The Physical Meaning of E=mc2

Here is the abstract that I just wrote for the 2009, 16th Natural Philosophy Alliance Conference, Storrs, CT, United States

Although Einstein’s popularization of E=mc2 made it the most famous equation in history, few people understand what it actually means in physical terms. Many popular accounts maintain that it describes the conversion of matter into “pure energy,” often construed as a kind of matterless motion. Today, “dark energy” and “dark matter” are spoken of as if they were two different “things.” Some even hypothesize that the universe was filled with pure energy before it became filled with matter. This estrangement between matter and motion (separability) is common in popular culture and underlies the regression in modern physics led by Einstein. There will be no fundamental change in modern physics until we adhere to the opposing assumption, INSEPARABILITY (Just as there can be no motion without matter, so there can be no matter without motion). Without it, it is impossible to explain the physical meaning of the equation. Like all equations involving aspects of reality, E=mc2 simply refers to the transformation of one kind of matter in motion into another kind of matter in motion and/or the transformation of one kind of the motion of matter into another kind of the motion of matter. The experimental success of the equivalence principal led to the further objectification of energy and that other infamous matter-motion term, spacetime. It was precisely at this point that Einstein left the realm of reality. Energy actually does not exist and does not move. It is simply a mathematical description of the motion of matter. Matter does not “contain” energy, for matter only can “contain” other things in motion. Energy is simply a mathematical term necessary for describing and relating the various forms of the motion of matter. Similarly, Einstein’s objectification of spacetime led to the strange belief that the universe actually had four dimensions instead of three. Spacetime may be useful in some descriptions, but it is no more “real” than energy. It is time to return to the two fundamental phenomena presented by the universe: matter and the motion of matter.


Mike said...

Glenn -

I'm afraid that the above makes way too much sense. No one - outside of Storrs - is going to buy it!

a.k.satsangi said...

According to Einstein Theory of Relativity, E=mc^2. According to this relationship of Energy and Mass
1 kg mass of any matter is equivalent to 9 x 10^16 J of energy.

Does it mean that,

Mass of any matter is Condensed Form of Energy and Energy is Diffused Form of Mass of any matter ?

A question may also arise what existed before the creation of the Universe Energy or Mass or both?

Glenn Borchardt said...


I can sympathize with your having trouble with this. My training in physics did not prepare me for the true meaning of what I was doing either. I just plugged the numbers into the equations and it all seemed to work out. Since then I learned that energy really does not exist, and that only matter exists. Energy is a concept, a matter-motion term that mathematically attempts to combine some measurement of matter (like mass, for example) with some measurement of motion (like velocity, for example). As you know, this is extremely useful in studying and comparing various forms of the motion of matter. The main problem arises when we "objectify" such terms. We have a tendency to think of "energy" and even "motion" as "things," which they are not. Motion does not exist, it occurs. The universe, being infinite, was not created. It simply consists of matter (things) in motion. Thus if all motion stopped, the universe would disappear. It wouldn't make sense to view the universe as being filled with "energy" or "motion" without matter. Even Einstein's equation states that E=0 if m=0. To read more about The Fourth Assumption of Science, INSEPARABILITY, see p. 53-67 in TSW or Chapter 4 in TTAOS.

BTW: Although it was never defined in my classes, here is my definition of matter: "Any object that contains yet another object." In other words, we need to assume INFINITY to understand that matter can have no partless parts ad infinitum.