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Understand E=MC2; A beginners guide to Theoretical Science ★

Updated on November 9, 2009

E=MC2 as I understand it

E=MC2, so what is it?

Well basically E is energy which equals Mass (of matter, an object) times the speed of light squared. Easy right? Ha I don't think so!

My understanding of this most famous of equations is that it represents the relationship between matter and energy, these things are connected and even the same thing in different states. This understanding allowed the atom to be split, in doing so massive energy was released. Originally it was hoped that this access to energy would improve the lives of everyone here on planet earth. Sadly it was used as a weapon instead, bloody governments!

For the longest time my question was: if nothing even light can escape a black hole does that mean that light is matter. If the gravity of a black hole can effect light it must have some kind of mass to be effected, implying that it is matter.

Looking at this equation again got me thinking, duh of course it is! Energy equals mass (times the speed of light squared), light is energy thus it would have mass if that energy could be converted to mass instead of its current state of energy.

The funny thing is that the speed of light is not constant, the standard measurement used is the speed of light in the vacuum of space. When moving through different mediums the speed of light can be slowed down.

If you have followed me this far I would like to challenge a common teaching. The teaching is that nothing can travel faster then light, ermmm well one thing must actually..... the expansion of the universe itself, otherwise light would be everywhere simultaneously and only really traveling out into the void.

If I haven't totally blown you away with that last tid bit lets see if we can understand this idea of time relative to speed. You may have heard it said that if you travelled near the speed of light say to another planet and returned the time it took you would be less in comparison to the time passed here on earth. I spent ages trying to get my head around this one, it seems kinda hard to believe in some respects. The thing I wasn't getting was to do with that relationship between mass and speed (or energy). We are moving through time right? We are also moving through space right? (unless we can literally sit still, on this planet that is always moving and spinning you are never really still).

The rate that we are moving through these mediums is always balanced. If the speed we are traveling through space speeds up our rate of travel through time must slow down to maintain a constant over all speed. I have to assume that if I could sit totally still in space, say on my space ship, my rate of movement through time would have to increase to its very limit. Assuming my body and space ship could handle that velocity of speed in time would I have a time machine? Maybe the science boffins need to get on it!

I hope that I have helped you to get your head around some of this science stuff! If you enjoyed it and feel that now you could rub shoulders with the likes of Albert Einstein leave a comment and let me know! If you think some of your friends would like to increase their understanding of this theoretical science feel free to pass this page on to em!


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    • mrpopo profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Well you wouldn't have a time machine... you'd just "skip" time.

      Have you heard the twin paradox? There's a pair of twins, and one of them is a pilot. After flying for a long time, the pilot twin is a lot younger than the other twin. He hasn't travelled back in time or anything, he's just experienced less time.

      In theory, if there's a particle that travels faster than the speed of light, it would go backwards in time. There are a lot of paradoxes with this though. Read up on tachyons if you like (they're hypothetical, of course).

      I enjoyed the Hub kirsten, thumbs up!

    • Winterfate profile image

      Darrin Perez 

      9 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Very interesting. I'm more of a biologist myself, but I really like the way you explain this subject. Not to mention, relativity is a very fascinating subject. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Interesting topic here. And you get a CUTE PIC AWARD for your hub pic!

    • kirstenblog profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from London UK

      My understanding of worm holes is that they are related to the same theories as black holes, science says that matter can neither be created or destroyed so what happens to the matter that goes into a black hole and then the black hole collapses? It seems that worm holes are one way of accounting for this 'loss of matter'. Another theory that accounts for this lost matter is to do with the different dimensions, that the matter is transported to another dimension of existence, this theory also supports our limited understanding of the nature of gravity. Gravity is a very weak force, my puny human legs can for a second defy gravity when I jump! Parallels can explain gravity being so weak by assuming that its real source is in a different dimension, meaning that it is actually quite strong and is effecting us across the dimensions. This stuff is getting pretty mind bending! The problem is with making the science of the very small work with the science of the very big. I can in a very basic sense get string theory, black holes and gravity but making it all jell is tough! And don't get me started on absolute zero! I could go on and on lol!

    • kirstenblog profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from London UK

      awww thanks guys :) I find attempting to understand this stuff a great hobby and there are quite a few shows that come on here in the UK that really help make it accessible, one of the scientist presenters makes it sexy baby! Oh and he is a cutie as well (so says a married woman, tut tut) :D Ha Ha

      Gotta find his email so I can tell him so! lol (btw his name is Brian Cox).

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      9 years ago from Olney

      I love this as Physics are my pet subject. You have explained it in layman's speak. Good job.

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You really are quite a thinker, Kirsten! I'll admit, physics hasn't been one of my strong suits, but time will always play a role. One of the things that could play a vital role in your theory are worm holes. The time it takes to travel will surely be shortened drastically in this instance.

      It's great to hear from you again! I hope to see you around!


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