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Fabian Lapp

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Why does E=mc²?

I think we can all agree that 1=1 but how can you say that E=mc². No one would say the E is the same letter as m.
One example I'd like to make is that NaCl=Na+ + Cl-
But in chemistry you do not use the equals sign you use arrows that indicate a process of conversion which is reversible.
Just as the conversion from energy to mass.


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  • T K

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    Jun 13 2013: I can't tell if you are being sincere with your question. I personally think you are confusing the concepts of abbreviations and variables.

    In your examples, Na and Cl are abbreviations for the names of elements. They are a type of shorthand that chemists created to help describe the work that they do. They mean very specific items in the chemical world. You pointed out yourself they also used a special kind of shorthand to show that a conversion takes place - the arrow.

    But in this case "E" is a variable in the model of a scientific idea and if you were to go read the scientific papers that Einstein wrote to explain the theory of relativity you would see that that "E" has a very specific meaning in this case. In fact, look at all the different meaning "E" or "e" can have in different subject areas.


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