What Is a Children's Description of the Meaning for "E=MC"?


Quick Answer

An easy way to make E=mc2 understandable to children is to start with a paraphrase of the first law of thermodynamics: "Nothing disappears; everything goes somewhere." Matter, for example, cannot be destroyed, but only turned into energy. E=mc2 is the equation that describes the amount of energy it turns into.

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What Is a Children's Description of the Meaning for "E=MC"?
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Full Answer

Matter can be thought of as highly organized energy, and energy can be viewed as disorganized matter. Turning one into the other can only be done at a certain ratio, and that ratio is what Einstein's equation provides. Splitting a heavy atom makes two lighter atoms, but their combined weight is not equal to the weight of the original atom; it's slightly lower. The difference in mass was converted to energy at a rate of E(energy released) = m(difference in mass) x c(the speed of light)2.

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