The theory of the Electron has been troubled from its start, and hardly a decade has gone by in the last hundred years without modification in what we think we know about it. One area of constant confusion in Electron theory is Electron-mass. The entire gamut of possible representations of Electron-mass have been run-through over the decades, from the representation of Electrons as actually tiny particles with real, matter-derived mass– to matterless Electrons existing merely as points of statistical construct within clouds of charge. About the only thing you won’t hear about the Electron is someone admitting that we actually don’t know what the hell it is– or IF it “is” (in the sense of being a real particle of some relatively lasting duration of existence).
In Representing Electrons, author Theodore Arabatsiz informs us that was Kaufmann who first claimed that the Charge-to-mass ratio of Electrons varied according to velocity. Therefore, if we are to believe that the Charge of an Electron remains constant, then it must be the case that as an Electron’s velocity varies, its mass will vary in a direct relationship.
Larmor, after studying Kaufmann’s work, decided that Electron-mass must derive– not from the matter make-up of the supposed sub-atomic particle– but from its Charge. In other words, the mass of a Larmor Electron is purely electromagnetic. According to Larmor, the Charge carried by the entity we call an “Electron” produces inertia (or resistance to course-change)– and it is this inertia which we interpret as mass.
Actually, Larmor goes even farther, contending that ALL mass ultimately stems from the inertia caused by Charge (whatever THAT is). This is because, according to him, electricity is a necessary constituent part of matter. Matter does not exist apart from electricity, and you won’t find electricity without matter. Matter, he seems to be saying, is basically a SIDE-EFFECT of electricity. I think this approach to matter is worth considerable pondering. For instance, would this approach shed any light on the phenomenon of Gravity?
The concept of Electromagnetic Mass had been introduced by J.J. Thomson in 1881. According to his view, the Ether (which, by the way, scientists no longer believe in) contains a certain “magnetic permeability.” The interaction of this magnetic permeability and a body’s electric charge determines how much additional drag, or “inertia,” is possessed by a body moving through Space (a.k.a. the Ether). For Thomson, this drag-caused mass was in addition to an object’s material-caused mass.