E' possibile dare diritto di cittadinanza in meccanica al concetto di massa negativa?
Received: 7 June 1993
AMS Classification : 70A05
Abstract The question of a possible legitimacy of the concepts of negative mass and antigravity is advanced, and a tentatively positive answer is given. Such a possibility, requires a compact set of new hypotheses, which are more or less interdependent and so that if some of them are suspended, the remaining ones cannot be saved because they enter into conflict with the experimental evidence. Among such hypotheses the newest ones are: the existence of the electric charge with only the positive sign, the negativity of the mass sign for all the "elementary" particles having standard negative electric charge, the gravitational repulsion between particles and antiparticles, and the splitting of relativistic dynamics into two branches (one for particles, the other for antiparticles). This set of hypotheses, called NAMEC (New Approach to Mass and Electric Charge), leaves classical mechanics and electrodynamics, special relativity, and non-relativistic quantum mechanics largely untouched. Instead, new previsions concern mainly gravitation (NAMEC cannot be conciliated with general relativity), particle physics (NAMEC seems to require quarks having integer electric charge, with the consequent necessity of modifying the standard quantum chromodynamics), and the properties of systems containing masses of both signs, which require particular care. An example of the latter is the repartition of the potential energies among the system bodies, which is assumed following a proposal by the Broglie. These latter systems have a relevant importance, because in NAMEC all atoms must be thought of a systems of this type, being composed of a nucleus with positive mass and of electrons with negative masses. This opens some interesting possibilities which could put NAMEC to the test. The most crucial NAMEC prevision is that antiproton must be gravitationally repelled from the Earth, thus, when free, "falling upward" with an acceleration equal in modulus to the standard fall acceleration.