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The Equivalence of Mass and Energy

Till the end of the nineteenth century, physicists believed that in every physical and chemical process, the mass of an isolated system is conserved.

Matter might change its phase, e.g. glacial ice could melt into a gushing stream, but matter is neither created nor destroyed; Albert Einstein (1879-1955) however, showed that mass and energy are equivalent and are related by the relation
E = m c2            

where c, the speed of light in vacuum is approximately 3 × 108 m s-1
Thus, a staggering amount of energy is associated with a mere kilogram of matter
E = 1× (3 × 108)2 J = 9 × 1016 J. 
This is equivalent to the annual electrical output of a large (3000 MW) power generating station.

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