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Homework Help: What does T represent in mc^2 equation?

  1. Dec 30, 2011 #1
    I have an equation which states;

    T = mc^2 - m0c^2

    I know kinetic energy equals this same equation. Does T also represent kinetic energy in this equation? If so, why has the letter T been used?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2011 #2
    Some books use T for kinetic and U for potential energy, whereas other books use different conventions.
  4. Dec 30, 2011 #3
    Is there any particular reason for the letter T?

    Does it represent translational kinetic energy?
  5. Dec 30, 2011 #4


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    Kinetic energy is E = ½mv² and may be called by other letters, but E = mc² could only be Einstein's formula for the energy obtained from converting mass m into energy in some kind of nuclear reaction. Here c is the speed of light. I have never seen it called T. Sounds like a misprint.
  6. Dec 30, 2011 #5


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    It's very common for Classical Mechanics textbooks to use the upper case letter T for kinetic energy.
  7. Dec 31, 2011 #6
    Well thats new ... I've normally have seen K for that

    But again i haven't read too many books
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