Thursday, June 21, 2012

E=MC2 ... Let's Have Little Fun!

Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by the Official A to Z Challenge Website. My name is Stephen Tremp and I post here every 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month with something fun, different, and exciting in the world of science.

Today I thought we’d have a little fun with a Mass to Energy Calculator and get a peek into Einstein’s famous equation E=mc². According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, matter and energy are simply different forms of the same thing. Energy can be turned into matter, and matter back into energy. Pretty cool stuff. But wait, there's more!

Energy is equal to matter times the speed of light squared. We don't have space to go into what this means, but think that multiplying a small unit of mass by 186,000 miles a second or 700 million miles an hour. It doesn't take an Einstein to make the connection this is a very powerful number.

Example: If you consider all the energy in the full kilogram of water, which contains hydrogen and oxygen atoms, Einstein's formula tells us the amount of energy this mass would be equivalent to is the total energy close to 10 million gallons of gasoline. Now that's a lot of energy!

Fun Facts: Check out this Mass To Energy Calculator (you’ll have to scroll down a bit) to show the amount of energy if a particular quantity of matter were completely converted to energy. For example, one pound of mass has the potential to release almost 10 megatons of TNT. 100 pounds = 974 megatons of TNT (a megaton is one million tons).

Take a few moments and plug is some numbers. You can quickly begin to see the awesome and amazing power available in our world.

Question: Should we pursue methods to convert mass to energy more efficiently (current methods are coal, oil, nuclear plants)? Or do recent events in Japan tell us we should proceed with caution or stop for a while?

If you feel this blog is worthy, please select the appropriate icon below such as Twitter. And as always, thanks for stopping by and supporting the A to Z Challenge Website throughout the year!

Stephen Tremp, author of BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING, blogs at Breakthrough Blogs. Stop by and say hello. And feel free to Tweet this post if you think it is worthy.


Elise Fallson said...

The converter is so fun!

52 kilograms converts to 1.1170e+3 megatons of TNT! That is so cool! :D

Karen Baldwin said...

Ah...makes more sense now. Thanks.

Tina said...

I'm married to The Engineer whose passion is alternate energy. He'd say yes, proceed, but WIND, SUN, and falling water. I love my nerd. Won free trip to Vegas. Spent an entire day at the Hoover Dam. I have solar panels on my roof, we collect rain water (for our aquaponics). There's an almost done electric car in my garage that used to be a Toyota Paseo.
Or just harness the collective anger of a million stay-at-home moms who wake up on the morning after their 20th wedding anniversary and their fifteen year old did NOT do the dishes as promised so now she'll have to enforce the no video games today rule. Sigh.

Good stuff, Stephen. I like your series.

Tina @ Life is Good
Post A-Z Road trip!

Unknown said...

Once we harness dark matter we're sorted. The converter is kind of worrying when you start piling in the numbers. That's a hell of a lot of energy ...

T. Powell Coltrin said...

So cool. So cool.

You know what? Even though this isn't your own blog, when I saw the title in my feed, I thought that has to be Stephen.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Agree with Tina - wind, sun, and water are in abundance. Let's use them.

Arlee Bird said...

You've convinced me. I'm going to fill my gas tank with water this morning. I'm going to save a bundle of money.

Seriously though, I think we need to keep researching all forms. Safe nuclear energy is probably the most practical solution to the mega-energy needs, but we need to use as many naturally available energy sources as we can tap into.

Tossing It Out

Anonymous said...

I'm on board with the alternate energy movement. I used to work for GE and it was fun navigating their internal and external Web sites and seeing all the alternate energy programs in R&D stages.

We have the ability to dream and being to market such amazing renewable and alternative energy sources. Unfortunately, special interest groups and lobbyists will stop many of these projects dead in their tracks though.

JoJo said...

You blinded me with science! I'm absolutely against nuclear energy, but i'm not crazy about oil and coal. What about solar and wind?

cleemckenzie said...

Mass to energy gets my vote. I believe we're going to need a lot of creative ways to generate energy in the future.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm in full support of the weird billionaires that want to mine asteroids.

Rob Z Tobor said...

I think we worry too much about the over use of fossil fuels because I am sure there is more than enough to get us to Armageddon and the end of the world. We will have fire and heat in abundance then

Anonymous said...

JoJo, that's still one of my favorite songs and videos!

C. Lee, just wait until all the Third World and developing countries need energy on scales they've never had.

Andrew, buy stock now.

Rob, you have a valid point.

Jo said...

I would just like to point out that housewives have been using solar energy for years (hanging out the wash).

People are so backward thinking. A local asparagus farmer has to leave a field fallow for 20 years. He tried to get permission to allow the installation of solar panels but his local council haven't granted such permission, and are unlikely to do so I believe.

Nicole said...

I think that the use of natural sources of energy would reduce the need to convert mass to energy, regardless of whether it can be done efficiently or not -- but on the flip side, I think that we should use natural resources more wisely, so as to not abuse them or cause more harm to the earth.

The same can be seen in the agricultural industries, where lots of energy is used to manufacture artificial food and mass produce what already grows on land, through genetic engineering.

Moderation is important...but we shouldn't count out natural resources in favor of other methods of producing energy.

Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter


Excellently written Stephen even I could understand it.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee and Steve .. good post - we are at a turning point in human existence in so many ways ... and who know where each experiment, each decision takes us .. that law of unintended consequences is unsettling ..

Great information though - thanks - Hilary