Time, Space and the Universe as we know it – Part 8 Energy and Matter

With all it’s vastness and complexity it’s taken a long time for humans to reach the understanding that we have of the universe that we have. This is the story of evolving understanding and how simplicity gives way to incredible truth’s that seems to sit at odds with how we think life should be… and we’ve only just begun our journey of understanding.

Energy and Matter

This post looks at energy and matter and how they’re connected. This links in with Einsteins E=MC2 formula and explains a bit on what it’s about as this formula is what connects energy and matter together.

It’s important to note that E=MC2 is not just about nuclear power – this applies to all matter and the energy within it. Einstein did not invent or come up with E=MC2 to create nuclear weapons. What this is purely about is about relativity connects energy and matter together. E=MC2 was also not in Einstein’s original work on relativity – it came sometime later.

What the equation is stating that the speed of light (c) is a conversion factor for the energy in matter. So the energy in matter (E) is equal to the mass of the object (M) times the speed of light squared. The speed of light is a big number as we’ve seen – nearly 3 million metres per second. What we get from this is that by using the speed of light squared there’s a lot of energy in matter.

Basically there’s a huge amount of energy in matter.

Energy Conversion

The way we use energy to release matter on Earth is very inefficient. Typically chemical reasons like burning actually releases very little of the energy in matter. As an example, nuclear power has about a 1% conversion rate for energy / matter – chemical reaction are millions of times less efficient.

The principle of E=MC2 though is that if we burn some wood and then collect all the smoke, everything that’s given off and measure the energy given out in heat and used or wasted. If we measure all of that the mass lost times the speed of light squared will equal the energy given out.

That’s all it’s saying.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The same applies to nuclear reactors and the Sun which also burns energy quite inefficiently. The Sun is burning around 4 millions tonnes of hydrogen every second and converting that to Helium through fusion the process that keeps the Sun burning. It’s still quite an inefficient process but it’s far greater than our nuclear reactions on Earth.

The principle is the same though – the energy given out equals the mass times the speed of light squared.

The only way we currently know of that will obtain 100% of the energy from matter is if matter is subjected to anti-matter. This is matter where the charge embedded within the atoms is opposite to that or ‘normal’ matter. In this case it would only need a raisin sized piece of matter to power a large city for a day. That’s how much energy is in matter.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Nature of the Universe

I hope these posts have helped a little in understanding the of the universe, it’s amazing to think about where we came from and what we understand now and we’re only just starting out in our journey of understanding.

These are a heavily simplified set of facts there’s far more out there to find out about and I’m just coming to grips with this myself. I just wanted to share a piece of this knowledge which I find amazing.

So when it’s said that the universe and people being made of energy, of time and space being flexible quantities and weird thing like that – there’s nothing to say that they’re not taking things out of context. But it’s got at least a grain of truth.

© Simon Farnell 2013 – 2023

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