Einstein's original paper question

  1. Oct 20, 2006 #1


    User Avatar

    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?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2006 #2
    The Sep 1905 paper derivation has been long superseeded by the modern derivation that uses 4-vectors giving the general formula:


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

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


    where <,> represents the dot product. In the proper frame of the object p is 0 therefore E=m
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?