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Significance of e = mc^2


Date: 7/26/96 at 17:48:46
From: Anonymous
Subject: Significance of e = mc^2

What does e= mc^2 mean? How did Einstein figure this out?


Date: 7/27/96 at 13:29:22
From: Doctor Robert
Subject: Re: Significance of e = mc^2

One of the conclusions Einstein reached while working on his 
theory of relativity is that mass and energy are different forms of 
the same entity. Since they are different forms, you should be able 
to convert an amount of energy into an amount of mass, and vice versa.  
The equation that gives the correct conversion is E = mc^2, which says 
that if you have a mass m, it is equivalent to (c^2 times m) amount of 
energy.  

Since c is the speed of light, you can see that the amount of energy 
available from a small amount of mass is HUGE.  

c^2 = (3 x 10^8)^2 = 9 x 10^16.  

In theory, one kg of mass can be converted into 9 x 10^16 joules of 
energy!

How Einstein figured this out might be beyond the scope of this venue. 
I hope that this helps.

-Doctor Robert,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/   
    
Associated Topics:
High School Physics/Chemistry

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