Holy Church of the Absurd Scientific Tao

The Holy Church of the Absurd Scientific Tao TM

E = mc2 ?

Einstein has said that all of the consequences of special relativity can be derived from examination of the Lorentz transformations.

These transformations, and hence special relativity, lead to different physical predictions than Newtonian mechanics1 when relative velocities approach the speed of light. The speed of light is so much larger than anything humans encounter that some of the effects predicted by relativity are initially counter-intuitive:

  • Time dilation – the time lapse between two events is not invariant from one observer to another, but is dependent on the relative speeds of the observers' reference frames (e.g., the twin paradox which concerns a twin who flies off in a spaceship traveling near the speed of light and returns to discover that his or her twin sibling has aged much more).
  • Relativity of simultaneity – two events happening in two different locations that occur simultaneously in the reference frame of one inertial observer, may occur non-simultaneously in the reference frame of another inertial observer (lack of absolute simultaneity).
  • Lorentz contraction – the dimensions (e.g., length) of an object as measured by one observer may be smaller than the results of measurements of the same object made by another observer (e.g., the ladder paradox involves a long ladder traveling near the speed of light and being contained within a smaller garage).
  • Composition of velocities – velocities (and speeds) do not simply, for example if a rocket is moving at a missile at 2/3 of the speed of light relative to the rocket, the missile does not exceed the speed of light relative to the observer. (In this example, the observer would see the missile travel with a speed of 12/13 the speed of light.)
  • Inertia and momentum – as an object's speed approaches the speed of light from an observer's point of view, its mass appears to increase thereby making it more and more difficult to accelerate it from within the observer's frame of reference.
  • Equivalence of mass and energy, E = mc2 – The energy content of an object at rest with mass m equals mc2. Conservation of energy implies that in any reaction a decrease of the sum of the masses of particles must be accompanied by an increase in kinetic energies of the particles after the reaction. Similarly, the mass of an object can be increased by taking in kinetic energies.
Albert Enstein

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein-

March 14, 1879–April 18, 1955) was a German-born Swiss-American theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time. He is often regarded as the father of modern physics. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

His many contributions to physics include the special and general theories of relativity, the founding of relativistic cosmology, the first post-Newtonian expansion, explaining the perihelion advance of Mercury, prediction of the deflection of light by gravity and gravitational lensing, the first fluctuation dissipation theorem which explained the Brownian movement of molecules, the photon theory and wave-particle duality, the quantum theory of atomic motion in solids, the zero-point energy concept, the semi classical version of the Schrödinger equation, and the quantum theory of a monatomic gas which predicted Bose–Einstein condensation.

Einstein published more than 300 scientific and over 150 non-scientific works.  Einstein additionally wrote and commentated prolifically on numerous philosophical and political issues.