The equation is extremely famous, and just as extremely misunderstood, in popular culture. Among the more outlandish claims are statements to the effect that "E=mc² holds the secret of the atomic bomb."<ref>Not so. The energy of the atomic bomb comes not from E=mc², but from the tension between the electrostatic force and the strong nuclear force. E=mc² simply meant that the fission products from the [[Little Boy|Hiroshima]] bomb weighed 0.7 grams less than the original Uranium.</ref>
The equation has acquired something of a "cult" status. In the USA, the popular ''[[Twilight Zone]]'' series featured '''E=mc²''' prominently, giving the equation greater currency with the public. The song ''Einstein A Go-Go'' by the band Landscape had a similar effect in the UK in the 1980s. The equation was the title of a single by ''Big Audio Dynamite'' in 1985, and an album by Mariah Carey in 2008. Some movies have been themed on this equation.<ref>http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0322120/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_2, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116160/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1</ref> The equation, along with a picture of a mushroom cloud and a picture of [[Albert Einstein]], were featured on the front cover of an issue of ''Time'' magazine in 1946. All of this is disappointing when one considers how few people actually understand what the equation is saying.
A number of science writers—both serious scientists and science popularizers—have at various times written their own explanation of the equation. Some of these are helpful; many are not. One of the better ones, though not without its share of nonsense, is a NOVA series by the [[Public Broadcasting Service]]<ref>[http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/ancestors-einstein.html David Bodanis ''Ancestors of E=mc²''], Nov 10, 2005, NOVA</ref>