When I was in high school taking physics and failing it, one of the things we went over and ignored was the concpet of mass. I mean wtf is mass? Many people use it and have no clue whatsoever as to what it is. In that class I learned it had to do with the amount of matter you are made of. This did not do a good job of clarifying the matter for me, so to speak. [smile] And although this definition is not technically wrong it is very much ambigiuous and does more of saying nothing than it does of elucidating the concept of mass. It does not answer the question of why such a quality should exist at all, why should such a phenemon be observed? Just because I am composed of matter does not neccessitate that I would also be posessed of mass, or weight for that matter. It does not say why mass has to exist at all and simply sets up for a misconception that mass is a measure of the total corpascular consistuents of a body. The most important question though, is what is meant by this thing called mass?
Mass is best described as a measure of how a body interacts with the totality of its enviroment, including the universe. What does this mean? That is what I am going to try to explain.
We see that there exist two different types of masses, the inertial and the gravitational. The gravitational mass is the mass that is found that a body within a gravitational field is posessed of, seemingly, a measure of attraction. The inertial mass is that of how difficult it is to alter a body's state of motion. We find the two to be equivalent, the fact that all objects, regardless of mass, seem to fall at the same rate is related. Einstein, in his corrsepondence principle notes how a body feeling an acceleration is not easily distinguishable from that within a gravitational field... The inertia of a body, according to Mach's Principle is due to every particle in your body relating somehow with all the matter in the observable universe.
Why no new Einstein?
It amuses me when people talk and think they understand the universe - spouting nonsense about a 50 dimensional universe - basing their knowledge on poor popularizations of string theory. HA!!
"I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
--Carl Friedrich Gauss
To truly excel in a field you have to approach it in an unorthodox way, when you approach it in such a manner, you are not hindered with knowledge of a list of techniques, ideas and or concepts that everyone knows is impossible.
Attend an institution but always self educate and remain independent.
That is my great revelation of the day.
Notice my title is the complete opposite of Extarius' - especially the last two corresponding words, the opposite of an engineer is a scientist, in this case, a physicist. [grin]