Inspired by reading some recent questions about going to space and torchships and such, I've come to the sad conclusion that space is hard and rocket equations suck.
So what if we made advances in a different direction? Instead of getting more efficient fuels and engines, what about reducing mass instead?
This is definitely not a new idea; I remember that the starship Andromeda Ascendant worked this way - by using anti-gravity fields it reduced the mass of itself and all of its contents to less than 1kg which then was easy to maneuver.
So how realistic is this? Ok, apart from the method itself. Let's imagine that we have invented a handwavium-powered device that produces an anti-Higgs-field-or-something which reduces the mass of all particles within 2m radius to about 0.1% of what it was originally. All other particle properties stay the same - charge, spin, polarization, whatever. Just the mass magically changes.
What would happen when the switch was thrown? Would everything around ir suddenly become featherweight? Or would everything around it disintegrate, because the kinetic energies of the particles would sudddenly be large enough to escape molecular bounds? Or something else?
If a human would be standing next to it, would they live to tell the tale?
I know that gravity at quantum scale is negligible, but mass also affects acceleration and maybe some other things, so I'm uncertain of the final (macroscopic) effect.