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B Derivation of E=Mc2? For the common man

  1. Jun 4, 2016 #1
    Ok this is perhaps the single most famous equation known to man. And I have basically zero idea how it came to be. I have a slight background in classical physics (a couple college classes)

    I know it states that energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.

    I have tried to read online postings on it but have been unable to follow.

    So is it possible to get a step by step derivation of this equation so that even a lay person could understand it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2016 #2


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  4. Jun 5, 2016 #3
    by the momentum of a particle we can mean the vector p=∂L/∂v, p=mv/√1-v^2/c^2, for small velocities this expression goes over into the classical p=mv. for v=c the momentum becomes infinite. after dp/dt=m/√1-v^2/c^2×dv/dt, if the velocity changes only in magnitude, that is, if the force is parallel to the velocity, dp/dt=m/(1-v^2/c^2)^1/2+dv/dt. the energy of the particle - E=p×v-L, then E=mc^2/√1-v^2/c^2, v=0 ⇒ E=mc^2
  5. Jun 5, 2016 #4
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