Once, while I was talking to my astronomy class in Northern California,
asked them, "How many of you have run into Einstein's famous
equation in which
what we call matter, mass, is set equal to energy?"
Mrs. Banks said that she had
not run into that equation; so I asked her
where she had gone to school. When
she told me that she had gone to Stanford
University, and that she had done
graduate work there, and yet had never
run into that famous equation, I said to
her, "Stanford owes you."
Well, that was nearly thirty years ago.
Unfortunately Einstein's equation has been wrongly represented, world
wide, to mean that mass can be converted to energy. But that is wrong. If mass
could be converted to energy, as kinetic energy can be converted to gravitational
energy on the up-swing of a pendulum, then that equation would be E + m = K,
the sum of mass and energy is a constant.
But Einstein never interpreted his equation that way. He referred to it as,
"the equation in which energy is set equal to mass." And toward the end
of his life
he wrote that matter had fallen out of the physics as a fundamental
may never have noticed the usual misinterpretation, because
no one would have
written it down as E + m = K.
Probably this usual misinterpretation is
largely responsible for the fact that
even our educated public is unaware
that the Universe is made of energy, not
matter, and that it's wound
up to some five hundred atom bombs per pound
against gravity by the dispersion
of the particles through space, and to the same
five hundred atom bombs
per pound against electricity because the particles are
so minute. I'll
gravitational field is condensational. It tends to bring things together,
we wind things up against gravity by pushing things apart, like pushing a car
uphill. And things are wound up to some five hundred atom bombs per pound just
by being separated, in the gravitational field, from all the rest of the matter in the
observable Universe. We're only a little bit separated from the Earth, but we're a
great deal more separated from all the rest of the matter in the observable
Universe, and that's what winds us up to five hundred atom bombs per pound.
The energy of five hundred atomic bombs weighs only one pound on Earth. It's
that simple, but not easy to see.
Unlike the gravitational field, the electrical field is self dispersional. It tends
to push like charges apart. And we wind things up against electricity by pushing
like charges together. If we push two electrons together, they weigh more
together than they weighed apart because the energy of pushing them together
is still in there, and it's only energy that's heavy. And, it turns out, that the
required to make the charge of one electron as small as one electron
is, is its
mass, because you'd be pushing negative charge toward negative
winding it up. Once again, it's that simple, but not easy
sort of information was salted away in my early education more than
years ago, but still, till now, it's difficult for me always to remember that
the rest of American public was not so lucky. And we live on a small planet where
the gravitational field is so tender that these energy relations are anything but
obvious. If we lived on a neutron star it would be a very different matter, and a
great deal easier to see. I'll explain.
A cubic inch of a neutron star weighs as much as a cubic mile of iron. And
if we lived on a neutron star where the mountains were only half an inch tall, and
where it would still take several generations to climb one, even if every speck of
our biological energy was used in the climb, then these energy relations would be
more obvious. It's more difficult to see them here on Earth.
If you dropped an old fashioned ten gram
marshmallow to a neutron star,
the splash would be enough to vaporize
a town. It would be a one gram splash.
And if you dropped it to a black
hole with all the rest of the observable Universe
inside, it would be
a ten gram splash. A ten gram marshmallow is the energy of
bombs. I know, it doesn't look like that, and they'll sell you a whole
of them at the grocery store for a dollar nineteen. They have no idea what
doing. Almost no one sees this as it really is.
Because all this information was dumped on me so long ago I tend to see
the world this way, and I don't always remember that most people don't even
smell it. And it's for my failure to remember this that I apologize.
The energy of the explosion that blew Crater
Lake in Oregon, long ago,
was only forty two pounds. It blew some thirty
five cubic miles of rock to powder
and put it in the stratosphere at
eighty thousand feet. That was forty two pounds.
The energy which the
Sun releases, each second, is four and one half million
tons. It's been
doing it for five billion years of seconds, and will continue for
five. But when one of those iron core stars goes supernova (collapses to
neutron star) in three quarters of one second it releases a hundred times as
energy as the Sun releases in ten billion years. And that's only ten percent
the mass of that star.
It's for not bearing all this in mind, when I talk to my friends, that I now
The world is made of energy, and energy is the Underlying Existence
John L. Dobson, February 10, 2006, Hollywood, California