Can You Explain E=Mc2?


Quick Answer

The mass-energy equivalence equation, popularly known as E=mc^2, was a part of Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity. It gives the relation between energy and mass and suggests that energy can be converted to mass and mass can be transformed into to energy.

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Full Answer

The mass-energy equivalence equation helps individuals determine the amount of energy produced from a given amount of mass. The energy generated is directly proportional to the mass and can be calculated using the speed of light multiplied by itself as a proportionality constant.

This equation has been used widely in nuclear physics, including during the construction of nuclear power plants and the atomic bomb. The nucleus of an atom has several protons packed together. Protons are positively charged and should repel one another when in such close proximity, thus rendering the nucleus unstable. According to Einstein's equation, the protons lose some amount of mass to produce binding energy, which is strong enough to stabilize the charges in the nucleus. In a nuclear reaction, the nucleus of an atom splits, thus releasing the binding energy, which is then either harnessed to generate electricity in nuclear power plants or used for destruction in the atomic bomb. The equation helps explain the stability of atomic nuclei.

Einstein's equation also helps explain the creation of the universe. Scientists theorize that the universe started off as a ball of pure energy, which was converted to the mass of all the matter that we see today.

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