(Submitted July 31, 1996)
Do photons have mass?
Because the equations E=mc2, and E=hf, imply that m=hf/c2
Is it so?
No, photons do not have mass, but they do have momentum. The proper,
general equation to use is
E2 = m2c4 + p2c2
So in the case of a photon, m=0 so E = pc or p = E/c. On the other hand,
for a particle with mass m at rest (i.e., p = 0), you get back the famous
E = mc2.
This equation often enters theoretical work in X-ray and Gamma-ray
astrophysics, for example in Compton scattering where photons are treated as
particles colliding with electrons.