Energy and mass

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Einstein's theory of special relativity shows that matter (as mass) and energy can be converted into each other according to the famous equation E = m c^2. Energy can be converted to mass (e.g. pair production) and vice versa (e.g. annihilation).

Connection to Big Idea about forces: A force acting on an object will cause its acceleration or change of shape. Under the description of Special relativity for velocities close to the speed of light the mass of the object increases.

Connection to Big Idea about the universe: The entire Universe is made up of energy and matter. However, around 95% of this we can’t actually see, we call this dark energy and dark matter.

Connection to Big Idea about quantum: Quantum theory restricts energy to discrete values (quanta). For subatomic particles, mass can transform to energy and vice versa through different subatomic phenomena.

Subjects related: Chemistry, Physics

Age ranges: 14-15, 16-17,17-18



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