Einstein's Mass-Energy Equation

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The energy imparted to a body to cause that body to move causes the body to increase in mass by a value $M$ as given by the equation:

$E = M c^2$

where $c$ is the speed of light.


From Einstein's Law of Motion, we have:

$\mathbf F = \dfrac {m_0 \mathbf a} {\paren {1 - \dfrac {v^2} {c^2} }^{\tfrac 3 2} }$


$\mathbf F$ is the force on the body
$\mathbf a$ is the acceleration induced on the body
$v$ is the magnitude of the velocity of the body
$c$ is the speed of light
$m_0$ is the rest mass of the body.

Without loss of generality, assume that the body is starting from rest at the origin of a cartesian plane.

Assume the force $\mathbf F$ on the body is in the positive direction along the x-axis.

To simplify the work, we consider the acceleration as a scalar quantity and write it $a$.

Thus, from the Chain Rule for Derivatives:

$a = \dfrac {\d v} {\d t} = \dfrac {\d v} {\d x} \dfrac {\d x} {\d t} = v \dfrac {\d v} {\d x}$

Then from the definition of energy:

$\ds E = \int_0^x F \rd x$

which leads us to:

\(\ds E\) \(=\) \(\ds m_0 \int_0^x \frac a {\paren {1 - v^2 / c^2}^{\tfrac 3 2} } \rd x\)
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds m_0 \int_0^v \frac v {\paren {1 - v^2 / c^2}^{\tfrac 3 2} } \rd v\) substituting $v \rd v = a \rd x$ from above
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds m_0 \int_0^v \frac v {\paren {1 - v^2 / c^2}^{\tfrac 3 2} } \rd v \times \paren {- \frac {c^2} 2} \times \paren {- \frac 2 {c^2} }\) multiplying by $1$
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds m_0 \paren {- \frac {c^2} 2} \int_0^v \paren {1 - \frac {v^2} {c^2} }^{-\tfrac 3 2} \paren {- \frac {2 v \rd v} {c^2} }\)
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds \intlimits {m_0 c^2 \paren {1 - \frac {v^2} {c^2} }^{- \tfrac 1 2} } 0 v\)
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds m_0 c^2 \paren {\frac 1 {\sqrt {1 - \frac {v^2} {c^2} } } - 1}\)
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds c^2 \paren {\frac {m_0} {\sqrt {1 - \frac {v^2} {c^2} } } - m_0}\)
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds c^2 \paren {m - m_0}\) Einstein's Mass-Velocity Equation
\(\ds \) \(=\) \(\ds M c^2\)


Also known as

Einstein's Mass-Energy Equation is usually known as Einstein's Equation, but there are a number of such equations that Einstein deduced.

However, this is the most famous one, and has caught the imagination of the general public.

Hence, if you refer to Einstein's Equation at a party, for example, everyone will know which one you mean, and it's this one.

Some sources refer to it boringly as the Mass-Energy Equation

Source of Name

This entry was named for Albert Einstein.