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Einstein's original paper question

by 18t
Tags: einstein, original, paper
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18t
#1
Oct20-06, 10:03 PM
P: 1
Hi, by reading the Einstein's original derivation of the E=mc2 formula (http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/E_mc2/www/), Einstein does an
approximation by neglecting higher order derivatives before arriving at
E=mc2. But, as far as I know, E equals mc2 precisely. Does anyone know why Einstein didnt derive the equation precisely? I tried to play with the paper a bit to make it spit out the precise equation but didnt have much luck-I must be overlooking something. Could someone help me with this one?
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nakurusil
#2
Oct20-06, 10:35 PM
P: 329
Quote Quote by 18t
Hi, by reading the Einstein's original derivation of the E=mc2 formula (http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/E_mc2/www/), Einstein does an
approximation by neglecting higher order derivatives before arriving at
E=mc2. But, as far as I know, E equals mc2 precisely. Does anyone know why Einstein didnt derive the equation precisely? I tried to play with the paper a bit to make it spit out the precise equation but didnt have much luck-I must be overlooking something. Could someone help me with this one?
The Sep 1905 paper derivation has been long superseeded by the modern derivation that uses 4-vectors giving the general formula:

[tex]E^2-(pc)^2=(mc^2)^2[/tex]

For p=0 you obtain [tex]E=mc^2[/tex] exactly

The above can be written a little nicer if we take c=1:

[tex]<E,E>-<p,p>=m^2[/tex]

where <,> represents the dot product. In the proper frame of the object p is 0 therefore E=m


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