Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What about E=mc^2?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What about E=mc^2?

    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
    Chapter 2 - Space, Time, and the Eye of the Beholder
    What about E=mc²?
    or
    Although Einstein did not advocate calling his theory "relativity" (suggesting instead the name "invariance" theory to reflect the unchanging character of the speed of light, among other things), the meaning of the term is now clear. Einstein's work showed that concepts such as space and time, which had previously seemed to be separate and absolute, are actually interwoven and relative. Einstein went on to show that other physical properties of the world are unexpectedly interwoven as well. His most famous equation provides one of the most important examples. In it, Einstein asserted that the energy (E) of an object and its mass (m) are not independent concepts; we can determine the energy from knowledge of the mass (by multiplying the latter twice by the speed of light, c²) or we can determine the mass from knowledge of the energy (by dividing the latter twice by the speed of light). In other words, energy and mass—like dollars and francs—are convertible currencies. Unlike money, however, the exchange rate given by two factors of the speed of light is always and forever fixed. Since this exchange-rate factor is so large (c² is a big number), a little mass goes an extremely long way in producing energy. The world grasped the devastating destructive power arising from the conversion of less than 1 percent of two pounds of uranium into energy at Hiroshima; one day, through fusion power plants, we may productively use Einstein's formula to meet the energy demands of the whole world with our endless supply of seawater.

    From the viewpoint of the concepts we have emphasized in this chapter, Einstein's equation gives us the most concrete explanation for the central fact that nothing can travel faster than light speed. You may have wondered, for instance, why we can't take some object, a muon say, that an accelerator has boosted up to 667 million miles per hour—99.5 percent of light speed—and "push it a bit harder," getting it to 99.9 percent of light speed, and then "really push it harder" impelling it to cross the light-speed barrier. Einstein's formula explains why such efforts will never succeed. The faster something moves the more energy it has and from Einstein's formula we see that the more energy something has the more massive it becomes. Muons traveling at 99.9 percent of light speed, for example, weigh a lot more than their stationary cousins. In fact, they are about 22 times as heavy—literally. (The masses recorded in Table 1.1 are for particles at rest.) But the more massive an object is, the harder it is to increase its speed. Pushing a child on a bicycle is one thing, pushing a Mack truck is quite another. So, as a muon moves more quickly it gets ever more difficult to further increase its speed. At 99.999 percent of light speed the mass of a muon has increased by a factor of 224; at 99.99999999 percent of light speed it has increased by a factor of more than 70,000. Since the mass of the muon increases without limit as its speed approaches that of light, it would require a push with an infinite amount of energy to reach or to cross the light barrier. This, of course, is impossible and hence absolutely nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. (Epsilon=One: Considering that which travels "faster than the speed of light," "nothing" is too strong a word. Certainly, the phenomenon of cosmic entanglement travels faster than the "speed of light"; otherwise, there would be no synchronization among the cosmic bodies. Also, it would seem that light's speed being constant is ludicrous. More reasonable would be that the change in light's speed is too small to be detected at the anthropic scale . . .)

    As we shall see in the next chapter, this conclusion plants the seeds for the second major conflict faced by physics during the past century and ultimately spells doom for another venerable and cherished theory—Newton's universal theory of gravity. (Epsilon=One: Also, doomed is "another venerable and cherished theory." How can general relativity's theory of gravity stand in the 21st century? When Einstein wrote the equations for cosmic gravity, there was no consideration for an expanding universe; and certainly, Einstein was completely unaware of accelerating, galactic recession. Einstein never even accepted the mythical Big Bang as a counter-force to gravity. Once Einstein eliminated the concept of counter-gravitational effects, such as the flawed cosmological constant, from general relativity, the theory was always "incomplete.")
    or
    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    Last edited by Reviewer; 05-04-2014, 02:08 AM.
Working...
X