Power from Atoms? (Jun, 1935)

Actually, Einstein said energy is equivalent to mass, not power. Different things.

Power from Atoms?
Mass is power, says Dr. Albert Einstein. The arguments he presents are a little too hard for the public to follow; but here are some of his conclusions about the power that lies in the atom, if and when we can ever make use of it. But Einstein also says he feels sure that it will not be possible to convert our familiar matter into energy in the manners shown. This will relieve coal miners and oil well operators.

3 comments
  1. Rick Auricchio says: November 21, 201210:45 am

    I like the idea of lifting three Empire State Buildings to the top of Mount Everest.

  2. Toronto says: November 21, 201212:30 pm

    Jasper Fforde uses the unit ‘Cathedral-Kilometres” in some of his “The Last Dragonslayer” books. It’s the amount of energy required to move a standard cathedral one kilometre – typically by magic.

    Energy is the ability to do work: power is the ability to do work in a given amount of time, so at some levels they can be considered equivalent. The tricky part about atomic energy is to convert it to power at the right rate: we typically want less than the power of an A-bomb (ie all at once) but more than the slight warming power of a lump of U235 sitting on a table.

    BTW there’s a local kerfuffle over a tiny bit of radioactive material found in a school here recently. It’s apparently the size of a quarter coin, and was inside a lead-lined “Science Kit” case from 1961, which in turn was inside a disused refrigerator. I can’t imagine how freaked the current school board folks would be if they saw the “secure” chem lab storage in my high school, back in the day.

  3. Hirudinea says: November 21, 201212:57 pm

    The problem is converting that mass into power/energy, where’s anti-mater when you need it.

    @ Toronto – Yea, people today think kids should be wrapped in bubble wrap, and of course cut down all the oak trees around them.

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