Nautilus

Is the Law of Conservation of Energy Cancelled?

Physics is often baffling, but one principle seems rock-solid: the law of conservation of energy. The world contains this thing called “energy” whose amount never changes. It can change its form or go from one body to another, but its total amount remains constant. Everything from the arc of a well-kicked football to the purring of a car engine depends on this law. It makes energy a precious commodity, counted, hoarded, and fought over.

The quantum world is uncertain; attributes such as energy are ill-defined or fuzzy.

We physicists have learned that our bodies do not merely use energy, but consist of it. Einstein’s formula = identifies mass as a form of energy, one that can be converted to other forms (by a nuclear bomb, say) or created from those forms (in a particle collider). The formula strengthens our intuition that energy is the basic stuff of which things are made. When one gets deeper

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da Nautilus

Nautilus7 min letti
The Mother of All Accidents: Odds are, if an asteroid hadn’t crashed into Earth, we wouldn’t be here.
In 2001, Seth MacFarlane was the 27-year-old executive producer and creator of the not-yet-hit animated show Family Guy. Having broken into the entertainment big leagues at such a young age, MacFarlane was invited back in September to address his alm
Nautilus8 min lettiChemistry
A Wrinkle in Nature Could Lead to Alien Life: There may be more than one way to tune a universe for life.
I grew up in a small village in a very rural part of England. It was a landscape capped with the huge skies of a low-lying coastal zone. Gently rolling fields, long hedgerows, and a lot of farms. Some of the people running those farms came from so ma
Nautilus5 min lettiChemistry
How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. The universe bets on disorder. Imagine, for example, dropping a thimbleful of red dye into a swimming pool. All of those dye molecules are going to slowly spread throughout the water