April 15, 2017



In Einstein’s words, energy could be transformed into Mass and vice versa. Simply put, the equation E=MC2 infers that Mass is energy waiting to liberate it; an awful amount of energy for an extremely small amount of mass. Just like the bulbs in our rooms, the Sun should have died out many years ago. Have you ever asked yourself what really powers the Sun?  In the Sun’s core it was noted,  Mass is constantly transformed into energy.  It was not until after Einstein theory that people began to ask, if e=mc2 could be used to power certain things on earth.

Photo credit: www.basicknowledge101.com/subjects/space.html 
 In Pittsburgh (1935), Einstein, in a conference with certain concerned writers and journalists said that an Atom could never be made to yield energy. For that to be possible, he opined, scientists would have to find a way of breaking the Atoms apart. And no matter how long they tried, it will take a greater amount of energy to smatch an atom. Other scientists however were simply dismissive of Einstein’s view, especially in Germany. It was not long (and in 1933) Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany (a great centre of physics) that the Nazis were eager to achieve what Einstein said was impossible into a bomb. 

It was the young Leo Szilard who had successfully made MC2 into a bomb. How did he do it? It was realized that radioactivity is e=mc2 in action; that is to say that tiny amount of mass in an atom was spontaneously released in the form of energy carried away by radiation. E=MC2 was simply a theoretical insight not a practical one for many. It was not until 1933 in London, that Leo discovered that it was the Alpha particles (consists two protons and two electrons) which was to be smatched and converted into energy. And that it was indeed the positive electric charge of the Alpha particles that repulsed the same positive charge approaching it. On the other hand the neutron (without electric charge) could approach the nucleus and perhaps interact and di-stable it. And that was the answer- neutrons!

Hence, every interaction with a neutron would create a chain reaction in the nucleus and nuclear physics was going to war. Leo wanted Einstein to go to war in the laboratory with him. He realized that the fate of mankind was in the hands of the scientist. His meeting with Einstein was to save the world. That leprechaun of a man had realized that multiple neutrons could create multiple reactions. The famous pacifist wrote a letter to President Roosevelt (White House, 11 Oct. 1939). It was now a question of who will build the atomic bomb first; Americans or the Nazis. In the deserts of Mexico, in a place later called the Manhattan Project among them were many European scientists who had fled Nazi Germany. Although there was no longer a threat of Nazis, the war with Japan was still on (July 1945).

 On the 6th August, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped in 46 seconds, and 2 million million million million Uranium atoms, about .6 grams of mass had been converted into a massive 12.5 kilotons of energy in just 6 tenths of micro-seconds – that is the power of E=MC2 – which killed about 70,000 people instantly and destroyed about 90% buildings.

Without his letter to President Roosevelt in 1939, Einstein would later believe, there would be no bomb to drop in 1945. “Bullets killed people, nuclear weapons destroyed cities.” Einstein would continue to campaign against the spread of the bomb as a result of his equation. The other side of E=MC2 also discovered that the ultimate creation of creation – energy- could be converted back to mass, starting from the birth of energy known as the Big Bang.

 “The Big Bang model of the Universe is entirely in harmony with general relativity, and a new generation of astronomical observatories is providing high-tech confirmation of Einstein’s ideas (you could read more in Alice Caprice & Trevor Lipscombe, Albert Einstein, 2012).
 The same equation which destroyed many in minutes was also responsible for the birth of a huge mass of objects found in space, of planets, of the Big Bang. Therefore, is E=MC2 not the ‘god’ that was unknown to the Greeks? The god who creates out of his spoken word and destroys out of his words, masses of humans? Has this equation not revealed how that, which gives life could also give death? How that which formed you could also destroy you? If there is anything e=mc2 has taught me is that we do not always know the consequences of our actions. For Einstein had intended that e=mc2 be a description of nature not a prescription for a bomb.

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