Einstein, Halfway There

Einstein only got us halfway there. Although it really wasn’t his fault. When he postulated his most famous equation, E=mc2, all we could see was the conversion and not the concept. 

The conversion was all about high amounts of energy from small amounts of matter. And our first thought was that of a bomb. (What does that say about the human race?) As little as one kilogram of matter converts to 21 megatons of TNT. That’s a lot of weapon. And for the country that possessed that kind of power, it meant victory. 

But there was a lot more to Einstein’s equation than the conversion. There was the concept. And it said that energy and matter are the same thing. It’s a new way of seeing the world. And that’s where we’re going to go today. 

You probably see the world composed of two things: matter and energy. But Einstein really said that it is composed only one. He said, “mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing.” Thus, there is one thing with two forms. Going forward, I would like to think of everything in terms of energy. With that in mind, there are two types of energy; 1) bundled and 2) unbundled. Let’s start with the bundles. 

Energy bundles are a very concentrated, but stable forms of energy. They exist in a self-contained bit of space. If you study how they further organize into larger ones, you’re studying chemistry. If you study how they break into smaller bundles, and how they absorb and emit unbundled energy, you’re studying quantum physics. 

For this discussion, I’m suggesting a cloud of light to represent an energy-bundle. I prefer the mental picture of a cloud over a particle because it has a soft boundary. As opposed to a particle that has a hard edge. Also, regarding particles, non-scientists tend to envision very small marbles and BBs buzzing around each other. And that picture has a lot of problems. 

Unbundled energy is the small bit of energy that moves between bundles. I’ll use a wave to symbolize its movement. Here you can see that it is constantly moving between bundles. And although it moves at a known speed, physicists have spent many hours hand-wringing over the path it takes. We’ll not mess with that issue today. 

To get a more complete picture, it’s important to note that bundles and groups of bundles are in constant motion. They move relative to each other. Also, they spin and vibrate. And they repel each other when they’re in close proximity. Think of this tiny world as composed of a heterogeneous energy soup. Clouds of energy are rapidly moving and transferring bits of energy between themselves.

It appears to be a chaotic mess. But at the macro scale it’s you. Now we get to an interesting question. If everything is energy, what is energy? What is it made of? And why is this even important? I’ll talk about those things in a future article. 

© 2024 Biochemist Adrift Contact: carl@biochemistadrift.com