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You say this and you don't give him a serious response.

>As someone with physics training I do not see physicists having this trouble

What is definitively known about mass besides E = mc^2 and the limited information we now about the Higgs Boson?

>Most the physicists I know use it often I'm glad the physicists you know use it often. Why is it used so often? If it was known what matter and mass was there would be no need to discuss it.

We know quite a lot about matter, actually. We can describe huge swaths of its properties: we can categorize it into different particles, we know how it acts in various fields, we can tear it apart and build it back up. All in all, quite a lot of knowledge.

Also, the Higgs boson is more interesting for its evidence in spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking than for its ramifications on matter. Despite what popular science tells you, it actually doesn't give most of what you think of as "matter" its mass, that's quantum chromodynamic interactions.

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