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The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity

The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity

This video was recorded at MIT World Series: Nobel Laureate Speakers. A stunning roster of awards all identify Frank Wilczek as one of the most profound and influential theoretical physicists alive today. This lecture proves the point, as Wilczek goes after one of the deepest questions in science: What is the origin of mass? Rewriting Einstein's famous equation as m=E / c2 dramatizes that energy is the source of mass; energetic but massless quarks and gluons, Wilczek argues, give rise to mass by finding quasi-stable equilibrium states, better know as protons and neutrons. Having reinterpreted the theory of quantum chromodynamics in a brisk half hour, Wilczek plunges into another brain-straining question: What makes gravity so feeble? Here the more tentative answer derives from the unimaginably tiny dimensions of the Planck scale. Fundamental forces make sense in that realm; gravity is weak only relative to the enormously larger scales we live on. Wilczek looks forward to testing some of these speculations via experimental results as early as 2009.


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