# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Do fast-moving particles increase in size as well as mass?  (Read 1619 times)

#### Woodpile

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##### Do fast-moving particles increase in size as well as mass?
« on: 20/03/2009 12:30:02 »
Ed Zaun asked the Naked Scientists:

First things first: I discovered your newbielink:http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/ [nonactive] a few months ago and manage to listen to 2 shows a day.   newbielink:http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/ [nonactive]!  I very much appreciate your ability to present cutting edge science in a fashion a layman can understand.

Now for my question:  I recently listened to your show on the Large Hadron Collider.  Since E=MC2, when the collider increases the energy of the particles to near light speed, how much is the mass of the protons increased?  I mean, are they whizzing golf ball sized objects through the torus or are the protons still incredibly small?  I recall hearing once that the FTL travel is impossible because as an object nears the speed of light, it's mass approaches infinity and therefore the energy required to accelerate it also approaches infinity.  Is this still accepted or has it been superceded?

Thank you for considering this question and I look forward to catching up on the rest of the programs on my iPod.

Ed Zaun
Barnegat, New Jersey
USA

What do you think?

#### Vern

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 2072
##### Do fast-moving particles increase in size as well as mass?
« Reply #1 on: 20/03/2009 12:47:39 »
Fast moving particles change their shape by contracting in the direction of movement. So if they were spherical when not moving they flatten in the direction of movement to appear as disk shaped. A set of equations called the Lorentz Transformations may be applied to massive objects in motion to calculate the amount of distortion they must undergo.

So the short answer is no; they get smaller, not larger; massive objects in motion behave just exactly as they would necessarily behave if they were composed entirely of something that must undergo constant motion at the speed of light. Scientists knew this at the turn of the 20th century and concluded that: The final irreducible constituent of all physical reality is the electromagnetic field. We have since forgot about that. It saddens me that we forgot.

This Wiki article explains it more.

In physics, the Lorentz transformation converts between two different observers' measurements of space and time, where one observer is in constant motion with respect to the other. In classical physics (Galilean relativity), the only conversion believed necessary was x' = x − vt, describing how the origin of one observer's coordinate system slides through space with respect to the other's, at speed v and along the x-axis of each frame. According to special relativity, this is only a good approximation at much smaller speeds than the speed of light, and in general the result is not just an offsetting of the x coordinates; lengths and times are distorted as well.

« Last Edit: 20/03/2009 15:07:51 by Vern »

#### lightarrow

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##### Do fast-moving particles increase in size as well as mass?
« Reply #2 on: 20/03/2009 18:51:27 »
for my question:  I recently listened to your show on the Large Hadron Collider.  Since E=MC2, when the collider increases the energy of the particles to near light speed, how much is the mass of the protons increased?
Zero. Mass doesn't vary.

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##### Do fast-moving particles increase in size as well as mass?
« Reply #2 on: 20/03/2009 18:51:27 »