Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mass & energy

Einstein's theories were a major breakthrough a century or so ago. He wasn't a savant or the smartest man in the world but a patent clerk with incredible imagination and innovative thinking - definitely a genius. Most of humanity still hasn't grasped the gravity (no pun intended) of the implications of his theories. My jaw always drops no matter how many times I re-visit the concept of the relativity of time or the equivalence of mass and energy.

Did you know that a 150 lbs person, an average bloke, if all his mass was converted to energy his body would generate enough energy to keep a bulb lit for 2,386,363,600 years? (someone correct me if my calculation is off). That is 2.3 billion years!!

Did you know that if you travelled on a spaceship at close to the speed of light for 1 year and then returned to Earth that people on Earth will have aged much more than 1 year, maybe generations (somebody do the math)? i.e. time is relative.

Did you also know that every matter around us whether living or non-living is made up of tiny particles? This gives rise to a pseudo paradox. What if you removed one particle from your body...would you die? Not at all. If you remove a skin cell which contains millions and millions of particles, even then you wouldn't die. So removing just one single particle would never do any harm. What if you removed a second particle from your body? Then again there would be no harm. Removing just one particle each time would then never cause you to die. But if you keep removing particle after particle, a point will come when you will cease to exist. But we just stated that removing a single particle will never cause you to die at any given moment in the sequence. Then how would you die after all?

Food for thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment