The Substance Of Photons

If photons have substance then we can calculate their associated mass by using Planck’s formula in combination with that of Einstein. For photons in the visible region, a frequency of about 1014 cycles per second, this turns out to be about 10-33 grams. We did not know in 1905 that an electron has a mass of about 10-27 grams. we know now that this would make the associated mass of such a photon about one millionth that of an electron.

Gamma rays, with frequencies over 1020 cycles per second arise from within the nucleus and represent a small fraction of the mass of a baryon. The same difficulties apply here. Nuclear reactions may transform, but do not destroy baryons.

The particles which have been ‘observed’ and which have a ‘mass’ somewhere between that of an electron and a proton all have ‘lifetimes’ measured in microseconds or much less. They are called particles because they leave a trail, footprints, which call attention to something. They are also necessary to make current theories work – just as the aether was necessary for the theory of light propagation in the nineteenth century.