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# Misconceptions of E=MC^2

Author Topic:   Misconceptions of E=MC^2
pelican
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Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007

 Message 1 of 243 (451943) 01-29-2008 10:20 AM

I have no misconceptions of E=MC2. I do not dispute it's authenticity. What I do dispute is others conceptions of what it actually means. I am neither scientist, evolutionist or creationist and for this reason, I have chosen to start it here in the coffee house.

The only expertise I have is year 12 maths. However, I do have experience in misconceptions and the meaning of words. Therefore for easier understanding I will put the mathematical theory into words.
E=MC2 means "Energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light multiplied by the speed of light.

For the sake of clarity I will start with one point that is misunderstood by some on this forum.
I maintain this equasion is a theory and as such has not been proved.
Is this true?

Edited by Admin, : Modify title.

 Replies to this message: Message 2 by Chiroptera, posted 01-29-2008 10:36 AM pelican has responded Message 4 by Percy, posted 01-29-2008 10:50 AM pelican has responded Message 6 by Modulous, posted 01-29-2008 11:11 AM pelican has responded Message 221 by pelican, posted 02-04-2008 10:16 PM pelican has not yet responded

Chiroptera
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 Message 2 of 243 (451952) 01-29-2008 10:36 AM Reply to: Message 1 by pelican01-29-2008 10:20 AM

 I maintain this equasion is a theory and as such has not been proved.

It depends on what you mean by "proven". A brazillion experiments have been performed on this, and it has been verified in all of these. In science, that counts as "proven".

Oh, yeah, it's a theory, too. In fact, being in the form of a concise equation, we might even call it a law.

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter;
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters:
A choice of cancer or polio. -- The Rolling Stones

 This message is a reply to: Message 1 by pelican, posted 01-29-2008 10:20 AM pelican has responded

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Director
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 Message 3 of 243 (451963) 01-29-2008 10:44 AM

Thread moved here from the Coffee House forum.

Percy
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 Message 4 of 243 (451966) 01-29-2008 10:50 AM Reply to: Message 1 by pelican01-29-2008 10:20 AM

Hi Heinrik,

Chiroptera gave the right answer, but I want to offer a little more clarification.

Chiroptera put the word "proven" between quotes, and he did so because when scientists talking about science use the word "proven" they do not mean it in the same sense as laypeople. Laypeople tend to think of the word "proven" as meaning 100% certainty, but all "proven" means within science is that the idea is supported by sufficient evidence that it has formed a consensus of acceptance within relevant scientific circles. The acceptance is granted provisionally and only until such time as new evidence or improved insight indicates a change is required.

So when a scientist says that E=mc2 has been proven, all he means is that the accuracy of the equation is supported by a great deal of empirical evidence.

--Percy

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Chiroptera
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 Message 5 of 243 (451968) 01-29-2008 10:52 AM Reply to: Message 4 by Percy01-29-2008 10:50 AM

 Laypeople tend to think of the word "proven" as meaning 100% certainty....

And one has to ask, what in the real world is ever known with 100% certainty? One can state that something is not proven unless it is 100% certain, but then the word "proof" has no practical meaning in the real world.

Edited by Chiroptera, : typo

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter;
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters:
A choice of cancer or polio. -- The Rolling Stones

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Modulous
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 Message 6 of 243 (451978) 01-29-2008 11:11 AM Reply to: Message 1 by pelican01-29-2008 10:20 AM

 For the sake of clarity I will start with one point that is misunderstood by some on this forum.I maintain this equasion is a theory and as such has not been proved.Is this true?

It actually emerges out converting the Lorentz transformation and Newton's laws to take relativity into account. Relativity is the theory, the equation is just some maths resulting from the theory. It is more confirmed than:

W = 1\2 mv2

The above is not a theory, and yet we can use this maths, and associated maths to get to the moon: so we can be confident that it is true as a general description of our local universe. The normal way of wording this is that W = Fd, but using F = ma we can show that W = 1\2 mv 2.

Einstein's modifications to this formula is:

`            MC2W   =  -------------   - MC2       (1-(V2\C2))1/2`

With a little more maths work we get to

E = W + MC2

So even when W=0, something will have the energy of MC2.

This is essentially a prediction of Relativity, and it provides a wonderful way to test the theory. If the description of the way the universe works as developed out of the mathematics of the theory then the theory is confirmed as being a useful description of at least part of our universe.

They tested it, the description holds. Newton's description isn't as accurate, which is only practically detectable at particularly large values of v. Smaller values require much more sensitive equipment to detect any discrepancy.

It is a modified law, not a theory. It was modified using ideas derived from theory. If the theory was right, those modifications should provide a more accurate description of the universe and they do. This is science, it can never prove the theory is true, it can only become strongly supported by evidence or falsified by it.

No laws of nature have been proven true, and Einstein's modifications of classical equations is no exception. They are mathematical representations of our observations. The wonderful thing about Einstein's equations is that they came out of theory first, rather than observation with later theories trying to explain them. The fact that his theory predicted these kinds relationships is a stunning testimony to relativity.

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Percy
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 Message 7 of 243 (451983) 01-29-2008 11:22 AM Reply to: Message 5 by Chiroptera01-29-2008 10:52 AM

 Chiroptera writes:And one has to ask, what in the real world is ever known with 100% certainty? One can state that something is not proven unless it is 100% certain, but then the word "proof" has no practical meaning in the real world.

I grant this semantic issue, but I think creationists tend to think of "proven" in a more absolute sense and believe it implies that no other conclusion is possible, the way we think of mathematical and logical derivations. Presenting the issue of tentativity alongside use of the word "proof" is also difficult, often seeming to be a contradiction. Plus creationists think the existence of the Christian God is 100% certain, proven beyond any doubt by the literal truth of the Bible in terms of history and prophecy.

So that's why I take the approach I do, but I'm open to more effective approaches.

--Percy

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Chiroptera
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 Message 8 of 243 (451989) 01-29-2008 11:34 AM Reply to: Message 7 by Percy01-29-2008 11:22 AM

 ...I think creationists tend to think of "proven" in a more absolute sense and believe it implies that no other conclusion is possible, the way we think of mathematical and logical derivations.

Well, I'll go a bit further and say that many creationists (and many non-creationists) are still in a Classical mindset where they believe that definite knowledge about the real world can be obtained through the pure application of logic, and, in fact, feel that pure logic is the best way to acquire knowledge. I may be wrong since I haven't paid much attention to the threads on which he has been active, but I'm suspecting that Heinrick is going to make some point about things not being "100% proven", something that hasn't been considered a problem in intellectual thought for about 200 years or so.

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter;
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters:
A choice of cancer or polio. -- The Rolling Stones

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pelican
Member (Idle past 3370 days)
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 Message 9 of 243 (451997) 01-29-2008 11:45 AM Reply to: Message 4 by Percy01-29-2008 10:50 AM

 So when a scientist says that E=mc2 has been proven, all he means is that the accuracy of the equation is supported by a great deal of empirical evidence.

 emÂ·pirÂ·iÂ·cal (m-pÃ®r-kl)adj.1. a. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws

So are you saying it is accepted although it is not 100% proven OR
has the actual E=Mc2 been tested?

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pelican
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 Message 10 of 243 (452002) 01-29-2008 11:50 AM Reply to: Message 2 by Chiroptera01-29-2008 10:36 AM

E=MC2 experiments
 It depends on what you mean by "proven". A brazillion experiments have been performed on this, and it has been verified in all of these. In science, that counts as "proven".

Thanks for yur input. For the sake of a none scientific brain, could you tell me about one of these brazillion experiemnst? Were they tested in Brazil?

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Modulous
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 Message 11 of 243 (452006) 01-29-2008 11:57 AM Reply to: Message 10 by pelican01-29-2008 11:50 AM

Re: E=MC2 experiments
 For the sake of a none scientific brain, could you tell me about one of these brazillion experiemnst?

quote:
In experiments described in the Dec. 22, 2005, issue of Nature,* the researchers added to a catalog of confirmations that matter and energy are related in a precise way. Specifically, energy (E) equals mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c2), a prediction of Einstein's theory of special relativity. By comparing NIST measurements of energy emitted by silicon and sulfur atoms and MIT measurements of the mass of the same atoms, the scientists found that E differs from mc2 by at most 0.0000004, or four-tenths of 1 part in 1 million. This result is "consistent with equality" and is 55 times more accurate than the previous best direct test of Einstein's formula, according to the paper

http://www.physorg.com/news9248.html

 Were they tested in Brazil?

That one was French, unfortunately. Though interestingly Eddington's solar eclipse test of relativity was done in Brazil.

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pelican
Member (Idle past 3370 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
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 Message 12 of 243 (452009) 01-29-2008 12:01 PM Reply to: Message 6 by Modulous01-29-2008 11:11 AM

I'm sorry. I haven't a clue as to what you are talking about. I did specify that I am year 12 maths and you have also gone off topic. The topic is concerned only with conceptions and misconceptions by us about E=MC2.
I am certain Einstein knew his stuff and we cannot be expected to understand at his level. This topic is about those of us without a scientific background. The lay man to be precise.
Please keep your posts in writing and not another language that most of us cannot understand. regards

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pelican
Member (Idle past 3370 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007

 Message 13 of 243 (452012) 01-29-2008 12:08 PM Reply to: Message 7 by Percy01-29-2008 11:22 AM

 I grant this semantic issue, but I think creationists tend to think of "proven" in a more absolute sense and believe it implies that no other conclusion is possible, the way we think of mathematical and logical derivations.Presenting the issue of tentativity alongside use of the word "proof" is also difficult, often seeming to be a contradiction. Plus creationists think the existence of the Christian God is 100% certain, proven beyond any doubt by the literal truth of the Bible in terms of history and prophecy.

Please don't bring creationists into this discussion as it is off topic and explodes into slanging matches, as I could have whacked that back. I am not a creationist and I specified in post 1 the parameters. regards

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Chiroptera
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 Message 14 of 243 (452013) 01-29-2008 12:10 PM Reply to: Message 12 by pelican01-29-2008 12:01 PM

In plain English:

Yes, E = mc2 has been directly verified.

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter;
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters:
A choice of cancer or polio. -- The Rolling Stones

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pelican
Member (Idle past 3370 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007

 Message 15 of 243 (452014) 01-29-2008 12:19 PM Reply to: Message 8 by Chiroptera01-29-2008 11:34 AM

 Well, I'll go a bit further and say that many creationists (and many non-creationists) are still in a Classical mindset where they believe that definite knowledge about the real world can be obtained through the pure application of logic, and, in fact, feel that pure logic is the best way to acquire knowledge.

Can you prove any of this by logic or otherwise? If not please refrain from giving your opinion.

 I may be wrong since I haven't paid much attention to the threads on which he has been active, but I'm suspecting that Heinrick is going to make some point about things not being "100% proven", something that hasn't been considered a problem in intellectual thought for about 200 years or so.

Would kindly allow me and maybe support me to try and prove my point by sheer lagic? And foresight is a brilliant thing.

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