The origin of rest-mass energy

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Today we have a solid, if incomplete, physical picture of how inertia is created in the standard model. We know that most of the visible baryonic ‘mass’ in the Universe is due to gluonic back-reaction on accelerated quarks, the latter of which attribute their own inertia to a coupling with the Higgs field – a process that elegantly and self-consistently also assigns inertia to several other particles. But we have never had a physically viable explanation for the origin of rest-mass energy, in spite of many attempts at understanding it towards the end of the nineteenth century, culminating with Einstein’s own landmark contribution in his Annus Mirabilis. Here, we introduce to this discussion some of the insights we have garnered from the latest cosmological observations and theoretical modeling to calculate our gravitational binding energy with that portion of the Universe to which we are causally connected, and demonstrate that this energy is indeed equal to mc2 when the inertia m is viewed as a surrogate for gravitational mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number707
JournalEuropean Physical Journal C
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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