Talk:E=mc²/Archive 1

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This article is complete garbage

E=mc^2 is only a simplified version created to be understood easier. If people had put dedicated effort for any amount of time, they could find the truth behind it. And "the bible says it's false" does not work, especially since the rest of the world completely agrees with the theory of relativity.

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)
But wouldn't unanimously passed legislation be a good example of the Best of the Public? Wonders 23:31, 8 January 2013 (EST)

I'm Finding This a Little Hard to Understand

First off, E = mc2 describing a relationship between energy and matter is only one corollary. It is also part of a well known problem in chemistry... Or is isotopic mass not less than the sum of it's parts? The equation itself HAS been derived from the Theory of Relativity, and is a direct consequence of the energy momentum four vector for an object with 0-momentum. The quote you provide from the paper states that the theory is not enough for a rigorous PROOF, but it never tries to deny the derivability of the equation. Derivation and proof are two entirely different things.

This Article Could Use Sources or Better Explanation

Wow. Classic Andy. Unsourced statements supposedly contradicting well-established theories of physics. No real proof other than "the Bible says it's not true," even though this is an extremely uncommon interpretation Genesis. --AndreaM 01:06, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

It's a start for now, and will expand over time. That's how wikis work.--Andy Schlafly 01:18, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Doesn't it relate energy to mass? The speed of light is just a constant here. IanR 02:22, 25 March 2012 (EDT)


The phrase meaningless, almost nonsensical, statement (as used in the article) fits the first paragraph to a t.

Aschlafly, please try to refute the explanation of the experiments of John Cockroft and Ernest Walton, which is accepted generally under physicists. And try to give some sources - or if not, some of your own calculations!

If not, just erase the first section.

AugustO 11:23, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

Nobel Lecture

I took out the link to the Nobel lecture, it can be found in the short summary. But be aware that John Cockroft is using the dreaded formula with ease (but without stating so explicitly - why should he, it's already generally accepted!) An astute reader, who not only searches for the formula finds e.g., the formulation:

This energy could be provided by a diminution of mass of 0.0184 mass units.

Indeed, these are the ≈ 17MeV! AugustO 11:51, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

Irrelevant claims

Are these claims of so called "experimental verification" valid or useful? If you look at enough so-called science you can find people claiming anything. --DavidEdwards 12:59, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

you can find people claiming anything Indeed - and that's why there is a difference between the unsubstantiated claims in the first section, and the actual experiments in the following paragraphs. If you have a good explanation of the outcome of these experiments (some math would be nice), feel free to add your personal claim.
AugustO 13:03, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Why do you feel that I need to do that? I understand that you may wish to believe relativity is true, but that is no reason to impose your personal beliefs on others.--DavidEdwards 13:40, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Thinking that all claims have the same validity seems not a very conservative position. I don't expect you to accept my personal beliefs, but there is a tendency in physics that the claims which are backed up by those willing to do the experiments and the maths have a greater following than random insights. AugustO 13:47, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
I don't understand why your personal beliefs are even included in the article.--DavidEdwards 13:58, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
  • Because they are bolstered by experiments...
  • ...and they aren't just my beliefs - in fact it will be very hard to find a physicist who doesn't share them. And that's something which shouldn't be easy to ignore in an article on a physical subject.
AugustO 14:02, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
If science is your religion then you will find scientists who share your views. I still don't see why they should be hosted here. The introduction makes the Biblical position clear.--DavidEdwards 14:07, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Religion is my religion, science is my hobby. And just because there is one single interpretation of a few verses of Genesis out there which you think to contradict the experiments of the physicists doesn't shatter my religious beliefs nor my trust in physics. AugustO 14:35, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Then why do you insist with this anti-religious pseudoscience?--DavidEdwards 14:41, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

← Now you have intrigued me: what's your definition of pseudoscience? AugustO 14:45, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

Pssst! DavidEdwards! You're trying waaaaay too hard. --JoshuaB 21:20, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

Too hard about what?
As far as the pseudoscience question is concerned - "science" which is used to promote a worldview which has no basis in moral reality is pseudoscience. Science which is designed to suggest that morality is relative clearly falls into this category.--DavidEdwards 18:40, 26 March 2012 (EDT)


This snipet of sentence appears in the introduction: "...a rigorous proof of the mass-energy equivalence is probably beyond the purview of the special theory." Let's compare that to the entire sentence it was lifted from: "Leaving aside that it continues to be affirmed experimentally, a rigorous proof of the mass-energy equivalence is probably beyond the purview of the special theory." One can't help but notice that the part of the sentence that states that the theory has been observed to be valid in real world experimentation, has been surgically removed. Why is this? Is it because it stands in contradiction to the claim the lead author of this article is trying to promulgate? --JoshuaB 20:55, 25 March 2012 (EDT)

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)
Why won't a peer-reviewed journal publish a criticism of SR or GR? Liberal conspiracy? Also, do you not accept that mass and energy are interchangeable or is it a problem with this specific equation? --JoshuaB 21:24, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
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)
Yes. We already know the Theory of Relativity is an incomplete model of our universe. So yes, the theory may be "false", but the one that takes it's place will most likely have many of the same properties. Secondly, would I approve of a "well-written paper that criticized it"? I don't know what that means. I'm not a physicist, so I don't see what difference my "approval" of said paper would make. Now that I've been so kind as to answer your questions, would you return the courtesy and answer the ones I posted above? --JoshuaB 22:35, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
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)
Come off it Schlafly. This article is not about my Bible reading, is it? No. Does my opinion of the publishing criteria of physics academia have any bearing on the assertions you are trying make? No. Again: Do you not accept that mass and energy are interchangeable or is it a problem with this specific equation? --JoshuaB 23:11, 25 March 2012 (EDT)
Andy, do you accept the possibility that the Theory of Relativity may be correct, and would you approve a well-written paper or book that supported it? It's a simple "yes" or "no" question. --FrederickT3 03:28, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

Some points

  • Misplaced claims of experimental verification: if you want to put on the disclaimer misplaced, please explain the results of the experiments in another way.
  • Why won't a peer-reviewed journal publish a criticism of SR or GR? But they do: remember the neutrino thing? Or the papers of H. Ives? In fact the first event has shown that especially the publication of experiments (seemingly) violating currently accepted theories gets attention!
  • Taking only the second half of "Leaving aside that it continues to be affirmed experimentally, a rigorous proof of the mass-energy equivalence is probably beyond the purview of the special theory." makes you looking deceptive. Take the whole sentence and try to explain the motivation of the first half. Otherwise anyone who looks the quote up will suspect an ulterior motive!
  • The whole first section is a train wreck.
  • Mass is a measure of an object's inertia, and is directly related to the forces of gravity. Only when you accept the general theory of relativity it is, otherwise inertial mass and gravitational mass are quite different animals.

AugustO 02:46, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

I have attempted to clarify the last point on the Mass page, and also removed the fact template from the first paragraph, since the explanation is given later on. As it stood, the "citation needed" banners following important points tended to undercut the authority of the article.--CPalmer 08:29, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
The problem is not a confusion of weight and mass, but the conflation of gravitational and inertial mass. In the classical theory, there is no reason why both should be the same, it's just an experimental fact.
So, I'm sorry, your new entry didn't help.
AugustO 08:40, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
But they always are the same, aren't they? I don't see why knowing or not knowing the reason (yet) has any bearing on the question.--CPalmer 08:43, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
Aschlafly writes: Mass is a measure of an object's inertia, and is directly related to the forces of gravity. In contrast, the intrinsic energy of an object (such as an atom) is a function of electrostatic charge and other non-inertial forces, having nothing to do with gravity.
E=mc² isn't about gravity, to invoke it here is a deflection. AugustO 08:49, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
OK. But bear in mind that this page clearly exists to provide a counterweight to certain liberal views. To do that, clarity of message is needed, and a "citation needed" banner has a deflating effect on the strength of that clarity. So perhaps you could suggest a wording that might be acceptable without the "citation needed" bit?--CPalmer 09:03, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

No, I can't. Frankly, I don't see the clarity in this piece: at the moment, it is still sadly missing. So I hope, that Aschlafly taking care of the fact-tags (other then trimming them away) will add to this clarity! AugustO 09:13, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

Examples of how meaningless E=mc² is: descriptions for the layman

Try to explain a complicated formula in 1-2min, then have a single sentence of this soundbit taken out. You can bet that this may sound meaningless. That's no fault of the formula. I'll change the title back. AugustO 09:58, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

The quotes (and others that could be added) illustrate how meaningless the formula is.--Andy Schlafly 10:02, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
The quotes illustrate how difficult it is to explain the concept to a layman. Take a look here, where you can find the quotes in context. AugustO 10:16, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
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)
Actually the meaning of the equation is very clear: the total energy contained in matter is its mass multiplied by the speed of light in a vaccum squared. Experiment after experiment, and nuclear reactor after nuclear reactor, has clearly demonstrated that the total energy released by a reaction is the lost mass multiplied by c2. Therefore whether the theories of relativity are true or not, E=mc2 is true. Equally, even if classical Newtonian mechanics was false, the kinetic energy of a moving mass would still be accurately described by Ek=1/2mv2. --SamCoulter 16:34, 28 March 2012 (EDT)
Indeed. Internet quotes are really not very useful. A skilled researcher can always find someone saying something to justify their position however bizarre or immoral. This is a typical weakness (and response!) of those who have no real moral or religious basis for their convictions. --DavidEdwards 19:04, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
These quotes are absolutely meaningless. It looks like you took random sentences from the PBS article and then inserted them into the article as if they had any real significance. This is made even more moot when you consider the fact that the article claims that "Ten top physicists were asked to describe in laymen's terms E=mc²" and then you go on to quote three. Not to mention, most of the quotes aren't actually explaining what the equation means - a basic understanding of algebra and what the symbols mean is sufficient to understand its basic meaning - but rather what it entails, its implications. Tim Halpin-Healy's quote I think is better than taking some random sentences and then implying that they mean that physicists don't know what E=mc² means. --Tyg13 15:58, 1 April 2012 (EDT)
The problem is that E=m2does 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)
No, it doesn't. It causes your energy to increase by a number of foot-pounds equal to one pound times the speed of light squared. I've explained this to you already and it isn't difficult. --SamCoulter 16:23, 1 April 2012 (EDT)
The equation is essentially just a conversion ratio, its not difficult to understand that units of energy (Whether it is Joules, pound-foot, or erg) look essentially like a velocity squared times a mass (in SI units - kg m^2/s^2) this is not relativity or theory dependent, its the definition of Energy. The Special Relativistic analysis that results in the basic equation just determines that the conversion ratio is precisely that universal constant c in whatever units are convenient. There is no blindingly obvious or intuitive reason why this SHOULD be the case (conceivably the conversion ratio could have any number of complicated dimensionless constants in front), but basic mathematical logic allows us to derive this simple relationship from the postulates of Special Relativity. That being said, its a rather useless equation on everyday scales. In reality, after consuming a pound of cake your body begins to break down the chemical bonds in the sugars/fats/proteins to extract usable energy, about 1500 food calories worth of it. If you had a precise enough scale and could somehow keep a human in a hermetically sealed bag that prevents the escape of any moisture/gas etc. you would be able to measure that after consuming and digesting the cake your bodyweight would not be +1 lb, but about 70 pg (picograms - 10^-12 grams) less, so if you weighed 150.0lb and ate a pound of cake (total of 151lb), after digestion you would actually weigh 70pg less than 151lb. It is important to note that this "mass" isn't "lost" it is merely the "weight" of the energy stored in the chemical bonds, in other words in a pound of cake there is (1lb - 70pg) of stuff and 70pg worth of "chemical energy" with a conversion ratio of c^2. If you had some magic machine that could convert mass to energy at 100% efficiency the detonation of a body sized bomb would release 20 times more energy than the largest nuclear weapon detonated by man kind, however due to the nature of nuclear transitions/processes such a 100% conversion rate is not possibe . On the scale of nuclear bonds (order of MeV) this difference becomes conceivably measurable, but even so, in the detonation of a hiroshima sized nuclear weapon, the loss of mass due to the nuclear fission is approximately 500mg, the rest of the nuclear material is dispersed as fallout, considering that there was ~60kg of nuclear material in the weapon, this corresponds to an energy "efficiency" ~1%, which is typical of fission devices. In a 100MT nuclear bomb this is conceivably larger at nearly 5kg, and the fusion type weapon that can achieve this high yields has considerably higher mass-energy conversion efficiency at around ~20% DenisTR 16:53, 5 April 2012 (EDT)
Another way of thinking about is this. Consider your typical AA batery, it is not a difficult stretch of the mind to understand that this battery stores electrical energy, approximately 2Ampere-hours at 1.5v which is approximately 5000J worth of STORED electical energy. Now, CONSUMING this battery does not cause your kinetic energy to increase by 5000J the same way that consuming a pound of cake does not cause your kinetic energy to increase by 1lb*c^2, you are still limited by your ability to convert between different energy sources. So A RC car would be able to use that battery to move around for several hours, YOU on the other hand will most likely just pass the battery through your body and the basic chemicals that are storing this electric energy will come out unaltered. The same way that a pound of cake can sustain you for a day, but try stuffing it into the battery compartment of your RC car and it won't move an inch. "Mass-energy" works much the same way, sure consuming a pound of cake increases your "rest energy" or by an enormous amount, but in reality there is no way to convert mass directly to energy so its much the same as swallowing a battery or stuffing cake into the RC car. DenisTR 17:05, 5 April 2012 (EDT)
At any rate, eating a pound of cake, is not nuclear physics, it is chemistry, where your cells digest and utilize the sugars within. Protiens are also converted into sugar.JonM 18:28, 1 April 2012 (EDT)

Aschlafly, could you give us...

... your interpretation of the results of the experiment by Cockroft and Walton? Cockroft describes in his Nobel Lecture how the kinetic energy of the alpha-particles could be provided by diminution of mass of 0.0184 mass units. (p. 170). Please take into account that this isn't about energy in form of electromagnetic waves!

If you don't address the results of the actual experiments, all your claims are just meaningless verbiage. AugustO 10:39, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

Cockcroft (please spell his name correctly) does not even cite E=mc2 in his Nobel lecture.--Andy Schlafly 11:01, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
You don't think that it is implied by the quote that AugustO provided? --FrederickT3 11:10, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
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)

From the lecture: It was obvious then that lithium was being disintegrated into two α-particles with a total energy release of 17.2 million volts. This energy could be provided by a diminution of mass of 0.0184 mass units.

Aschlafly, your ignorance is showing: 17.2 MeV /c² = 1.602*10-19kg m²/s² *17.2 *109/(3*108 m/s)² = 3.0616 * 10-29kg = 0.0184 amu

In fact as this is such a general truth of universal applicability, J. Cockroft could take it for granted that his scientifically literate audience would be able to make this calculation. AugustO 11:26, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

One question, though: We have four protons and four neutrons on the left hand side of the equation, and four protons and four neutrons on the right hand side. So why the difference in mass?
Also, forgive my ignorance, but why is the 'energy' measured in volts? Volts are not a measure of energy.--CPalmer 11:40, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
  • Bainbridge measured the mass of 7Li directly, using mass spectrometry.
  • Indeed, three protons and four neutrons weight less than a 7Li - kernel
  • Energy is measured in this cases in Electron-Volts. One electron volt is the energy of an electron which passed through a potential of 1 Volt.

AugustO 11:54, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

AugustO, please contribute something substantive instead of talking up a storm. Thanks.--James Wilson 11:56, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
James Wilson, please don't interfere in interesting and substantive discussions. Thank you! Baobab 12:12, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
"Baobab", please state what substance is coming out of this conversation. You have had a history of engaging in hefty talk. Please start contributing. I have had some great insights contributing in a few articles today and will continue to do so. Many thanks for your future contributions.--James Wilson 12:47, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
"James Wilson", AugustO is clarifying things and giving us some great insights, as CPalmer's latest reply shows. Discussions will often lead to better articles, which is why your interference was totally uncalled for. I guess your only motive was to defend Mr. Schlafly, but he can take care of himself and really doesn't need your help. Regards, Baobab 13:30, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
Thanks, AugustO. Relativity or no relativity, I am learning a lot from this discussion.--CPalmer 12:00, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
You are posing excellent questions! Indeed it should be of interest for Aschlafly, too:
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?
AugustO 13:42, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
What real evidence do you have that these particles even exist? No doubt you've read it in a book or some "qualified person" has said it is true. In reality you accept these things on the word of somebody else - in other words your belief in the existence of these particles is a matter of scientific faith in something which you have no personal knowledge. There is obviously no problem with believing things on faith, but please don't pretend it's "true because science says it's true". Christians get their real truth from a higher authority.--DavidEdwards 18:49, 26 March 2012 (EDT)
I find Mr O's position to be rather odd. He insists that Mr Schlafly - and only Mr Schlafly answers his questions. Yet at the same time Mr O steadfastly ignores comments specifically directed at him.--DavidEdwards 16:11, 28 March 2012 (EDT)
If you're referring to your question about how he knows that protons and neutrons really exist, I suspect he thought it wasn't worth answering. I tend to agree. --SamCoulter 16:15, 28 March 2012 (EDT)

@DavidEdwards: Sorry, DavidEdwards, I didn't want to ignore you. I hadn't caught up after the databank mishap, I'm afraid. So, to answer your questions: At school, we performed a couple experiments -there were teltron tubes, the Millikan the photo-electric effect, the Millikan Oil Drop experiment, de Broglie's electron diffraction experiments, etc. These experiments confirmed my persuasion that the electrons, protons and neutrons are physically real entities. The proposed theories explained these effects - and sitting in front of a computer, I'm surprised that you aren't willing to accept the theories behind semi-conductors. AugustO 16:25, 28 March 2012 (EDT) @SamCoulter: There is some truth in your statement, too: it's like asking a priest: let's talk about your religion without mentioning Jesus... AugustO 16:28, 28 March 2012 (EDT)


I could restore this page to the last version which I had edited. I don't know whether there were more entries. This should help to restore the article: perhaps one positive effect could be that Aschlafly marvels about the questions in the previous section for a while and rethinks his position! AugustO 18:36, 26 March 2012 (EDT)

Instead of the source - tag

  • E=mc² is a meaningless, almost nonsensical, statement in physics that purports to relate all matter to light.

It relates matter to energy, the square of the speed of light is just the conversation factor

  • In fact, no theory has successfully unified the laws governing mass (i.e., gravity) with the laws governing light (i.e., electromagnetism).

It isn't about gravitational mass, but about inertial mass. To identify both means to invoke the General Theory of Relativity

  • Simply put, E=mc² is liberal claptrap.

How so? It works!

  • Biblical Scientific Foreknowledge predicts that a unified theory of all the laws of physics is impossible, because light and matter were created at different times, in different ways, as described in the Book of Genesis.

So, physicists should just give up looking for it? I dare to say that there are many Christian physicists - they may just not follow your special interpretation of Genesis! AugustO 09:29, 27 March 2012 (EDT)


Could you please move this article to Essay:E=mc²? Then I could ignore all the misleading and outright wrong statements in the first section! Thanks, AugustO 15:57, 28 March 2012 (EDT)

Experimental Facts

Aschlafly, on the one hand side, you state that no experiment distinguishes between "gravitational" and "inertial" mass - and that seems good enough for you. On the other hand side, you have a problem with the statement that E=mc² continues to be affirmed experimentally. Do you spot the inconsistency? Indeed, I could write: the equivalence between inertial mass and gravitational mass has never been mathematically derived from first principles in classical mechanics, indeed, a rigorous proof of this equivalence is probably beyond the purview of classical theory.

BTW, omitting the first part of the sentence "Leaving aside that it continues to be affirmed experimentally..." makes you look very disingenuous (even if you have good motives) to anyone who looks up the link to the abstract!

AugustO 16:07, 28 March 2012 (EDT)

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)
And the remaining percent are the physicists which draw such distinctions with good reason! AugustO
Even more confusing is that the article states mass is a measure of inertia. Inertia is resistance to acceleration, and that has nothing to do with gravity at all. The article as it stands is simply inaccurate. --SamCoulter 16:51, 28 March 2012 (EDT)
Aschlafly: ....may not even have any justification in the paper
Aschlafly, havn't you read the paper? Here is a part of the conclusion:
Einstein produced about 18 virtuoso derivations and demonstrations all aimed at establishing the mass-energy principle. We have shown that although each of them gave evidence for the applicability of E0 = mc² to a particular set of circumstances, no one derivation, or collection of them taken together, succeeded in providing a definitive proof of its complete generality. That should not be surprising because the same situation occurs, for example, with F = ma, which is a different kind of relation than E0 = mc². Even so, 300 years of successful theoretical work have not proven the correctness of F = ma. Indeed, relativity showed that this expression, one of the bedrocks of classical mechanics, holds only approximately.
Here is another excerpt, on mass, electromagnetism etc:
In the 19th century, a number of European physicists, including the leading theoretician of the time, Hendrik Lorentz, were working to establish that mass was, in whole or in part, electromagnetic. There were primarily two competing theories, one by Lorentz, the other by Max Abraham. Both agreed that depending on the relative direction of its velocity and acceleration, an “electron” a generic charged particle moving through the aether could manifest both transverse and longitudinal speed-dependent mass components. There was even experimental evidence that seemed to confirm as much. Electromagnetic theory was then at the center of physics.
AugustO 16:56, 28 March 2012 (EDT)
(May I add that I think one shouldn't make such fundamental statements as E=mc² has no meaning, if one only skims a few abstracts! AugustO)

Aschlafly, maybe you have not the time (or the access) to read the actual papers - as you should when drawing conclusions. But perhaps you can take a look at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's ABC of Nuclear Science to refresh the basics?Even there, they use Einstein's famous equation...... AugustO 08:44, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

...purports to relate all matter to light

When I write that for iron I get:

V [cm³] * 7.874 g/cm³ = M [g]

I don't relate the mass to 7.8474, but to the volume. So, similarly Einstein's equations says that mass is proportional to energy, not light. AugustO 10:38, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

But the constant applied in this case is the (square of the) speed of light! Are you saying that that is a coincidence? If so, why not just say "E=mc"?--CPalmer 10:57, 29 March 2012 (EDT)
no, of course not, but we could write, e.g., Eε0 = m/μ0: the relationship is given between mass and energy... AugustO 11:04, 29 March 2012 (EDT)
But the relationship itself is somehow connected to light. Or maybe, the relationship is connected with some third factor that also determines the speed of light.--CPalmer 11:58, 29 March 2012 (EDT)
yes, but the c² is a constant. Does the equation E/c²=m relate all energy to light? AugustO 12:18, 29 March 2012 (EDT)
Yes - the equation in any form relates mass, energy, and the speed of light. I think the article doesn't emphasise the light-energy relationship because it's the mass-energy relationship that appears absurd once the theory of relativity is discounted.--CPalmer 12:22, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

Even if you discount the theory of relativity, the experimental facts remain: in experiments where mass is deleted or created, this happens with the release or absorption of energy. And this energy is given by ≈8.99*1016m²/s² times the mass... AugustO 13:31, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

Misleading footnote

(Your footnote about the units is bogus. SI units are not arbitrary, since eg Joules can be derived from other SI units including kilograms, metres and seconds. Therefore, the relationship to light is (purported to be) a natural one.)--CPalmer 11:00, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

Which footnote about units? AugustO 11:04, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

Ah, I see, no, not my footnote. The text was inserted by MihailD, and obviously the equation holds in other systems, too. AugustO 11:10, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

I took out the main part of the footnote: it should be obvious that in a physical equation only compatible physical units can be used, and that otherwise conversion factors have to be introduced. But there is no problem, if we have c in feet/h, m in pounds, and E in pound*feet²/h² AugustO 11:30, 29 March 2012 (EDT)

I see - my apologies. I thought you had added the footnote in order to try and make the point above. I agree that in any sensible unit system the equation will work (assuming the theory is right of course).--CPalmer 11:32, 29 March 2012 (EDT)
Looks like MihailD received a lifetime block for this and related edits, so he'll be unable to explain or justify his comments. --JasperK 08:58, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
That's a pity! AugustO 09:38, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

We will, we will, we will

Generally I enjoy the great contribution of SamHB. My only rub: the royal we - we will dispel, we will show, we don't do. I don't think that this is the best way to phrase an encyclopedic article, and I'd like to see alternatives. For the moments, I just commented out some of the occurrences which in my opinion spoiled the fun of reading the article....

AugustO 09:38, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

It is a bit chatty. The first one could be rephrased "This article sets out to...". I have reworded two of the others, and the rest might possibly be omitted entirely.--CPalmer 09:44, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

I don't understand...

Why you guys destroyed a wonderful original piece of work by Mr. Schlafly. There are hundreds of books and web sites that explain relativity, why did you feel the need to reproduce that content here? --AlejandroH 16:18, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

Perhaps because they are right and he is wrong? AugustO 16:39, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
Aschlafly, you still haven't answered my reasonable questions abouts this subject. To be ignorant on a subject isn't that big a deal, but to willfully stay ignorant while lecturing about it, that is! AugustO 17:32, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

BTW, the wonderful original piece of work was not destroyed - you find it embedded in the text. A blanket reversion of the work of a couple of editors should be a no-no, please give reasons for reverting at least for each paragraph! And answer the questions! AugustO 17:42, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

Protection of the Article

Stated reason: (with reluctance, and repeated reversions; for now, post specific suggestions for edits on the talk page)

Aschlafly, this must be one of these definitions of irony, as I asked for specific reasons for your deletions of material. Isn't that censorship? BTW, you still haven't replied to the sections above, and frankly I'm starting to call your knowledge on this matter in question! Ignorance is not always bliss!

And if you are not willing to address the points made above by various contributors, are you at least willing to read and answer to specific suggestions for edits on the talk page? Or is this a sham to force-feed your view to the readers?

AugustO 18:39, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

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)
And what about the current entry? The fact is that E=mc2 is a perfectly valid equation demonstrating the equivalence of matter and energy and it has been thoroughly verified; the energy a piece of matter contains DOES equal its mass times c squared. This has been repeatedly demonstrated by experiments, which consistently show that the energy released by a reaction is equal within measuring limits to the overall mass lost. It's perfectly reasonable to reject any claim that this demonstrates the truth of moral relativism, atheism or anything else, but to criticise the equation itself as "meaningless" or "liberal claptrap" demonstrates no truth-seeking or integrity. E=mc2 is no more liberal than d=vt or 1+1=2. --SamCoulter 19:53, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
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)
But it isn't a general principle. It's a mathematical expression of matter-energy equivalence and it's perfectly valid. Whether or not it's ever been derived as a matter of logic or not is irrelevant because it's been repeatedly demonstrated to be true in the most meaningful manner possible: if you turn matter into energy the amount of energy that comes out is always equal to the lost mass times c squared. --SamCoulter 20:59, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
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)
Yes, it would be absolutely preposterous. In fact his energy would have increased by a number of foot-pounds equal to one pound times c2 in feet per second. --SamCoulter 21:11, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
To explain that further, his energy would have increased in proportion to his weight, not to the speed of light. If a person who weighed 150lb gained 1lb the energy contained in their mass would increase from 1.4467x1017 ft lb to 1.4564x1017 ft lb. --SamCoulter 21:39, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
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)
No, his energy for a fixed gain in weight will increase in proportion to his weight. In my example of a 150lb man gaining 1lb, his new energy content will be 0.6667% higher, as will his weight. c2 is just a constant. --SamCoulter 00:52, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
Andy seems to imagine that this energy should be immediately available for sports or doing work around the house, and that we should all be superheroes after having eaten a bar of chocolate. This is, of course, not so. The energy is still locked up in the mass, and it would require nuclear or particle reactions to convert even small parts of it into useful forms of energy. --FrederickT3 03:28, 31 March 2012 (EDT)

The lead focus of the entry was converted into a parade of hearsay rather than logical analysis. Then let's get factual: just answer a few questions. Shouldn't be difficult, as you are so insightful. AugustO 01:26, 31 March 2012 (EDT)

Of course this is hearsay - and so it should be. Conservapedia is an encyclopedia - a collection of established information cited from other sources. Hearsay may be inappropriate in court, but it is the lifeblood of an encyclopedia. Anything that is not 'hearsay' is personal opinion or original research, and should be reserved for articles prefixed 'Essay:'. --JasperK 08:23, 1 April 2012 (EDT)

Then again, heresy tends to be more reputable when it comes from a professional who has studied the issue for years, instead of a man who doesn't understand how food works. JackFerner 12:23, 2 April 2012 (EDT)

Bare links

I noticed that this edit removed publication information about the references. Personally, I think this information is useful for two reasons: it helps Conservapedia editors locate the references from other sources if (and when) the links go dead, and it helps who print out Conservapedia articles and wish to look up the references offline. (Of course, I'm not suggesting that the URLs be removed, but this could be in addition to the publication information). Of course, there may be perfectly good reasons for removing the publication information of which I am not aware, but I otherwise think that the publication information should be included again (and I plan to do this once the protection expires). GregG 23:17, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

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)

Niels Bohr

Andy, for how often you rail against the Nobel Prize I'm surprised that you would try and use a former winner as an authority to support your misguided assertion. DennisR 21:48, 1 April 2012 (EDT)

Even a broken clock (like the Nobel Prize) gets it right every once in a while!--Andy Schlafly 22:07, 1 April 2012 (EDT)
. As a general claim of equivalence between mass, energy and the speed of light, it was widely rejected at the time by the leading 20th century physicists, including Niels Bohr. Who were these physicists? And what said Niels Bohr? I couldn't find anything. In the famous Gedankenexperiment at Solvay, he accepted E=mc²! AugustO 02:14, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
And of course it isn't a "general claim of equivalence between mass, energy and the speed of light." It's a statement of equivalence between energy and matter. Andy seems to be obsessed with the idea that light is involved somehow, and that conflicts with his rather odd idea that the Bible forbids a unified theory. I can only wonder what he'll do if science comes up with a unified theory. Probably deny that too. --SamCoulter 02:16, 2 April 2012 (EDT)

Aschlafly, according to the information I found (Einstein and Bohr at the Solvay-conference), Niels Bohr accepted E=mc². So, a fact-tag was the only alternative to downright deleting the sentence: it allows you to bring up your sources! AugustO 02:31, 2 April 2012 (EDT)

I'd have been amazed if he hadn't. Bohr was on the British team for the Manhattan Project, and he wouldn't have been much use at nuclear weapon design if he didn't accept E=mc2. --SamCoulter 02:41, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
Aschlafly, you have a tendency to make up claims (As a general claim of equivalence between mass, energy and the speed of light, it was widely rejected at the time by the leading 20th century physicists, including Niels Bohr. , Undoubtedly many other experiments contradict the formula, and, yes, "suddenly" or "at that time" is a nuance of the Greek ἰδού). And when your bluff is called, you are miffed! AugustO 03:00, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
Protected "E=mc²": insertion of a fact tag instead of finding and adding a reference. That is ridiculous: there is no way of finding and adding a reference for this made-up "fact"!
It is, however, not very difficult to show that the fact was invented: just take a look into "Foundations of Quantum Physics I", a book written by Niels Bohr and Jorgen Kalckar. Here Bohr uses what he calls Einstein's relation without any trepidation! AugustO 09:00, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
Presumably, then, the relevant text should be changed to something like "it was widely rejected at the time by the leading 20th century physicists, although Niels Bohr later accepted it." and then add the citation. Or you could clarify with something like "the liberal Nobel Prizewinner Niels Bohr".--CPalmer 09:18, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
  • There is no reason to think that there was a time at which Niels Bohr didn't accept it!
  • Is there any source which shows that it was widely rejected at the time? Of course, there was the Deutsche Physik, but does this count?
  • That said: the {{fact}} tag was absolutely appropriate.
AugustO 09:44, 2 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
  • Einstein disagreed with Bohr regarding quantum mechanics. Could you provide a source that Bohr disagreed with Einstein on the theory of relativity? I can't find one!
  • As I said, the {{fact}} tag was absolutely appropriate, and I'll reinsert it, as I don't think that there are any sources to back-up your claim.
  • Furthermore, I have difficulties to believe that Lord Rutherford had problems with E=mc², he seemed to appreciate the liquid-drop-model of Gamov, Bohr, et al.
  • a general claim of equivalence between mass, energy and the speed of light: no one claims that the three are equivalent!

AugustO 11:22, 2 April 2012 (EDT)

First sentence

I've changed the introduction to something a bit more encyclopaedic. Please don't revert without discussing it first. Thanks. --SamCoulter 16:28, 2 April 2012 (EDT)

Political Pressure

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

More likely the fact that similar experiments as the one Cockcroft and Walton are performed by undergraduates in each department teaching physics around the world! AugustO 02:30, 3 April 2012 (EDT)

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)
It's entirely possible for someone who questions the validity of E=mc2 to pursue a career in science; scientists are encouraged to question the validity everything. However if they deny the validity of E=mc2 then a scientific career is indeed off-limits to them, for the same reason as it's off-limits to someone who denies that 1+1=2. The fact is, E=mc2. It's been verified time and time again. --SamCoulter 18:44, 3 April 2012 (EDT)

To talk about political pressure in this context is ridiculous. The conversion of Mass to Energy and vice versa and the validity of E=mc2 has been demonstrated experimentally so often(an early example is given in the main page) that to deny that the equation describes observed nature flies in the face of observation and is thus unscientific. To question its validity without hard experimental evidence or a sound theoretical argument (neither of which has been demonstrated) would simply be a matter of scientific (in)competance.Jloveday 15:16, 3 April 2012 (EDT)

  • Aschlafly, if you argue against E=mc² out of a position of (willful) ignorance, you won't be taken seriously. Unfortunately this is what you are doing, as your (non-) answer above is showing.
  • Criticism of E=mc² on ideological grounds just doesn't work, as the adherents of the Deutsche Physik found out in the early 1940s.
  • But obviously, the theory is under constant discussion, as is the concept of energy or mass.
AugustO 18:34, 3 April 2012 (EDT)

Matter-light relationship

Mr. Schafly, I think you are misunderstanding the nature of the relationship. To illustrate, I will give an example.

Suppose we have a map where 1 inch of distance on the map corresponds to 5 miles actual distance. If points A and B are located 2.5 inches apart on the map, we can compute the actual distance between them as follows:

In general, if the map distance between two points is and the actual distance between the points is , then the following formula is satisfied:

where is the conversion factor . The equation above does not relate distance to five or map distance to quintessence. Rather, it posits a direct relationship (or equivalence) between the map distance and the actual distance, related by a conversion factor.

Likewise, posits a direct relationship between mass and energy. It does not relate mass to the speed of light (or light itself), nor does the equation related light to energy. Rather, is a conversion factor, just like the was in our equation for computing actual distances from map distances. I hope this helps explain why some editors have concern with your statement of the relationship posited by . GregG 00:19, 4 April 2012 (EDT)

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 01:00, 4 April 2012 (EDT)
The equation postulates how mass and energy can be interchanged while conserving the total amount of mass energy. For example, according to the equation, a nuclear reaction that causes 1.0 kg of mass to be lost will produce 9.0 x 1016 J energy. The amount of energy produced by the loss of mass is proportional to the mass lost. It is the same sort of equivalence between the number of pounds you get at a currency exchange and the number of dollars you pay (which, come to think of it, is probably an even better analogy). GregG 01:13, 4 April 2012 (EDT)
(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)
Energy and mass have known meanings in THIS context! The equation tells us how much energy will be liberated by losing a set amount of mass, or how much energy (for example hard gamma rays) is required to create a set amount of mass. It is a valid equation. It doesn't matter what objections anyone has to it based on principle or logic; it's been tested and it's correct. This is getting pretty frustrating. --SamCoulter 01:56, 4 April 2012 (EDT)

Perhaps we should have two articles E=mc² (science) and E=mc² (new age): every sentence Aschlafly writes on this subjects shows that he knows so very little about the science involved - and has no interest to get informed any further. Instead his methods reminds me of homeopaths and other quacks advertising their craft by misrepresenting sources, cherry-picking evidence and generally repeating false statements over and over again despite of better knowledge. AugustO 02:05, 4 April 2012 (EDT)

A question

Mr Schlafly, you've said that this equation "purports" to describe the equivalence of matter and energy. The fact is, it's been repeatedly tested and it does describe the equivalence of matter and energy. However I get the feeling that there's some misunderstanding here. What, exactly, is your objection to E=mc2? Do you think it's incorrect - in which case go check the experimental data - or do you think it's being used to advance some sort of political agenda? I think we've reached a deadlock here and to make any progress on improving the article it would be helpful to know what you think is wrong with the equation. --SamCoulter 02:02, 4 April 2012 (EDT)

The problem is that it is a self-sustaining myth presented as "fact" by the same self-serving scientific establishment who have built an tautological edifice on nothing. It is designed to subtly indoctrinate children into the world of moral, social and scientific relativity by suggesting that "everything is relative".--DavidEdwards 17:03, 4 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
Andy, how do you explain the result of the Cockcroft- Walton experiment? --FrederickT3 01:42, 5 April 2012 (EDT)
A very good question! Aschlafly, you could try to answer it by responding to this section above! AugustO 02:01, 5 April 2012 (EDT)

Bohr disagreed with Einstein's 1905 paper

Aschlafly, do you have any source for this claim? It seems to be factual incorrect. AugustO 09:27, 5 April 2012 (EDT)

I looked into it and for me it is an ad-hoc fabrication to make a point - even the time-line doesn't work out: a trustworthy encyclopedia shouldn't work this way! AugustO 12:58, 5 April 2012 (EDT)

My dad's grandfather Charles Lane Poor also disagreed with this paper, although I think he eventually came around once enough evidence piled up for it. --Ed Poor Talk 13:36, 9 June 2012 (EDT)
Why also? There is no evidence that Bohr disagreed with the paper (therefore the statement about Bohr is factually incorrect, i.e., false) and the fabrication was removed from the article. AugustO 04:18, 10 June 2012 (EDT)
Bohr and Einstein, though friends, had a famous debate about the new theories. If it was not about the particular 1905 paper you have in mind, then what were the Bohr–Einstein debates about? --Ed Poor Talk 10:22, 11 June 2012 (EDT)
They had famous debates about quantum mechanics, which has nothing to do with the 1905 paper. I'm not aware of any debates about relativity. Can you provide a reference? --FrederickT3 11:09, 11 June 2012 (EDT)
Indeed, it is well known that Bohr and Einstein discussed quantum-mechanics - here is Niels Bohr's own account of these discussions: Discussions with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics. Please keep in mind that Bohr was just 20 years old in 1905 - and only decided that year to drop philosophy and take up physics! If you can find any debate of Bohr and Einstein on purely relativistic matters, that will come as a surprise. AugustO 15:41, 11 June 2012 (EDT)

Some questions

I still don't understand why (a) Andy Schlafly doesn't know the difference between gravitational mass and inertial mass and (b) he seems obsessed over the speed of light in the equation. The m in the equation is inertial mass! As others have stated, when talking about gravitational mass, you need to consider general relativity.What E=mc^2 says is that mass is just a form of energy. It says nothing about the unification of electromagnetism and gravity (it doesn't even say anything about gravity!). Moreover, do you, Andy Schlafly, understand that electromagnetism is not the only theory that has c as a special value? All massless particles travel at the speed of light. In GR, gravity travels at the speed of light.

If you deny it, how do you account for changes in mass in nuclear reactions? How do you account for electron-positron annihilation as well as dozens of other examples of reactions that don't conserve mass in particle physics?

And by the way, as has been pointed out, if you deny special relativity, you have to reject Maxwell's equations. Are they a liberal conspiracy as well? --AndyFrankinson 20:34, 5 April 2012 (EDT)

"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)
Your first point: It's good that we all agree that inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same thing. (This is the fundamental hypothesis of general relativity, by the way.) But the term "mass" always means "inertial mass". Gravity never appears anywhere in special relativity. Even if Newton's constant of universal gravitation ("G") were zero, that is, we lived in a hypothetical universe in which there is no gravity, special relativity, the Lorentz transform, and E=mc^2 would still be true. There should be no mention of gravity anywhere in the article. But the second sentence of the article refers to "mass (i.e., gravity)". Please take that out. I would do it myself, but I'd get it wrong, since I don't know what point you were trying to make.
Your second point: That chemical reactions that cause energy to be released result in a reduction of the final mass most certainly is astounding. No one had ever seen this, or suspected it, before E=mc^2, and it is doubtful that anyone has seen it to this day, since the effect is so small for chemical reactions. The phenomenon is known only because we know that E=mc^2 is true.
Your third point: Yes, Maxwell's equations were developed decades before relativity, and survived just fine before anyone suspected that E=mc^2. Your claimed "assertion that people 'have to reject Maxwell's equations' based on relativity" is not made by anyone. It's the denial of relativity that would necessitate a denial of Maxwell's equations. Maxwell's equations imply relativity, though Maxwell didn't realize it. In fact, it was an analysis of Maxwell's equations, not the Michelson-Morley experiment, that led to relativity. If we lived in a hypothetical universe in which there were no electric or magnetic forces, relativity would still be true.
JudyJ 23:36, 5 April 2012 (EDT)
You didn't respond to my point about Arthur Eddington, who was the biggest promoter of the Theory of Relativity in the English world.
The reason is that has nothing to do with E=mc^2. Your point about Eddington was presumably referring to the alpha=1/137 business, right? I am aware of that. It was in the late 1930's. Would you like me to write an article about it? I'd be glad to do so. Eddington's promotion of relativity in England was in the 1920's, after the eclipse (his book was in 1923), and was about general relativity. E=mc^2 is in special relativity, and was widely accepted by then. JudyJ 17:59, 7 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
Of course it's been based on meaningful physical observations. To be more precise, it's based on repeated experiments where the relation between the observed mass loss and the observed energy release is E=mc2. I really don't know what your problem is, but to challenge the validity of something as thoroughly confirmed as E=mc2 is not going to get you anywhere. The equation is valid. --SamCoulter 03:17, 6 April 2012 (EDT)
My comments were aimed at people who accept that both mathematical theory and experimental observations have a role to play, and that they complement each other. There is no cart and no horse. Relativity, like Newtonian mechanics, involves both elegant mathematics and observation, and the observations buttress the theory very well. It's possible for people to get carried away with the mathematics, as Eddington did with the 137 business, but that hasn't happened with relativity. And yes, if you don't accept relativity, you can't make Maxwell's equations work correctly, though Maxwell didn't realize that at the time. It was only later that Lorentz, Poincare, and Einstein fixed that. JudyJ 17:59, 7 April 2012 (EDT)

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. Aschlafy, it may not come as a surprise, but you are wrong again:

  • 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 15:40, 6 April 2012 (EDT)

Answer to the above

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)

"This formula cannot be demonstrated mathematically"--It is more correct to say that the formula cannot be mathematically derived from first principles (in the way that Kepler's laws can be derived from Newton's law of universal gravitation) rather than that the formula cannot be demonstrated mathematically. Indeed, experimental observation reveals that the added energy is proportional to the mass lost in a linear fashion, with as the slope. These are the same sorts of phyiscal observations that allow you to deduce laws like (apply varying amounts of force to a mass and see what the resulting acceleration is). GregG 18:38, 8 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
Could you please give us some references to these failed attempts? --FrederickT3 19:22, 8 April 2012 (EDT)

This took only one search on the internet: 7 failed attempts to prove E=mc2.--Andy Schlafly 23:27, 8 April 2012 (EDT)
Aschlafly, your reading of Cockcroft lecture is insufficient. He writes: It was obvious then that lithium was being disintegrated into two α-particles with a total energy release of 17.2 million volts. This energy could be provided by a diminution of mass of 0.0184 mass units, so he thinks that energy can be provided by decreasing the mass of an object. And if you do a little math, you can see for yourself that he uses Einstein's formula to calculate the amount.
As for the seven failed attempts: Even if there were mathematical errors in the papers as your "source" suggests, it is not clear that they render the calculations invalid!
I'm impressed which sources you are willing to ignore, and which seem to be absolutely acceptable,,,
AugustO 02:29, 9 April 2012 (EDT)
I assume you've read the book and not just that chronology, Andy? Looks like an interesting read, even though the author is a professor in liberal Vermont and has written a textbook on special relativity. Incidentally, gives access to a few pages of "Einstein's mistakes". Let me quote from page 330: "His (Einstein's) first derivations of this equation, although flawed, convinced physicists that the energy-mass relation ought to be of general validity. In 1905, Einstein did not have available the mathematical tensor techniques needed for a correct derivation of this formula, but he instigated the theoretical investigations that later led von Laue and Klein to the correct derivation." Could you explain in more detail why you think the attempts failed? Von Laue and Klein's attempts would be particularly interesting, because your reference claims they were correct. --FrederickT3 15:28, 9 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
Aschlafly, have you read the paper? I doubt it, as your statement isn't entirely correct. AugustO 16:06, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
You mean the paper by Hecht (2011)? That's also interesting. Let me quote from the Conclusions (I happen to have access to the paper): "Einstein produced about 18 virtuoso derivations and demonstrations all aimed at establishing the mass-energy principle. We have shown that although each of them gave evidence for the applicability of E=mc^2 to a particular set of circumstances, no one derivation, or collection of them taken together, succeeded in providing a definitive proof of its complete generality. That should not be surprising because the same situation occurs, for example, with F=ma, which is a different kind of relation than E0=mc2. Even so, 300 years of successful theoretical work have not proven the correctness of F=ma." ... "That aside, countless experiments from Cockcroft and Walton63 to Rainville et al.64 have, with increasing accuracy, confirmed that E0=mc2 is one of the greatest insights of the 20th century." But maybe that's not the paper you mean? --FrederickT3 17:18, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
And that doesn't sound like someone who actually read the paper! Drawing your conclusions just from your interpretation of the abstract (and wishful thinking) doesn't make a compelling argument. AugustO 02:01, 12 April 2012 (EDT)
How does Asclafly explain electron-positron annihilation? How do you explain that quantum electrodynamics (which is a relativistic theory) is the most accurately tested theory in physics? What's the theoretical basis for the spin of the electron if you deny SR? And are you telling me that Maxwell's equations are invariant under the Galilean transformations? AndyFrankinson 20:13, 18 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
You're getting a bit muddled here. One valid counterexample can deliver a fatal, knockdown blow to a purely philosophical / logical argument. Scientific theories (and their corresponding mathematical equations), however, are judged on the width and depth of their explanatory power, rather than on their ability to hold true in all cases. This is why we can still use Newton's equations to describe the motion of everything we can reasonably expect to bump into in everyday life. They might not hold true in all cases, but they still have sufficient explanatory bite to be very, very useful.
If you wish to pursue this line of reasoning, then you'll have to reject Newton's equations because of the instances where they fall down and fail to make accurate predictions. I'm pretty sure that you don't want to do that. --JohanZ 20:23, 19 April 2012 (EDT)
Andy, I think you are underestimating both the scientific savvy and the inquisitiveness of the contributors here. First, as you well know, but presumably don't like, those "counterexamples" are all wrong, and probably everyone here, except you, knows it. They have been refuted on the "rebuttal" page. Second, and this is my more important point, your claim that "few people are interested in reviewing more precise data" is not correct. I would be interested in reviewing such data, as would nearly everyone else here. Please post the data. Don't bother with the full observed precession of 5600 (or whatever) seconds relative to the old equinoctial frame, or 574 seconds with the new celestial frame. However that is calculated, the precession, after accounting for all the usual factors like gravitational effects of other planets and solar oblateness, is supposed to be 42.98 seconds or so. Please give a citation for the data showing that the GR figure is wrong. This argument has gone on for too long. SamHB 22:17, 19 April 2012 (EDT)

Robert Dicke

  • Aschlafly, have you any reason to believe that R. Dicke had any problem with the special theory of relativity?
  • Your reverence for R. Dicke is understandable, but surprising in light of your statement about the equivalence principle: 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. R. Dicke took quite an effort to perform experiments on this hair-splitting jargon of doubtful significance.

AugustO 00:12, 14 April 2012 (EDT)

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)
Robert Dicke's criticism of the general theory of relativity may be well known, but we are here firmly in the realm of the special theory of relativity. And he didn't have problems with that one - so why have you? Are you a more able physicist than Robert Dicke? AugustO 09:21, 19 April 2012 (EDT)

Speed and Kinetic Energy of Relativistic Electrons

William Bertozzi performed some experiments in 1964 to exemplify the effects of the theory of special relativity. W. Bertozzi undertook the effort to measure the values involved as directly as possible. He writes:

In the past few decades, the successful operation of multi-MeV accelerators and the planning and interpretations of many high-energy physics experiments have affirmed and illustrated the results of special relativity. However, because these efforts generally involved many other concepts, the relations of relativity are not demonstrable from the data in a simple quantitative manner. The purpose of this paper is to describe an experiment that was performed to help fill the need for such simple and direct data for the teaching of relativity. (p. 551)

And from the concluding remarks:

The Newtonian relation, usually adequate for the description of the motion of bodies at very low speeds, is obviously in disagreement with this high-speed data. Equally apparent is the conformity of the experimental data to the Einstein relation with its prediction of a limiting speed.

So, these experiments seem to be performed with Aschlafly in mind! Perhaps Aschlafly can explain the data in a non-relativistic way (via quantum dynamics, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or even nuance of ἰδού?) But there are even experiments for undergraduates which show relativistic effects:

We have developed an undergraduate laboratory experiment to make independent measurements of the momentum and kinetic energy of relativistic electrons from a \beta -source. The momentum measurements are made with a magnetic spectrometer and a silicon surface-barrier detector is used to measure the kinetic energy. A plot of the kinetic energy as a function of momentum compared to the classical and relativistic predictions clearly shows the relativistic nature of the electrons. Accurate values for the rest mass of the electron and the speed of light are also extracted from the data. Robert E. Marvel, Michael F. Vineyard

AugustO 15:02, 13 April 2012 (EDT)

Then why hasn't William Bertozzi won a Nobel Prize for this work?--Andy Schlafly 21:11, 13 April 2012 (EDT)
Why should he? It is a relatively simple demonstration of a basic principle. Do you intend to ignore everyone who didn't get a Nobel prize? AugustO 23:58, 13 April 2012 (EDT)
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)
I find it fascinating how you on the one hand use the Nobel Prize as a source of authority when it hasn't been awarded for things you don't believe in and on the other hand berate the Nobel Prize as nothing more than liberal claptrap when it hasn't been awarded for things you do believe in. DVMRoberts 14:52, 14 April 2012 (EDT)
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)

A reminder

Aschlafly, could you please answer the questions in the questions in the section above: A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton ?

I'm interested in your interpretation of their results. (But please take into consideration that a chemical reaction releases perhaps the 1,000,000th part of the energy per unit of mass as the reaction observed by Cockcroft and Walton.)

AugustO 01:28, 25 April 2012 (EDT)

Does Andy Schlafly Understand what E=mc^2 means?

Aschlafly, do you know what E=mc^2 means? You say that "E=mc² is a meaningless, almost nonsensical, statement that purports to relate all matter to light." No. What it says is that matter is just another form of energy. That's it! It says nothing about unification of electromagnetism and gravity. Moreover, the m in the equation is inertial mass, not gravitational mass! If you look at any decent book on SR, it is the inertial mass that appears in the equations of relativistic energy-momentum. AndyFrankinson 09:42, 27 April 2012 (EDT)

Open questions

Many questions in the sections above are still unanswered and I'm especially waiting for Aschlafly to answer those in the section A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft¹ and Walton.

Aschlafly, could you at least provide me with your interpretation of the bolded sentence of Cockcroft's lecture: It was obvious then that lithium was being disintegrated into two α-particles with a total energy release of 17.2 million volts. This energy could be provided by a diminution of mass of 0.0184 mass units? Feel free to show your calculations!

AugustO 14:03, 5 May 2012 (EDT)

Many leading scientists ...

...(including Lord Rutherford and Princeton Physics Professor Robert Dicke) rejected the Theory of Relativity.

This article is about a result of the special theory of relativity.

  • Robert Dicke had no problems with the special theory, he proposed an alternative to the general theory. Or do you have a source where he attacked the special theory?
  • Ernest Rutherford thought that it was not beautiful, but he didn't reject the theory. Or do you have a source where he attacked theory for any other reason than being not beautiful?

Without any source, the statement in the article is meaningless - it's more a reflection of the opinion of the main author of the piece and is as convincing as a sentence like Sir Isaac Newton wouldn't have liked the theory neither.

AugustO 08:12, 10 May 2012 (EDT)

Let's not dilute the truth here, OK?

Well, the truth is that more than 99% of all today's physics think that this formula is a marvel to behold. That this formula is liberal claptrap is only your personal opinion, Aschlafly. You haven't given any contemporary source to back this up. Are we expected to take your personal insights for the truth? I'm willing to do so only if you are able to present these insights in a comprehensible way, simply making a statement - and then repeating it over and over again - is not enough. AugustO 03:59, 25 June 2012 (EDT)

Agreed, let's not dilute the truth. E=MC2 is experimentally proven every time you look at the sun or any stars, it's proven every time an atom splits in a reactor to generate heat that in turn makes steam to spin a turbine and make electricity. I'm guessing the Sun being the center of the solar system is also "liberal claptrap" too. The part that I think is so funny is that everyone here is debating the topic so much when there probably isn't a single person on earth that would turn to Conservapedia for an explanation of anything even remotely scientific. Ntyson 17:45, 14 August 2012 (EDT)