Talk:E=mc²

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Archive 1

A little clarification?

Mr. Schlafly, I'm trying to understand your assertion that the "energy" of an object is a function of "electrostatics." I wonder if you can explain a little more about this.

For example, how is energy derived from electrostatic charge? Can you show the equation for doing this?

Are you basing this on the common practice of expressing energy in electron-volts?

Do neutral particles such as neutrons or uncharged atoms have energy, even though they have no charge? Pscott 21:54, 14 August 2012 (EDT)

Energy can be viewed as the ability to do work, as in applying a force. Electrostatic charge can certainly do that.
Mass applies, at most, a very weak force, and it has no connection with the speed of light squared. It's almost comical to claim that any meaningful statement of energy is found by multiplying mass times the speed of light squared.--Andy Schlafly 22:28, 14 August 2012 (EDT)
Unfortunately this doesn't really answer any of my questions. Yes, an electric field can apply a force. But the "strength" of an electric field is actually the same as a gravitational field: both decrease inversely as the square of the radius. The difference is that the strength of an electric field increases much more rapidly in proportion to charge than gravity does in proportion to mass.
Also, electric fields exert a force only on charged particles, which why I asked how we can calculate the energy of uncharged particles such as neutrons. Do they even have energy in the sense that you mean it?
And finally, I would still like to see the equations used to calculate the energy of a particle based on electrostatic charge. How much energy does an electron have? Is it the same as the energy of a proton (the charge is equal but opposite, but the mass is greater)?Pscott 15:05, 16 August 2012 (EDT)
Why is it preposterous to claim that if one gains a pound in weight then their energy has thereby increased in proportion to the speed of light squared, but not preposterous to claim that if one gains a pound in weight then their kinetic energy has thereby increased in proportion to their speed squared? Occultations 16:53, 21 August 2012 (EDT)

"E=mc2 does expressly purport to relate all matter to light"

Mr. Schlafly, could you please explain this statement? It appears that this is a misunderstanding of the relationship of the mass-energy equivalence embodied by the equation . If a math student were to lambast the formula for the surface area of a sphere () as relating roundness to the number 4 or spheres to squares, they would rightly be criticized for this obvious misunderstanding of a mathematical formula. I think your misunderstanding of what means is similar. GregG 19:00, 11 November 2012 (EST)

The surface area of a sphere is related to its radius, and to . But the claim that mass and the speed of light have any relation at all to each other, through energy or anything else, is absurd.--Andy Schlafly 23:21, 11 November 2012 (EST)
Is your concern that the constant "c" happens to be the speed of light? Or do you dispute the concept of relativistic mass, where
Are you saying that the speed of light does not belong in either equation, and that the "c" should be something else? There are a number of equations in Einstein's Special Theory besides E=mc2 and they hold together as far as they go. Everyone agrees that a general theory of relativity has not been developed, but the ideas of mass energy equivalence and relativistic mass fit the data. The designers of nuclear reactors and satellite systems use these equations with success. Wschact 09:47, 12 November 2012 (EST)
It's a liberal fiction that E=mc2 has ever been applied in any practical way. The equation defines rest mass in terms of the speed of light - an absurdity.--Andy Schlafly 10:15, 12 November 2012 (EST)
With all due respect, relativity was factored into the design of the GPS satellite system. If you want to calculate the energy release of an atomic bomb, E=mc2 is very useful. We don't know with great precision the speed of light, and we don't know with great precision the value of "c". But God gave us brains and curiosity, so we will learn more precise values for both. So far, they match. If someday in the future, someone calculates "c" and measures the speed of light to more decimal places and discovers that they are different, I will have an open mind as to why. The constant "c" carries through consistently in Einstein's calculations for the Special Theory. The coincidence that "c" happens to equal the speed of light is one of the beautiful things about God's universe. Although I do not spend my life's work on theoretical physics, I am pleased that God has inspired some very smart people to devote their lives to thinking about relativity, and I wish them success and happiness. Wschact 11:15, 12 November 2012 (EST)
Relativity was not factored into the GPS design, and E=mc2 has never been useful in any other way.
We've discussed the claim about relativity and GPS over and over on this site, and as a matter of historical fact (not to mention obvious engineering efficiency), theoretical relativity was not part of its design. It is far easier and more accurate simply to synchronize directly based on observation, as may be needed.--Andy Schlafly 11:20, 12 November 2012 (EST)
If relativity isn't factored into the GPS design, why does the "GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM STANDARD POSITIONING SERVICE SIGNAL SPECIFICATION" (and you can't get more official than that) state that they have to compensate for relativistic effects? --AugustO 12:30, 12 November 2012 (EST)

Andy, why don't you answer August's question? What happens to that lost mass? And how do you explain E=mc 2 accounting for it exactly? The truth is that you live in a dream world. Your "insights" may sound like a nice way to view the world but when faced with a REAL counterexample and asked to back up your assertions you always just hide your head in the sand and fail to respond. Or use your classic 2+2=4 argument. Lol.--DamonRoss 12:23, 12 November 2012 (EST)

The equation does not define rest mass in terms of the speed of light. The equation defines relativistic mass in terms of the speed of light. If the equation were to define rest mass in terms of the speed of light it would have rest mass on the opposite side of the equation to the speed of light. Is your objection down to a fundamental flaw in your understanding of how equations work? VictorA 08:03, 14 November 2012 (EST)

Still waiting for an answer....

In March 2012 I asked this question:

Aschlafly, two protons (1.0073amu) and two neutrons (1.0087amu) have a combined mass of 4.0320 amu. An alpha-particle - existing from two protons and two neutrons - has a mass of 4.0015 amu. How do you explain this diminution of mass?

I'm still waiting for an answer! --AugustO 08:55, 12 November 2012 (EST)

It's widely recognized that E=mc2 has not been experimentally verified. There has been no Nobel Prize awarded for it, for example, and there is no logical basis for even deriving the equation.
But a broken clock is correct twice a day. Would someone claim that proves the clock is working??--Andy Schlafly 20:21, 12 November 2012 (EST)
Do you say that the size of the diminution of mass just "happens" to coincide with the observed energy calculated via E=mc²?
But how can there be a loss of mass? If you don't think that the energy-mass-equivalence is valid, what's about conservation of mass?
Your "answer" is as good as a link to a video of fluffy kittens - or some proverb written in Chinese. In short, it is no answer at all, as you don't explain the diminution of mass.
"It's widely recognized that E=mc2 has not been experimentally verified. " That's just not true, I'm afraid.
AugustO 01:55, 13 November 2012 (EST)
I know a number of physicists who are good conservatives and good Christians. They take their children to Sunday school. They don't like seeing government wasting money. And they believe in Einstein's theory of special relativity. At one time, the Roman Catholic Church taught that the Earth was the center of the solar system rather than the Sun. I personally believe that the Church's view on that subject did not have a reliable source in the Bible. I understand how the Book of Genesis has been viewed as being in tension with Darwin's theory of evolution, but I don't see special relativity having the same tension with the Bible.
The question is whether the contradiction between the Bible and the equation E=mc2 is so direct and widely acknowledged that CP's users should receive an article that disparages the equation? Thanks, Wschact 09:32, 14 November 2012 (EST)

Problematic edit

This edit is a bit vexing and does not reflect the consensus reached on the talk page. I understand the criticism directed toward the General Theory of Relativity, but for the reasons stated further down the article, E=mc2 does fit the experimental data. Based on everything that I have read, it is consistent with the Bible. I do not want to get into the middle of a pre-existing emotional dispute, but I thought that I had come up with language that fit both sides. CP is short on editorial manpower, and all of our time is very valuable. I am disappointed on how this was handled. Many thanks, Wschact 09:46, 15 November 2012 (EST)

Perhaps we could separate the experimental results from the general validity of E=mc2. I was thinking of something like:
Some experimental results appear to show that when a small amount of mass is lost in a nuclear reaction there is an accompanying release of energy (approx x eV per amu of mass lost).
Sorry I can't calculate x, but it can be just a number without any c, light speed etc
The conversion factor (x) is indeed close to the square of the speed of light if appropriate units are used. However:
  • The experiement has been done with only a limited number of nuclear reactions and in specific environments. This does not prove that this will occur for every nuclear reaction in every environment, and cannot possibly prove that E=mc2 is always true
I'm assuming here that we accept the experiemental results as far as they go. If not, even better - we can link to some evidence that they are flawed
  • The experimental results do not prove that the conversion factor (x) is exactly the square of the speed of light. More accurate measurements may show that it is different

    No one has a convincing explanation of why E might possibly equal mc2. The most likely explanation is that the Creator designed it this way for some reason that we don't understand.
Would something like that help clarify the true position?
Peterw 15:47, 8 January 2013 (EST)
No Nobel Prize has been given for this implausible formula, so no meaningful experimental verification of it has occurred. There is utterly no logical explanation for the formula. It's in the realm of science fiction at best, and not as good as other types of science fiction.--Andy Schlafly 15:52, 8 January 2013 (EST)
  • No Nobel Prize has been given for this implausible formula, so no meaningful experimental verification of it has occurred. That's just a non sequitur
  • There is utterly no logical explanation for the formula. Why should there by? It works!
  • It's in the realm of science fiction at best, and not as good as other types of science fiction. No, it's not - that's just wishful thinking of you part. Even undergraduates can perform experiments which show relativistic effects - see Relativistic Electron Experiment for the Undergraduate Laboratory
--AugustO 16:11, 8 January 2013 (EST)

Actually, it gets demonstrated in practice about 3x1010 times for every watt-second of power generated by a nuclear power plant. Aside from observation, the theoretical question of why it should be true (and why the proportionality constant must be c2) was logically deduced, by Poincare, Einstein, and perhaps others (Roger Schlafly would be an expert on this point), before it was ever observed. The last paragraph of Einstein's 1905 paper, after deducing it theoretically, speculated that it might actually be observed in Radium decay. It was, and the rest is history.

Clear expositions of why it must be true on theoretical grounds are not always easy to come by. I like to think that the page I wrote on another wiki gives a clear and concise proof. Anyone interested in my making it available here? SamHB 23:06, 8 January 2013 (EST)


I know that Albert Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, and that no prizes were awarded during World War II. But didn't E=mc2 show up a lot in the work of Hans Bethe on nuclear reactions and energy production in stars (1967 prize). Hans Bethe lead the theoretical team at Los Alamos which designed the bombs dropped on Japan and certainly used the relationship on a day to day basis. So, I don't believe it is correct to say that "No Nobel Prize has been given for this implausible formula." I think that so many Nobel Prize winning discoveries in high energy physics depend on E=mc2 or further confirm the relationship that it would be hard to argue that the Nobel committee has been boycotting E=mc2 as pseudoscience. Wschact 05:46, 9 January 2013 (EST)

@SamHB: Having performed such an experiment for yourself is much more impressive than just thinking about actions in nuclear power plants or stars far away. Such an experiment inoculates you against arguments which are b|ased on wishful thinking alone.
@Wschact: the formula E=mc² is virtually omnipresent: I've shown above that Cockcroft used the formula in his Nobel-lecture. Aschlafly tends to ignore such information.
@Aschlafly: What do you think of the experiment for undergraduates (Relativistic Electron Experiment for the Undergraduate Laboratory)? Have thousands of students falsified their results to fit the current "dogma"? Do you have another theory which makes predictions that are different from those of Einstein's theory, but which is consistent with this experiment? And could you give the answers to #A_few_questions_for_Aschlafly_regarding_the_experiment_of_Cockcroft.C2.B9_and_Walton? The energy involved is to much for a chemical reaction...
--AugustO 08:34, 9 January 2013 (EST)
Broken clocks are precisely correct twice a day too. One or two bizarre experiments in more than a century of trying to prove the formula as a general proposition are hardly persuasive. The Nobel Prize committee wants to recognize the formula has being demonstrated, but can't. There is no logical support for the formula, as peer reviewed articles have virtually admitted.--Andy Schlafly 14:11, 9 January 2013 (EST)
The experiment for the undergraduates is hardly bizarre - what results would you expect? If you don't get the results as described, this means that your clock is broken, while the clock which most of us use is correct uncountable times a day. And please, could you give the answers to #A_few_questions_for_Aschlafly_regarding_the_experiment_of_Cockcroft.C2.B9_and_Walton? This is another non-bizarre and often repeated experiment... --AugustO 14:25, 9 January 2013 (EST)
[Sorry, I think I put this in the wrong place originally]. It's certainly a strange-looking formula. When refuting it should I be saying that mass is not actually being converted to energy in these reactions (i.e. the experiments are flawed and either mass is not being lost or the energy comes from somewhere else or something)? Or is it that mass is indeed being converted to energy but E=mc2 is not a correct/meaningful/useful way to describe it? Peterw 15:06, 9 January 2013 (EST)
Thank you Peterw. Clearly, energy is converted from matter. Just consider the energy source of hydrogen bombs and the Sun. Does anyone object to reverting the edit cited at the top of this section? Thanks, Wschact 23:04, 9 January 2013 (EST)
Mass is not a function of the speed of light. A century of effort (and billions of taxpayer dollars) to try to connect the two has struck out. Chemical reactions can yield a release of energy, but mass is neither created nor destroyed.--Andy Schlafly 23:40, 9 January 2013 (EST)
  • The mass of the products of a chemical reaction is nearly equal to the mass of the reagents, because the energy which is involved is so much less than that of a nuclear fusion or fission.
  • A kilogram of TNT will release 4.484 MJ of energy, if you break this down for a single molecule, you see that less than 10 eV are released per molecule in the explosion. Compare this with the 17,200,000 eV per nucleus in the experiment of Corckcroft and Walton!
  • In fact, if you let the products of the explosion cool down, the equivalent of this energy will be missing - but it is such a small amount that it is hard to detect it. But nevertheless, E=mc² could be observed.
--AugustO 02:36, 10 January 2013 (EST)
Thanks Andy, that's pretty clear - mass is not being converted to energy, therefore E=mc2 is nonsense. I've got two kids who are being taught this stuff at school so I can now set them straight.
Regards Peterw 17:22, 10 January 2013 (EST)

High School Experiment

August, please explain below any high school experiment that you think proves the formula. You might your view why a Nobel Prize was not given for it.--Andy Schlafly 14:36, 9 January 2013 (EST)

  • Aschlafly, you are a former engineer, therefore you should have the competence to review an experiment for undergraduates!
  • Not everything which is true can be shown at a high-school. You may say that in this case, the theory is beyond the scope of this project, but that is not the case: certainly the readers of this encyclopedia should be informed about such things, even if they can't do the maths themselves - or perform the experiments. This demands of the editors of articles like this one that they are willing to get the knowledge of the subject! Indeed they should get more information than is put into the article at the end. A good teacher should know a little bit more than the curriculum of his pupils...
  • And please, could you give the answers to #A_few_questions_for_Aschlafly_regarding_the_experiment_of_Cockcroft.C2.B9_and_Walton? I always try to answer your questions - and the questions in the section above aren't that demanding...
--AugustO 14:52, 9 January 2013 (EST)
What's the relevance of the Nobel Prize? Was a Nobel Prize ever given for Intelligent Design, Flood Geology, Baraminolgy, anti-vaccine experiments, the link between breast cancer and abortion or creation science? MattyD 15:00, 9 January 2013 (EST)
As to why no Nobel Prize was given for it, I believe that the main factor was that Albert Einstein had already received the prize for his related work and since the prize was so new, there was a great reluctance to give it to the same person twice. There are a number of other Nobel Prizes awarded for related work that involve E=mc2 such as Hans Bethe's explanation of how energy is generated inside the Sun. Turning to the experimental side, there was a Nobel Prize given to John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton. While a high school student does not have the instrumentation sensitive enough to recreate that experiment, you could take high schools students to an "atom smasher" facility for a tour. For example, Fermilab outside Chicago has an excellent visitor's center which has a number of exhibits and demonstrations suitable for high school (and younger) students. The models help visualize the various aspects of atomic (and subatomic) interactions.
One interesting calculation is to give high school students the size of a hydrogen bomb and ask them to calculate the amount of energy that will be released when the bomb detonates. (I certainly would not want that experiment to be conducted for real at my high school.) I hope this helps, and if so, perhaps some of the materials from the talk page can be incorporated into the main article. Wschact 15:10, 9 January 2013 (EST)
  • Wschact, I agree with you on the matter of the Nobel Prize
  • The calculation is interesting, but it is impossible to prove its validity: the mass-defect simply can't be measured... --AugustO 17:19, 9 January 2013 (EST)
The significance of no Nobel Prize for this is the same as the significance of the dog that didn't bark: dogs want to bark, and the Nobel Prize committee wants to honor atheistic, nonsensical theories like relativity, but there is nothing there, there.--Andy Schlafly 17:24, 9 January 2013 (EST)
That's your opinion. Wschact offered another explanation. We could talk about this all day without getting closer to the truth - so let's get on more solid ground:
--AugustO 17:53, 9 January 2013 (EST)
I agree with AugustO's comments as well. If Andy could respond to those questions, we will know how to proceed to fix up this article and to write others. For example, if E does not equal mc2, what can we say in the Hans Bethe article about his contributions? How can we discuss synchrotrons? Why does it take more energy to push a particle as the speed of the particle approaches c? I understand the controversy on this website about evolution vs. creation vs. intelligent design, but E=mc2 appears to be an isolated debate with opponents of the equation lacking biblical support or a coherent world-view. Thanks, Wschact 18:52, 9 January 2013 (EST)
Isn't someone going to explain the high school experiment that supposedly proves that Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, thereby unifying gravity and light???--Andy Schlafly 18:55, 9 January 2013 (EST)
Please read what I wrote above. For your convenience: "Not everything which is true can be shown at a high-school. You may say that in this case, the theory is beyond the scope of this project, but that is not the case: certainly the readers of this encyclopedia should be informed about such things, even if they can't do the maths themselves - or perform the experiments. This demands of the editors of articles like this one that they are willing to get the knowledge of the subject! Indeed they should get more information than is put into the article at the end. A good teacher should know a little bit more than the curriculum of his pupils... "
And please, could you give the answers to #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton? --AugustO 19:15, 9 January 2013 (EST)
With all due respect, as discussed many times on this page, E=mc2 does not "unify gravity and light". It addresses the conversion between matter and energy. The m is not gravitational mass. Thanks, Wschact 07:06, 10 January 2013 (EST)

An experiment performed at high-schools

I think that experiments on Compton Scattering are performed at high-schools. While generally used to show that electromagnetic rays may act like particles, Einstein's mass-energy relationship is used in the process. --AugustO 19:33, 9 January 2013 (EST)

I agree about the Compton scattering validates E=mc2. I also believe that the Relativistic Electron Experiment for the Undergraduate Laboratory could be performed by high school students with proper adult supervision. It would make a great science project. Wschact 06:57, 10 January 2013 (EST)
Aschlafly, you created the article on Compton Scattering, but I can only guess how much you know about this subject, as it was just one in a flurry of similar very short articles, all copied and pasted from the [Talk:Compton Scattering|public domain]. So if you are not familiar with the experiment, have a look at the derivation of the Compton formula: it relies heavily on the mass-energy equivalence E=mc²!
This experiment was performed at my gymnasium by our teacher - due to the gamma radiation it would be a nightmare to have pupils to conduct the experiment for themselves.
Aschlafly, I reread your comments on this talk-page, and for me they are strangely disappointing: you are rarely arguing from physics, but mostly from politics. Or to quote you: You restate the claim as though its repetition would make it true.
Please answer #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton and show us that you actually know what you are talking about.
Thank you, --AugustO 13:58, 10 January 2013 (EST)

Neither the high school experiment, nor anything else about E=mc^2, purports to unify gravity and light. E=mc^2 does not relate to gravity; it would work in outer space. The "m" is inertial mass, not gravitational mass. The correspondence between the two is incidental, and relates to Einstein's equivalence principle (a completely different phenomenon) and the Eotvos experiment.

"Chemical reactions can yield a release of energy, but mass is neither created nor destroyed". Not so. It is a common misconception that E=mc^2 relates only to nuclear processes. It actually relates to all processes, though nuclear ones are the only ones for which the difference in mass can be reasonably measured. No one doubts the quantitative results, for nuclear processes, detailed on the article page. The equation E=mc^2, initially formulated on theoretical grounds, is in excellent agreement with those results. There is nothing about the theoretical underpinnings to suggest that there is some "threshold" below which Δm is zero, or that it only applies to certain types of interactions. There is good reason to believe that it applies everywhere, even though the mass difference, in the case of chemical reactions, is not readily measurable.

By the way, another "table-top" demonstration of relativity may be found here. It does not demonstrate E=mc^2; it's about electrodynamics under the Lorentz transform.

SamHB 19:36, 10 January 2013 (EST)

Thank you for sharing that experiment about generating and measuring DC current. A high school student could easily understand the physics, and the equipment could be made in the Industrial Arts shop. I miss my high school science fair days. (sigh) Wschact 00:28, 11 January 2013 (EST)

Source of heat in a nuclear power station

Andy, I explained this to the kids yesterday and it was an eye-opener for them. The teacher hadn't mentioned that E=mc2 was only a theory and might not be happening (well,what would you expect?). Anyway, they did ask me a good question that I couldn't answer. Where does the heat come from in a nuclear power station? They're only 12 so I just need something simple.

It looks to me like Uranium is reacting and turning into other things. Is this just a normal chemical reaction and the heat comes from the chemical changes just like, say, gunpowder? Of course they're being told that the heat comes from a loss of mass, and is thousands of times more than a chemical reaction would produce, so I want to make sure I'm on solid ground saying that it isn't. I did a search but couldn't find references to where the heat comes from other than mass being converted into energy and something called Free Energy which I don't understand.

Peterw 08:20, 11 January 2013 (EST)

Learn out to spell "yesterday" and "happening"! :) LOL DanAP 09:52, 11 January 2013 (EST)
If those are my biggest problems then I'm fairly happy :-) Now corrected. Peterw 09:57, 11 January 2013 (EST)

It is a meaningless, almost nonsensical, statement that purports to relate all matter to light.

I changed this sentence to It is a statement that purports to relate all matter to energy. . My reasons:

  • The reader should decide for himself whether the statement is meaningless or nonsensical
  • The older version showed a misunderstanding of proportionality: in a proportionality, two variables (in this case matter and energy) are related by use of a constant (in this case c²). The older version implied a relationship between matter and the proportionality constant - which is nonsense. As Aschlafly stated above "Mass is not a function of the speed of light." Here he is right - as the function of a constant would be necessarily constant itself, but we know that there are different masses....

--AugustO 09:58, 14 January 2013 (EST)

Aschlafly, before your next reversion of my edit, please address my concerns above. And you still haven't answered #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton... --AugustO 19:08, 16 January 2013 (EST)

Citations Needed

This article really needs many citations. If a statement is made, for example, about people being unable to pursue a career in the sciences without accepting the topic of the article, some sort of source really should demonstrate that. Similar citations are needed elsewhere in the article. Avilister 19:14, 15 January 2013 (EST)

Reversion explained

The truth is defined by logic, not by consensus at liberal universities.--Andy Schlafly 19:24, 16 January 2013 (EST)

The truth is that there is absolutely no relationship whatsoever between between politics and E=mc2, and the idea that there is one is only your personal opinion. Why do you think that you receive such little support on this idea?--RobertDW 21:25, 16 January 2013 (EST)
Additionally, the page for this is just a mess. The opening section claims it to be liberal claptrap, while the rest of the article lists experiments that conclusively prove it to be true (None of which I think I've ever seen you directly address). If real-world results contradict your supposed logic, perhaps there is a problem with your logic?--RobertDW 21:31, 16 January 2013 (EST)
Aschlafly, that's not an explanation, that's just rhetoric: it's not about truth, it's about physics. Until now, you have failed to show that you have any knowledge of the matters discussed: you won't address any questions which require you to actually think about the subject and perhaps even take out a bit of paper and a pen (like #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton)! Your position seems to be rooted in ignorance and wishful thinking, your arguments are just political talking points. That's not good enough when everybody else is talking about physics.
A little bit annoyed, yours AugustO 00:50, 17 January 2013 (EST)
science is not by liberal consensus: not an answer to #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton, again. Are you stalling? --AugustO 01:42, 17 January 2013 (EST)
The truth, it seems, is what you define it to be, and not what dozens or hundreds of rigorously performed scientific studies support. Studies that have been repeated and re-tested for the better part of a century. Frankly, you're entirely unqualified to present yourself as an authority on a scientific topic like this. Have you ever looked into the data? Ever? Like, even a little? If you had, you'd have seen all sorts of phenomena that can't really be explained without E=mc^2. The fact that it can't be derived from first principles is entirely irrelevant in the face of all of the empirical data. For example, how can you explain the difference between the mass of an alpha particle and the sum of the masses of its four separate constituents? Hint: That missing mass didn't just go nowhere. Avilister 11:23, 17 January 2013 (EST)

Andrew Schlafly's comments

I reread the talk-page and gathered Andrew Schlafly's comments:

1 Beware of claims that the rest of the world completely agrees with something. Unanimously passed legislation is often the very worst kind.--Andy Schlafly 17:21, 16 December 2012 (EST)
2 It's a start for now, and will expand over time. That's how wikis work.--Andy Schlafly 01:18, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
3 Peer-reviewed journals won't publish a criticism of relativity. That's obvious. Although I don't have a copy of the full paper, I doubt it attempts to fully support the hearsay that was excluded, and I would not be surprised if it was included simply to safeguard against complaints for what followed. It adds nothing to the basic point that follows and is quoted here.--Andy Schlafly 21:19, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
4 JoshuaB, do you accept the possibility that the Theory of Relativity may be false, and would you approve a well-written paper that criticized it? It's a simple "yes" or "no" question.--Andy Schlafly 21:55, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
5 The qualifications on your answer render it almost meaningless. I'm not asking whether your approval of a paper would make a difference, or your opinion about whether you think the replacement of the Theory of Relativity will "most likely" be another theory of relativity. The question was simple and straightforward, referring to a paper critical of the theory of relativity without any appeasement to those who insist on believing in it. An unqualified answer is requested.

Also, did you ever answer my simple question on Talk:Main Page about how much time you've spent reading the Bible this month?--Andy Schlafly 22:50, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

6 The quotes (and others that could be added) illustrate how meaningless the formula is.--Andy Schlafly 10:02, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
7 The quotes were solicited to describe the meaning of the equation to laymen, not to illustrate how difficult that is. The difficulty arises from the meaningless nature of the equation.--Andy Schlafly 11:01, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
8 The problem is that E=m2 does not meaning anythimg that makes sense. Anyone is welcome to try to explain it here. Eating a pound of cake does not cause one's energy to increase by the speed of light squared.--Andy Schlafly 16:06, 1 April 2012 (EDT)
9 No, I don't. E=mc2 is supposedly a general truth of universal applicability. The case for it, if true, needs to be far stronger than what is quoted above.--Andy Schlafly 11:15, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
10 AugustO, chemical reactions can release energy, typically based not on the size of their mass but on the electrostatic energy prior to the reaction. Cockcroft's own paper accepting the Nobel Prize does not claim that his work proved that E=mc2. Undoubtedly many other experiments contradict the formula, or else we'd have seen far more claims of experimental verification of it.--Andy Schlafly 11:20, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
11 It's hair-splitting jargon of doubtful significance. 99% of people know what mass is, and it's directly related to weight, not electrostatic energy.--Andy Schlafly 16:38, 28 March 2012 (EDT)
12 The lead focus of the entry was converted into a parade of hearsay rather than logical analysis. Simply put, the entry had denigrated into the antithesis of the truth-seeking integrity expected of Conservapedia.--Andy Schlafly 19:41, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
13 The entry explains how nonsensical the formula is as a general principle -- and how it has never been derived as a matter of logic or demonstrated in any general, meaningful manner. Reliance on hearsay is not a serious alternative.--Andy Schlafly 20:24, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
14 You restate the claim as though its repetition would make it true. It doesn't. If someone gains one pound in weight, then it is preposterous for anyone to claim that his energy has thereby increased in proportion to the speed of light squared.--Andy Schlafly 21:07, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
15 The formula E=mc2 does assert that his energy for a fixed gain in weight would increase in proportion to the speed of light squared and, as you say, that is preposterous.--Andy Schlafly 23:37, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
16 Great point. I retrieved and added many of the citations back. If I missed any then I'd be happy to add them also.--Andy Schlafly 23:37, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
17 Even a broken clock (like the Nobel Prize) gets it right every once in a while!--Andy Schlafly 22:07, 1 April 2012 (EDT)
18 You make some valid points as the online evidence is remarkably scant, even though the disagreement between Bohr and Einstein is well-known. This may be a (rare) example where the internet is less adequate than books. I did add an explanatory footnote and the protection to the page should be expiring soon, if not already.--Andy Schlafly 10:22, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
19 No, that would not explain why it "is impossible for anyone pursuing an academic career in science to even question the validity of" E=mc2. Even if you think the formula is somehow true, surely you do not deny the political pressure in academia against anyone who might consider questioning it.--Andy Schlafly 10:37, 3 April 2012 (EDT)
20 But Energy and mass have known meanings in other contexts, unlike the distances (in inches) on the map page in your example. If Energy or mass were being redefined by E=mc2, then I think your analogy would work. But people are not defending E=mc2 by saying it entails a redefinition of Energy or mass.--Andy Schlafly
21 (inserted reply here) E=mc2 claims more than the relation between mass and energy is linear (which is itself implausible). It also claims that the proportional factor is precisely equal to the speed of light squared. Restating the meaning of the equation in plain terms demonstrates how implausible it is.--Andy Schlafly 20:41, 4 April 2012 (EDT)
22 The equation is nonsensical. Mass has nothing to do with the speed of light, and cannot be equated to energy simply by multiplying it twice by the speed of light.--Andy Schlafly 20:33, 4 April 2012 (EDT)
23 "Usually when we speak of an object's mass we do not distinguish whether we are referring to its inertial mass or its gravitational mass. This is because the quantity of matter present in an object, i.e., its mass, does not depend on the method by which it is measured." [1] Indeed, no measurement has ever detected a difference between the two.

As to your second point, chemical reactions can cause energy to be released, and the remaining mass to be reduced. This is hardly astounding and certainly does not imply that E=mc2.

Your third point is often repeated by Relativists but overlooks that Maxwell's equations were developed and demonstrated decades before the Theory of Relativity. Maxwell's equations survived just fine for years without anyone claiming that somehow E=mc2. Indeed, an assertion that people "have to reject Maxwell's equations" based on relativity suggests a mathematical approach to physics, rather than an observational one. Are you aware of how Eddington claimed that a physical constant "must" have a certain value due to some mathematical rationale? (He was wrong, of course.)--Andy Schlafly 21:06, 5 April 2012 (EDT)

24 Simply put, the Theory of Relativity is a mathematical theory (which, by the way, is taught in math departments in some universities); this mathematical theory has never been based on meaningful physical observations. Any statement that someone must reject Maxwell's equations if he rejects the Theory of Relativity shows how the mathematical cart can be incorrectly placed before the physical horse.--Andy Schlafly 00:21, 6 April 2012 (EDT)
25 Cockcroft's experiments were not performed until 1932 [2], and recognition for his work did not occur from the Nobel Prize committee until 1951. I could find nothing in the Prize, Cockcroft's acceptance speech, or anything else contemporaneous that suggests that Cockcroft proved that E=mc2.

One comment above suggests that E=me2 was accepted long before 1932. Based on what, mere politics? This formula cannot be demonstrated mathematically even to this day, and the first (dubious) proof for it was not observed until 1932. Folks, E=mc2 seems to be based on politics rather than physics.--Andy Schlafly 18:02, 8 April 2012 (EDT)

26 The formula cannot be derived in any sensible way, not merely a rigorous way. Numerous attempts to derive it have been failures. Moreover, the first claimed experimental observation for the formual was not dates from 1932, long after the formula was declared to be unquestionable dogma.--Andy Schlafly 19:20, 8 April 2012 (EDT)
27 This took only one search on the internet: 7 failed attempts to prove E=mc2.--Andy Schlafly 23:27, 8 April 2012 (EDT)
28 A recent peer-reviewed scientific paper, which has been cited in this entry, also confirms that E=mc2 cannot be mathematically derived.--Andy Schlafly 15:53, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
29 That sounds like what the paper would have to say in order to be published, yes. An academic journal will withdraw its acceptance of a paper if it conflicts with the Theory of Relativity in any way. Anyone in academia who criticizes the Theory of Relativity in any way, no matter how minor, is risking the end of his professional career due to liberal orthodoxy. Robert Dicke, the greatest American physicist ever, was denied the Nobel Prize because he criticized the Theory of Relativity.--Andy Schlafly 23:07, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
30 The claim that something "is the most accurately tested theory in physics" is a canard often heard by defenders of the Theory of Relativity. Step back, look at the phrase objectively, and it's easy to see that such a claim is unscientific. Indeed, such a claim sounds like something one would hear in politics. Not only are there more than three dozen counterexamples disproving the Theory of Relativity, but the claim on which it was based (the advance of the perihelion of Mercury) is now disproof of the theory. But notice how few people are interested in reviewing more precise data, and instead cite imprecise data that are a half-century old or more.--Andy Schlafly 21:49, 18 April 2012 (EDT)
31 Robert Dicke's criticism of the general theory of relativity is well-known. For that, he was disqualified from receiving the Nobel Prize, despite being the most accomplished American physicist ever.--Andy Schlafly 21:41, 18 April 2012 (EDT)
32 Then why hasn't William Bertozzi won a Nobel Prize for this work?--Andy Schlafly 21:11, 13 April 2012 (EDT)
33 If this were a "simple demonstration of a basic principle," then that would be all the more reason why it should be recognized with a Nobel Prize, given the lack of a prize for the same principle. Indeed, has any Nobel Prize been awarded for a purported confirmation of E=mc2? (Cockcroft's work did not claim to confirm the equation.)--Andy Schlafly 14:40, 14 April 2012 (EDT)
34 It's completely logical. Some liberal claptrap is even too much for the Nobel Prize committee, and that's worth pointing out.--Andy Schlafly 14:58, 14 April 2012 (EDT)

Energy can be viewed as the ability to do work, as in applying a force. Electrostatic charge can certainly do that.

35 Mass applies, at most, a very weak force, and it has no connection with the speed of light squared. It's almost comical to claim that any meaningful statement of energy is found by multiplying mass times the speed of light squared.--Andy Schlafly 22:28, 14 August 2012 (EDT)
36 The surface area of a sphere is related to its radius, and to . But the claim that mass and the speed of light have any relation at all to each other, through energy or anything else, is absurd.--Andy Schlafly 23:21, 11 November 2012 (EST)
37 It's a liberal fiction that E=mc2 has ever been applied in any practical way. The equation defines rest mass in terms of the speed of light - an absurdity.--Andy Schlafly 10:15, 12 November 2012 (EST)
38 We've discussed the claim about relativity and GPS over and over on this site, and as a matter of historical fact (not to mention obvious engineering efficiency), theoretical relativity was not part of its design. It is far easier and more accurate simply to synchronize directly based on observation, as may be needed.--Andy Schlafly 11:20, 12 November 2012 (EST)
39 It's widely recognized that E=mc2 has not been experimentally verified. There has been no Nobel Prize awarded for it, for example, and there is no logical basis for even deriving the equation.

But a broken clock is correct twice a day. Would someone claim that proves the clock is working??--Andy Schlafly 20:21, 12 November 2012 (EST)

40 No Nobel Prize has been given for this implausible formula, so no meaningful experimental verification of it has occurred. There is utterly no logical explanation for the formula. It's in the realm of science fiction at best, and not as good as other types of science fiction.--Andy Schlafly 15:52, 8 January 2013 (EST)
41 Broken clocks are precisely correct twice a day too. One or two bizarre experiments in more than a century of trying to prove the formula as a general proposition are hardly persuasive. The Nobel Prize committee wants to recognize the formula has being demonstrated, but can't. There is no logical support for the formula, as peer reviewed articles have virtually admitted.--Andy Schlafly 14:11, 9 January 2013 (EST)
42 Mass is not a function of the speed of light. A century of effort (and billions of taxpayer dollars) to try to connect the two has struck out. Chemical reactions can yield a release of energy, but mass is neither created nor destroyed.--Andy Schlafly 23:40, 9 January 2013 (EST)
43 August, please explain below any high school experiment that you think proves the formula. You might your view why a Nobel Prize was not given for it.--Andy Schlafly 14:36, 9 January 2013 (EST)
44 The significance of no Nobel Prize for this is the same as the significance of the dog that didn't bark: dogs want to bark, and the Nobel Prize committee wants to honor atheistic, nonsensical theories like relativity, but there is nothing there, there.--Andy Schlafly 17:24, 9 January 2013 (EST)
45 The truth is defined by logic, not by consensus at liberal universities.--Andy Schlafly 19:24, 16 January 2013 (EST)
46 Folks, a century of attempts to unify gravity and light have been unsuccessful. E=mc2 is a science fiction goal that billions of dollars in attempts have been unable to achieve.--Andy Schlafly 19:59, 17 January 2013 (EST)
47 Perhaps it is easier to copy my answers than to respond to them. Is there anyone here who really thinks that a theory unifying gravity and light has been discovered???--Andy Schlafly 20:25, 17 January 2013 (EST)


Andrew (Aschlafly? Andy?), these comments show that you may understand politics, but not physics. Indeed, some are contradictory: in 24 you say Simply put, the Theory of Relativity is a mathematical theory (which, by the way, is taught in math departments in some universities); this mathematical theory has never been based on meaningful physical observations., while in 27 we read This formula cannot be demonstrated mathematically even to this day, and the first (dubious) proof for it was not observed until 1932. and in 42 there is no logical basis for even deriving the equation.

What is it: we have experiments which show that the formula is applicable in many occasions: indeed, no situation has been found where it doesn't work. And what is a mathematical theory other than a logical conclusion?

Other comments are simply untrue, like 39: It's widely recognized that E=mc2 has not been experimentally verified. E=mc² has been used in countless experiments!

Not one of the comments shows that you are willing to put some work into your answers - like looking at the experiments or the data. These comments are best described by your own words:

You restate the claim as though its repetition would make it true.

--AugustO 14:42, 17 January 2013 (EST)

This is impressive AugustO! I think I understand Mr. Schlafly's opposition to E=mc2 now. The theory states that mass and energy are equivalent. But looking at Aschlafly's hand waiving exercise, that is simply not the case. For he clearly has expended a great deal of energy to produce very little substance. --DonnyC 15:23, 17 January 2013 (EST)
Folks, a century of attempts to unify gravity and light have been unsuccessful. E=mc2 is a science fiction goal that billions of dollars in attempts have been unable to achieve.--Andy Schlafly 19:59, 17 January 2013 (EST)
Have you even read anything that anyone has posted here? Address the experiments that prove it true. The main article and talk page are full of them. What is wrong with them? How are they flawed? How is E=mc2 used incorrectly in each of them? How do you explain E=mc2 fitting perfectly into each of them? You have essentially repeated yourself, over and over, without addressing any actual facts, once.--RobertDW 20:10, 17 January 2013 (EST)

Perhaps it is easier to copy my answers than to respond to them. Is there anyone here who really thinks that a theory unifying gravity and light has been discovered???--Andy Schlafly 20:25, 17 January 2013 (EST)

No, there has been no unified field theory discovered that joins the 4 known forces of nature. Now, let's get back to E=mc2.--DonnyC 20:32, 17 January 2013 (EST)
Yet that is precisely what E=mc2 purports to do. After a century of trying, many realize it is impossible.--Andy Schlafly 21:00, 17 January 2013 (EST)
Andy, I know you pride yourself on having an Open mind, so let me ask you this: Has the possibility ever occurred to you that you do not really know what you are talking about when it comes to subjects outside your field of expertise, theoretical physics being an example? --DamianJohn 21:21, 17 January 2013 (EST)
@Aschlafly, Einstein did not claim E=mc2 to be a unified theory. If he had, he would have said so and called it a day back in 1905 instead of spending the latter years of his research in the 1950's looking for a unifying theory. You do understand that the 'c2' portion of the equation is just a constant, right? It's simply the maximum speed that any change in a field or massless particle can propagate. So we can actually remove "light" (which seems to be a sticking point for you) from the equation and substitute any wave or field whose speed is independent of the motion of the observer and the wave's source. So you could replace light with anything that travels that fast. You could even plug in gravity in lieu of light if that better suits your fancy. If it could be proven that "bad news" traveled at the speed of light you could plug that in as well.
The point being is I think somewhere along the way you got tripped up on the what the formula actually expresses versus what you think it says. This is witnessed by your statement of: "Eating a pound of cake does not cause one's energy to increase by the speed of light squared". Indeed. --DonnyC 22:42, 17 January 2013 (EST)
Perhaps it is easier to copy my answers than to respond to them. No, it isn't. If you take a look at the sections above, you will see that you generally get responses. I'm afraid we are missing substantial answers from you, like to #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton.
Is there anyone here who really thinks that a theory unifying gravity and light has been discovered??? That's not what E=mc² is about, in the same way that A=πr² isn't about unifying area and π
If you don't start to do actual physics, your list of answers just becomes a parade of ignorance. --AugustO 01:00, 18 January 2013 (EST)

So does a mass of 1 kg have energy of c2, or not?--Andy Schlafly 01:06, 18 January 2013 (EST)

No - as you messed up the units. --AugustO 01:08, 18 January 2013 (EST)
The mass energy in 1 kg is (keeping in mind, of course, that a joule is a kilogram-meter-squared-per-second-squared). That's a lot of energy! GregG 01:22, 18 January 2013 (EST)
Or about 21 kilotons of explosive power... or 25 TWh... Or... --DonnyC 01:36, 18 January 2013 (EST)
You are out by a factor of 1000. A kiloton of TNT-equiv is approximately 4.185*10e12 Joules. The kiloton equivalent for the figure GregG gave would be about (given he didn't use the approapriate figure for the speed of light in a vacuum I'll approximate as well) 20000 kilotons (20 megatons). Dvergne 01:53, 18 January 2013 (EST)
Correct. I was doing the conversion in my head. It's should be something around 21,500 kilotons (21.5 megatons). Which of course would make my subsequent conversion incorrect as well. I guess that would make me.... wait for it... wrong. Thanks for the correction DVergne. Wow! It's surprisingly easy to admit you're wrong! Maybe other people will try it... --DonnyC 02:04, 18 January 2013 (EST)
Indeed, 1kg has an equivalent energy of - a immense number: it equals 25TWh - the output of all German power-stations combined in a fortnight. On the other hand, the sun emits this means that it loses roughly 15 Trillion kg each second - or the mass of our Moon in less than 57 days.
But we have had other examples of the equation on this talk-page:
  • In Cockroft's experiment, a mass of is transformed into an energy of
  • In Compton's experiment, rays having a frequency of a couple of EHz are used. The photons have an energy W=h*f, and interact with electrons as having a mass of W/c².
This is about measurement, not politics. And please, Andrew, answer #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton: those questions may be difficult for a lawyer, but nor for an engineer. So, I'd like the engineer in you to answer the questions, not the lawyer to give another political statement. --AugustO 06:11, 18 January 2013 (EST)

Science fiction is great stuff ... as long as one doesn't start believing it, or allow it to take time away from truths, such as the Bible. Suppose I drink a glass of water, which has mass of about 0.5 pounds (roughly 1 kg). Zero calories, of course. Yet do you maintain that my energy increases in proportion to the speed of light squared?

What percentage of people who believe relativity's crass, silly materialism are likely to read the Bible earnestly, or pursue other real truths?--Andy Schlafly 23:29, 18 January 2013 (EST)

Andy, first 0.5 pounds is not roughly 1 kg. Second, your gastrointestinal tract performs chemical reactions, it's not a nuclear fusion plant. Thirdly, I have no clue what percentage of people who accept the theory of relativity are likely to read the Bible, but I'm guessing you have some sort of figure in mind. From your line of questioning it would appear that a) you fundamentally do not understand the topic under discussion and b) you're trying to change the subject. --DonnyC 23:50, 18 January 2013 (EST)
Good point about the arithmetic - a glass of water is closer to 0.22 kg in weight than to 1 kg. But the underlying point remains the same: drinking a class of water does not increase one's energy in proportion to the speed of light squared. It's science fiction, and not very good at that.--Andy Schlafly 00:29, 19 January 2013 (EST)
--AugustO 02:17, 19 January 2013 (EST)
P.S.: I just created proportionality. Hope that helps. --AugustO 03:21, 19 January 2013 (EST)

Andrew Schlafly's answers in the section above

Andrew, you still ignore experimental evidence, but repeat and repeat again that E=mc² is nonsensical, etc. Furthermore, you offer a thought experiment: drinking a class of water does not increase one's energy in proportion to the speed of light squared. Well, if you drank this glass of water and then got transferred to the center of the sun, it would burn a tiny little bit longer then if you would have been transferred without drinking it. For you this may seem counterintuitive: therefore take a step back and answer #A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton - keep an open mind! --AugustO 08:41, 19 January 2013 (EST)

Robert Dicke, the greatest physicist of the 20th century

Andrew, such over-the-top statements just help to erode your credibility when it comes to physics. I understand that you won't accept Albert Einstein - the common choice - for this title. But Werner Heisenberg, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Lise Meitner, Erwin Schrödinger, Richard Feynman were at least his equals! --AugustO 11:14, 18 January 2013 (EST)

You seem to prefer liberal theoreticians who were long on speculation, but short on experimental achievements. Robert Dicke actually built and discovered things, like the lock-in amplifier, in addition to theorizing.unsigned comment from Aschlafly 23:32, 18 January 2013
If you prefer experimentalists, what's about Edward Teller, Richard Oppenheimer, Stanislaw Ulam or Enrico Fermi? I don't claim that any of those is the greatest physicist of the 20th century, but they are not less great than Robert Dicke. --AugustO 02:24, 19 January 2013 (EST)

Page Length

This talk page is getting terrible long. If no one objects I'll archive the top half or so of this page. Dvergne 09:27, 19 January 2013 (EST)