Friday, 18 April 2008

Mass and Energy

As with many of us who ponder the nature of reality and consciouness (I suspect that this involves every active member of this blog) I found that last night I had a particulaly sleepless night (wracked with the pain of a frozen right shoulder ... I have never known pain like it, well not since my frozen left shoulder ten years ago. I recently had a steroid injection into the joint but this seems to have made it worse!).. I lay awake and to locate myself away from the agony I started to think about the mass and energy (as you do). Maybe it was the fact that my brain was very neurotransmitter-active but I came across a really weird thought.

Energy and mass are the same thing according to Einstein's famous E=MC2 equation. Einstein showed that by increasing the velocity of an object we increase its substance. The increase in mass that Einstein calculated is directly proportional to the increase in the energy of the mass due to its higher velocity. The atom bomb bears stark witness to the equivalence of mass and energy and in doing so also confirms the validity of Einstein's conception of space and time as relative to the observer.

So the mass of any object is, actually, pure energy. Now this is where My brain started to become very active. What exactly is energy? It is simply a measure of a substances positions at different times when we observe it. In other words, the act of observation again has a crucial role in another area of quantum physics other than the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Objects are, in a very real sense, their motion - a motion that takes place in space which itself, as Einstein so brilliantly proved, is itself - and by definition, nothingness.

I am sure that my pain-addled mind had convinced me that the Buddhist concept of Nirvana aws implied by Einstein. Am I right or have I missed something?

So 'reality' consists of objects consisting of nothing 'moving' in a vast nothingness!

1 comment:

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Tony;
Question: In your post you state that - "Energy and mass are the same thing according to Einstein's famous E=MC2 equation" however, I'm not sure you have that quite right for surely if Mass and Energy were the same then you couldn't separate the two in the famous equation, making it E=EC2 (if E were Energy AND Mass!!)

Matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration but as all Mass involves matter of some kind, I do think there is a distinct difference between Energy and Mass.

Adopting String Theory and M-Theory, it is suggested that these strings of energy vibrate with a precise 'fine-tuning' akin to the strings of a cello. The energy that these strings emit is then perceived as matter, therefore mass and ultimately reality.

So, to finally answer your sleep-adled question (and goodness knows I ask myself many of those), Yes AND No! It depends on your definition of "nothing". Is the membrane on which the strings are vibrating from which we perceive 'reality' itself existant within 'something' or within 'nothing' and as purest Quantum Mechanics tells us that each atom is mostly comprised of nothing (excluding the Dark Energy argument) then it is entirely possible.

I'm really looking forward to the first ale-induced pub chat we have after you've read Sartre's "Being and Nothingness"