* PRIMER FOR A LITTLE MOORE TIME (obligatory reading)
‘My Third Big Toe’ is included as an appendix to 'A Little Moore Time' but was written well before to explore the need for dimensions and explain how a sense of proportion is the basis for measurements, and all our thinking.
Any attempt to explain the thinking behind E = mc2 should not induce a mental shut down neither should it require a whole book to understand as a concept. Mr. Einstein was abreast of developments when physicists such as Marie Curie were finding that their radioactive materials were losing weight. Since all that was being given off was radiation it was simple to conclude that there must be a mathematical relationship between the weight (mass) of a substance and the energy being given off by the radiation. The difficulty was that ‘things’ have mass but light does not.
In order to obtain a verbal equivalent of the equation and understand just what “ c squared “ might mean, it is best to isolate it on one side of the equation - so instead of 'e' there is just ‘c’ squared on the left hand side. To retain equivalence ‘c’ squared must be the same as the energy divided by the mass on the other side of the equation. Put that into words and the equation can then be roughly translated as ‘there is an equivalent amount of radiation travelling at the speed of light to account for all the energy in a piece of mass.’
The actual speed of light is not required to understand the basic idea of the equation which is that no ‘thing’ can travel faster than light. Light is a massless packet of energy which always travels flat out at its speed limit. Every ’thing’ with mass therefore must travel at a lesser speed and be packaged to conserve any ‘unaccounted for’ energy in its mass.
Even though you don’t need to know the exact figures, it does become increasingly difficult to avoid numbers as you get into the details. You do have to have a ‘sense of proportion’. At the fundamental level this means you have the ability to make distinctions between three similar items.
For Mr. Einstein's equation there are lots of different types of radiation. Light is not only what you can see but includes invisible ranges of radiation, from gamma rays, through radio waves to ELF’s (Extremely Low Frequencies). The lower frequencies ‘vibrate’ less frequently and carry less energy than gamma rays. Just comparing two items, gamma rays vibrate at 300,000,000,000,000,000,000 cycles per second (Hz) compared to 3 Hz for ELF’s.
Most people are wary of, if not frightened by the notation mathematicians have devised to avoid writing pages, or lines of noughts - as above. Some very simple cultures made do with ‘one - two - many’ for their maths, and our conceptual language derives from this. We progress from ‘big - bigger’ to ‘not-as-big’. At ‘not-as-big’ we start to devise new words to describe something ‘in line with’ our perceptions of ‘big’ and ‘bigger’. However, when our verbal descriptive range goes from infinitesimal, microscopic, miniscule, tiny, small, large, huge, massive, immense, humungous, to astronomically large, - it becomes clear that hyperbole (hype) will mean that one person’s ‘humungous’ might just equate to ‘large’ on somebody else’s scale. That’s why we need agreed ’scales’ and proper measuring units.
The appendix of ‘A Little Moore Time’ expands on this methodology and applies it to the concept of measurement using dimensions. As a gentle introduction to ‘extra’ dimensions, it is a good idea to read this appendix first.
* Alternatively, as a primer, it can be obtained as a separate work under the title ‘My Third Big Toe’ ISBN 978-07552-1270-5