# Einstein's E=mc2 'was Italian's idea'?

Is this true?

Einstein's E=mc2 'was Italian's idea'
Rory Carroll in Rome
Thursday November 11, 1999
The Guardian

The mathematical equation that ushered in the atomic age was discovered by an unknown Italian dilettante two years before Albert Einstein used it in developing the theory of relativity, it was claimed yesterday.

Olinto De Pretto, an industrialist from Vicenza, published the equation E=mc2 in a scientific magazine, Atte, in 1903, said Umberto Bartocci, a mathematical historian.

Complete text at http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,3928978-103681,00.html [Broken]

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## Answers and Replies

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
Ah, but how did he DERIVE it? Just the equation alone is good enough for newspapers and newbies, but reasons are what the rest of us go by.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Also, E=mc^2 was not used in the development of relativity, it was discovered as a consequence of the theory itself. Gah, newspapers always get this sort of thing wrong. I guess the general public thinks that Einstein said "E=mc^2? Yeah, baby, that seems about right. I think I'm gonna publish that one!"

I think Gary Larson once made a cartoon about it, with Einstein standing in front of a blackboard covered in attempts like E=mc^19 and E=mc^4. His mom (or wife?) was dusting the room, and saying "yep, it's all squaaaaared away in here. Squaaaaared away."

- Warren

NateTG
Homework Helper
Actually, much of Special relativity is similar to prior ether based theories. Time and space contractions would be identical 'apparent' time and space contractions in ether theories except for additional accounthing for ether wind.

There are divergent predictions, but the math doesn't really change that much.

The really interesting thing about SR is that it provides a model for a constant speed of light. "E=mc2" is popular because it has interesting philosophical implications, and because it's easy to explain.

Notably, although Einstein is primarily famous for Special and General Relativity, his work on the photoelectric effect is what he recieved his Nobel prize for, and has also had a much more significant effect on our day-to-day lives since it is associated with Lasers and LEDs.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
SPS students often play a game: try to find an area of science that Einstein didn't influence. It's actually really hard to do!

- Warren

Originally posted by Carlos Hernandez
Is this true?

Einstein's E=mc2 'was Italian's idea'
Rory Carroll in Rome
Thursday November 11, 1999
The Guardian

The mathematical equation that ushered in the atomic age was discovered by an unknown Italian dilettante two years before Albert Einstein used it in developing the theory of relativity, it was claimed yesterday.

Olinto De Pretto, an industrialist from Vicenza, published the equation E=mc2 in a scientific magazine, Atte, in 1903, said Umberto Bartocci, a mathematical historian.

Complete text at http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,3928978-103681,00.html [Broken]
Actually it is well known that Einstien has written the Equation down some years earlier(at least 3/4yrs) prior to his publication 1905.

The term of the equation was thought out by Einstein early 1900s, but he needed to further its consequences. This is well documented.

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Originally posted by chroot
SPS students often play a game:
what are SPS students?

chroot
Staff Emeritus