Mass and Energy

which associates an energy *E* to a mass *m*, with
*c* = 3.0 `x` 10^{8} m/s
being the speed of light (in a vacuum). The amount of energy contained
in a 1 kg mass is therefore enormous - of the order of 9 billion Joules.
However, somewhat analogous to potential energy, this mass energy is
most useful to us when it gets converted to other forms of energy,
especially the kinetic energy of moving particles. This transformation
of energy occurs mostly in nuclei, where the masses (and energy equivalents)
involved are smaller, as seen in the table below.

Recall that the unit of energy used here, the MeV (mega electron volt), is one million electron volts, where one electron volt is the kinetic energy gained by an electron when accelerated through a potential difference of one Volt ( 1.6

1999-09-29