Electrodynamics in the Zero-Point Field: On the Equilibrium Spectral Energy Distribution and the Origin of Inertial Mass
Attempts at an electromagnetic explanation of the inertial mass of charged particles have recently been revived within the framework of Stochastic Electrodynamics, characterized by the adoption of a classical version of the electromagnetic zero-point field (ZPF). Recent claims of progress in this area have to some extent received support from related claims that the classical equilibrium spectrum of charged matter is that of the classically conceived ZPF. The purpose of this note is to suggest that some strong qualifications should accompany these claims. It is pointed out that a classical massless charge cannot acquire mass from nothing as a result of immersion in any EM field, and therefore that the ZPF alone cannot provide a full explanation of inertial mass. Of greater concern, it is observed that the peculiar circumstances under which classical matter is in equilibrium with the ZPF do not concur with observation.
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