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A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton

More than two years ago, I posed the following questions for Andy Schlafly to answer. I'd still appreciate an answer by him, making my wait worthwhile.

1. Do you accept that the mass of the Lithium-kernel (7Li), of alpha-particles (4He) and of protons (1H) can be measured fairly accurately, as these are charged particles?

2. Do you accept the measurements for the mass of the particles as used by Cockcroft¹ and Walton, i.e.

particle mass
1H 1.0072 amu
4He 4.0011 amu
7Li 7.0130 amu

If not, which values do you think to be right?

3. Do you agree that before the reaction the mass of the particles involved was 8.0202 amu?

4. Do you agree that after the reaction the mass of the particles involved is 8.00220 amu?

5. Do you agree that there is a mass decrease of 0.0180 amu?

6. Before the experiment, the Li was at rest and the proton had a kinetic energy of less than 1MeV. Do you accept these values?

7. After the experiment, a pair of alpha-particles was observed, both having an kinetic energy of 8.6MeV. Do you think that this value is correct?

8. Can you tell me where the mass went? Can you tell me where the energy came from?

9. If your answer to question 8. is no in both accounts, than my answer is that there is a theory which explains the conversion of mass to energy, even if you don't like it!

--AugustO 06:33, 23 June 2014 (EDT)

The list of administrators of Conservapedia includes User:RSchlafly ("I'm related to Andrew Schlafly") and User:PhyllisS ("Phy Schlafly"). Both are knowledgeable about this stuff. Why don't you get their input on this article? And could you please answer the questions above? --AugustO 17:50, 23 July 2014 (EDT)

Another five months later, still nothing. --AugustO 07:42, 21 December 2014 (EST)

Robert Dicke

I want to revisit the statement: For example, Robert Dicke, perhaps the greatest physicist of the 20th century, was denied a Nobel Prize because he doubted the Theory of Relativity.

  • "perhaps the greatest physicist of the 20th century" - according to whom?
  • "was denied a Nobel Prize because he doubted the Theory of Relativity" - where is the evidence for this claim?

--AugustO 15:30, 20 February 2015 (EST)

  • Read also the article of Robert Dicke: "Indeed, Dicke should have won the Nobel Prize for one of his many other achievements also (such as his laser work), but was similarly denied recognition." --JoeyJ 06:56, 21 March 2015 (EDT)
Thanks, I looked into it. --AugustO 06:22, 22 March 2015 (EDT)

E=mc² is regularly tested, using the best equipment available

Take for instance the National Institute of Standards and Technology's summer-school of 2009, which allows grad-students and junior faculty to get their hands on their newest equipment: Here, NIST-physicist Maynard Scott Dewey shows how this can be used to test the equation E=mc² directly ("Neutron Binding Energy Measurements for a Direct Test of E=mc²" (pdf)) - and with a very good precision.

So, the formula is tested time and time again, it is regularly used by many physicists and engineers, regardless of the political position. That makes more than "liberal claptrap"... --AugustO 08:28, 18 March 2015 (EDT)

Mass is a measure of an object's inertia, in other words its resistance to acceleration. In contrast, the intrinsic energy of an object [...][has] nothing to do with gravity.

This juxtaposition is very painful: Why should it by problematic that the "intrinsic energy" has nothing to do with gravity, when the first part talks about the object's inertia? Where is the "contrast"? --AugustO 08:34, 18 March 2015 (EDT)

Taking out redundant sentence

I have taken the liberty of restoring (almost exactly) my version of 21:14, 8 June 2015. The previous version had what was essentially the same sentence twice, consecutively. It said:

However, it is impossible for anyone pursuing an academic career in science to even question the validity of this equation.
Political pressure, however, has since made it impossible for anyone pursuing an academic career in science to even question the validity of this nonsensical equation.

This can't possibly be what you wanted. The version I left in was the second one, with "Political pressure", and "nonsensical". I disagree with "nonsensical", but it's your website. I agree with the near-impossibility of anyone doubting this equation to successfully pursue an academic career in science, though probably for the reasons you think.

But I have taken out the word "since". It makes no sense in the current context; it may have made sense in an earlier context.

Now it's true that the longer intro paragraph was more "full", but that's only because it had the redundant sentence. I think the intro that I have left is full enough. It has "nonsensical", and it has the famous "claptrap" sentence. This must be the intro that you want. OK? SamHB 00:47, 11 June 2015 (EDT)

You did more than just that. VargasMilan 23:47, 11 June 2015 (EDT)

Change the article

As it stands, the article itself is confusing. Items of info were placed in a haphazard manner, without regard to structure or flow. Try re-doing it this way, in the following order:

Do a simple statement to introduce the subject in the first paragraph.
Describe in detail what it is, and what it supposed to do.
Describe the history of it, who first postulated it and why; who else seconded it.
Describe anything that successfully uses it, confirms it, and so on.
Describe anything the rejects it, criticisms of it, proof that it is wrong, and so on. It could be proof that it is wrong only in specific applications where it was tried and failed. Karajou 00:00, 15 June 2015 (EDT)

People don't own formulas

No, they don't. But since the time of Pythagoras, certain formulas, laws, and theorems are associated with certain people (not always correctly). While Einstein doesn't own E=mc², it is his formula. --AugustO (talk) 02:59, 6 August 2015 (EDT)

What about Friedrich Hasenöhrl? Why doesn't he get any credit? It's not like he's lost in the mists of history. VargasMilan (talk) 15:47, 6 August 2015 (EDT)
Same reason that Tartaglia isn't credited for Cardano's method: history isn't just (and people like easy names). --AugustO (talk) 16:08, 6 August 2015 (EDT)

PBS's absurd statement

Would anyone like to defend the absurd statement by PBS that:

it's almost as if the ultimate energy an object will contain should be revealed when you look at its mass times c squared, or its mc².

--Andy Schlafly (talk) 14:01, 8 August 2015 (EDT)

I agree with you - I don't think that this way of trying to make the formula plausible works.
BTW: while we are posing and answering questions - what about #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton? I'm still waiting for your answer! --AugustO (talk) 17:53, 8 August 2015 (EDT)

The PBS statement quoted above, with it's "ultimate energy" stuff and "will be revealed" stuff, is indeed rather stupid. That whole section needs to be cleaned up. But you need to be aware that this equation, like it or not, claptrap or not, correct or not, experimentally verified or not, theoretically proven or not, looms very large in the public's consciousness. (And I might add, the name of Einstein is widely associated with it, which is the point I made recently that you reverted.)

Most of what the public knows about it is ludicrously oversimplified and just wrong. The popular notion that I find most overwhelmingly stupid is the business about "it unlocks the secret of the atomic bomb". But the other quotes are nearly as bad.

The "Description for the layman" section and the immediately following "Popularization of E=mc²" are really just a synopsis of this foolishness. I think that material needs to be in the article, but put into perspective as oversimplified popularization. I don't agree with the edit comment "this is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid. Phrases like 'universally connected in the public's consciousness' are non-encyclopedic, and speculative at best." The public's consciousness of this equation is an important part of an article about it, unless you are writing a serious scientific journal to be read only by scientists. We need to acknowledge that it's a "meme", and try to put that into perspective.

The "Description for the layman" section gives four popular quotes, out of an article containing ten quotes. Of the ten quotes, only one is actually lucid, straightforward, and factually correct; ane that is the one (not one of the four) by Sheldon Glashow. The others are what one would expect if you ask scientists to explain it for laymen.

Assuming that it's OK with you for the page to acknowledge that it's well known in society at large, I'd like to leave the "Description for the layman" section in, with a prefatory note that it is extremely widely misunderstood, and that attempts to explain it to the general public almost invariably fall flat. Then give four examples as before, but adding Glashow and removing Arkani-Hamed. I'd also like to leave in the reference to the PBS article, but choose a much better quote than that "ultimate energy" nonsense. And the "energy it carried would be proportional to its mass times 100 [that is, v] squared" stuff is just plain wrong. And stupid. And unhelpful.

So can you give me a couple of days to think about this? Unless you want the whole "E=mc^2 in the public's consciousness" material to go away, in which case I won't bother.

SamHB (talk) 21:42, 8 August 2015 (EDT)

In response to SamHB, I appreciate your thoughtful remarks, but I didn't put the PBS quotation in the entry. Someone else did (I'm not bothering to check who, and don't want to criticize anyone for it). Other quotations may be better, but it is important first to clearly state what the assumptions are underlying the formula. Does it work backwards by trying to conserve energy within the framework of the Theory of Relativity? If so, then the formula derivation really is circular, and the mass is not really a meaningful rest mass. Instead, the mass is something manipulated to try to conserve energy from different frames of reference.
I really think it's better to have a synopsis of the "pop-sci" garbage, and a debunking thereof, first, an exposition of what the formula means, its assumptions (they're really simple) second, and how we know it is true third. I know this is, on the face of it, a distasteful order, but the "pop-sci" stuff has so overwhelmed the public's consciousness that we need to address that first. People will be attracted to the article because the equation is so famous, not because they really want to measure isotopic weights. Technical details at the beginning will turn them off, and they will never get to the debunking that's really important. So, if it's OK with you, I'm going to clean up the "pop-sci" stuff first, and leave it at the front. OK? SamHB (talk) 14:12, 10 August 2015 (EDT)

In response to AugustO, I don't doubt that some experiments may by chance have results consistent with E=mc2, just as a broken clock occasionally has the right time of day. The challenge is to demonstrate the formula across a diversity of experiments and circumstances, which of course has not been successfully done.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 22:13, 8 August 2015 (EDT)