the nature of interactions of the outhermost electrons, that move so fast that you need to introduce relativistic corrections to explain that behaviour.
    – Davidmh
    Jul 15, 2014 at 8:33

There are two kinds of mass, inertial & gravitational. Inertial mass tells you has resistent a particle is to motion, gravitional mass tells you hard strong gravity pulls. It was a puzzle as to why these two kinds of mass were exactly the same. It was Einstein who used this equivalence to physically conjecture General Relativity.

Mass as condensed energy just means that energy can too be the source for the gravitational field.

The weak force is a gauge field, and as particles, the force is carried by bosons, which like all bosons are massless. But this would mean that the range of weak force is infinite; experimentally this isn't true. One then suppose that the boson must carry mass. The question is where this mass comes from.

Its comes from interactions with the Higgs field; and the Higgs boson is the interaction of these two fields - the Weak & the Higgs. As wikipedia puts it:

It would explain why some fundamental particles have mass when the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force.

Your question is:

Wouldnt breaking open the endless "russian dolls" of matter to find the most fundamental particle which gives mass to matter be fallacious

Its not mass for ordinary particles that has been conjectured and found; but those of the weak force. Ubiquitous - yes; but not the sole source of mass.

Would it stand to reason that Energy gives mass to matter

On, the whole; and despite the Higgs boson; this is still true (or its converse).

  • I don't understand why this has been voted down so aggressively. Limited though my understanding is, I've read numerous things that concur with your statement that the Higgs boson has nothing directly to do with most kinds of mass. I would encourage people to comment on this -- not least to inform me of whatever error this contains, since that error must also be my own!
    – senderle
    May 8, 2014 at 0:46
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    @Senderle: bad journalism I think; I've read in a few places where the Higgs field has been described as the field that gives mass. Its only when I checked that I realised its only for the weak force boson. I've added a ref to wikipedia so people can check for themselves. May 8, 2014 at 13:58
  • A useful quote from the wikipedia article on hadrons: "Note that the mass of a hadron has very little to do with the mass of its valence quarks; rather, due to mass–energy equivalence, most of the mass comes from the large amount of energy associated with the strong interaction." Apparently leptons and quarks do interact with the Higgs field, but I don't know anything about that how. In any case, the above makes it clear that the Higgs field has nothing to do with some (very important!) kinds of mass.
    – senderle
    May 8, 2014 at 14:28
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    -1 mainly since this answer seems to just throw out a bunch of facts without really answering the question.
    – Dave
    May 12, 2014 at 16:50
  • @Dave: the question is pretty unclear, I've done my best to make some sense of it; perhaps you can help explaining what the question is actually asking? I've aimed to answer the OPs final sentence:'would it stand to reason that Energy gives matter to mass', and I did this by starting with what mass and energy means in relativistic physics; perhaps you can explain how I'm just putting out a bunch of random facts & not answering the question? Jul 14, 2014 at 17:29

The resonance project has a possible answer to this http://resonance.is

Nassim Haramein focusses on the space instead of the non-space that mass and energy are. According to him there is a structure to space that follows certain geometries which are fractal i.e. all things are bound by these geometries so certain patterns always repeat.

For example phi or fibonacci or vortexes.

From this viewpoint looking for a god particle is nonsense since it's more of a geometric relationship vs an actual particle that creates matter and energy.

So it's a principle vs a thing. If that are opposites.

The nice thing about the principle is there is no problem with infinity. It can go all the way down and up. No need to search for bigger or smaller things unless you actually need them vs just looking for them to find an end which might not actually exist.

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