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What does E = mc ^ 2

The formula E = mc ^ 2 is probably the best-known formula in physics. It describes the energy-mass equivalence. The equation says that mass and energy can be converted into one another. Due to the high value of the speed of light c, enormous amounts of energy are released even when converting small masses. This means that mass is actually nothing more than a form of energy, albeit in a different form.

In the case of the atomic bomb, all of the end products measured after the explosion have a lower mass than the bomb before the explosion. The mass difference was converted into energy. In the case of radioactive decay, the atomic nuclei produced have a lower mass than the initial nucleus. The mass difference was converted into energy. In nuclear fusion, the resulting atomic nucleus has a lower mass than the original nucleus. The mass difference was converted into energy.

Wikipedia tags:

Energy-mass equivalence, Atomic bomb, Nuclear fission, Nuclear fusion

Energy is a form of mass and vice versa: energy can be converted into mass and mass can be converted into energy.

The formula E = mc2 describes this phenomenon mathematically. You can use the formula to calculate how much energy is in a mass, the formula is a kind of conversion factor. We speak of energy-mass equivalence. It was set up in 1905 by Albert Einstein.

E ... energy
m ... mass
c ... the speed of light 300,000 km / s

Einstein wasn't even the first to think about this connection. It has already been observed earlier that electrons have a higher mass in a moving state than in a stationary state.

So when and how does matter become energy? This process takes place around us every day in the truest sense of the word: in all the stars in the universe, which burn hydrogen to helium (this is nuclear fusion) and thereby emit energy. The resulting helium particle is lighter than the hydrogen particle. The particles lose mass and energy is released. The lost energy is binding energy.

And when does energy become mass? We cannot easily imagine this process, but it also takes place every day, for example in particle accelerators, in which elementary particles are accelerated to almost the speed of light. The energies involved are so high that new elementary particles can arise from them.

An informative video:

Even if an atom bomb explodes, all the individual particles that are created are somewhat lighter than the unexploded bomb. This mass is missing - it was converted into energy, according to E = mc2. Since c is so large, the resulting energy is also huge, even if only a few grams of mass are converted.

As in the case of nuclear fission, the added mass of the resulting atoms is smaller than the mass of the starting atom. The mass difference was converted into energy.

In nuclear fusion, the mass of the starting atoms is greater than the mass of the atom that is created. The mass difference was converted into energy.

Attention: This information is still very incomplete.
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1. Video

Alpha Centauri: what is binding energy?

http://www.br-online.de/cgi-bin/ravi?v=alpha/centauri/v/&g2=1&f=040512.rm

2. Video

Alpha Centauri: When does E = mc2 apply?

http://www.br-online.de/cgi-bin/ravi?v=alpha/centauri/v/&g2=1&f=060621.rm