QR4.7.3 The Mass Problem

A proton’s charge is one, the simple sum of its constituent quark charges, but its mass is a hundred times that of three quark masses. When quarks combine, their charges just add but for some reason their masses don’t:

“… though the actual value of the basic electric charge … remains a theoretical mystery … all other charges found in the universe are … multiples of this value. Nothing like this appears to be the case for rest-mass, and the underlying reason for the particular values of the rest-masses of … particle types is completely unknown.(Penrose, 2010) p153.

Current physics attributes the extra mass to the virtual particles binding quarks but how do massless gluons make extra mass? And why don’t they multiply charge as well? The standard model has no answer because it just describes what is.

In quantum realism, charge as left-over processing is limited to one quantum process per channel so charges simply add and can never be more than plus one or less than minus one. Why then isn’t the net processing done, or mass, limited in the same way? The answer now suggested is that the dynamic action of processing interferes.

Interference occurs in networks when two processes seek the same resource at the same time. They interfere, just as two cars coming to an intersection at the same time can’t both enter the same space. Studies show that traffic flow slows down when traffic merges, as at motorway on-ramps, because the cars have to negotiate who goes first. And such slow-downs can have run-on effects to cause traffic jams that extend for miles so the effect of interference is not linear.

The same thing happens on a computer network, as when processing “collides” it must stop and try again just as cars do at an uncontrolled intersection. This wastes time, so interference slows down computer networks just as it slows down traffic networks and again the effect is not linear but can cumulate. Computer networks initially tried central controls like the traffic lights we have on road networks but this was found to be inefficient. A better solution was distributed protocols like Ethernet that let any process access a network resource when it wants to but if a collision is detected both stop and retry after a random time interval (to avoid a repeat collision). A computer network under load slows down for the same reason that a traffic network slows down at rush hour, because many entities are seeking access to the same resources.

In quantum realism, the quantum network is essentially a first-come-first-served system with no central control. So interference will occur when photons compete for the same channels and some have to try again elsewhere. This wastes processing and in this model, processing is mass.

The mass increase expected can be estimated by the number of channel overlaps, where photons seek access to the same channels. For example, an electron has two photon streams intersecting but a quark has three photon streams intersecting. Since this gives more overlapping channels, interference causes a quark to have more than 50% of an electron’s mass. Each quantum cycle, every entangled photon has to find a channel and every case of interference uses up processing, so quarks end up with about ten times the mass of an electron. Quarks in a proton have even more overlap and thus more interference and so more mass. Mass as processing explains the “creation of mass” without recourse to magical gluons.

Interference also suggests why down quarks are heavier than up quarks. If an up quark is two photon tail sets colliding with one set of photon heads (Table 4.3), the tails access channels first leaving one set of heads to fill the remaining channels. In a down quark, one tail set gets first access, leaving two sets of photon heads to fight over the rest, giving more interference and more mass. The masses the standard model allocates could be derived from simulations that model the quantum processing that creates them.