Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Energy limits of an atom

  1. Nov 13, 2004 #1
    Could anyone with some expertise answer these questions for me?

    When an atom is split, does a finite amount of uranium produce a finite amount of energy?

    What determines how much energy a uranium atom might contain?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2004 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Of course a finite amount of Uranium corresponds to a finite amount of energy, what else could it be?

    To find the amount of energy released in fission, take the difference in masses of the resulting atoms and the original atom of U, apply E= mc2.

    As for how much "energy" a Uranium atom might contain, simply apply E= mc2 to the mass of a single atom of U. Understand that this is not the amount of energy released in a fission reaction (see above).
  4. Nov 14, 2004 #3
    Nothing else that I can think of, as far as I know the law of conservation of energy has never been broken. I wish the answer to something farther ahead, that’s where my questions end.:smile:

    Then the energy released is always directly proportional to the mass of its atom. This equation to be correct then, assumes that there is a equality on both sides of the equation.

    I have been listening to the Richard Feynman lectures trying to understand some of these things.

    Is it correct to assume then that, there is always the same amount of E in the universe? Has there been any changes in knowledge, on the law of conservation of energy, with what we know now about theoretical black holes or dark matter?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook