Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Poincare and Einstein on Mass-Energy Equivalence

Einstein's most famous equation is E = mc2. Supposedly it created the Atomic Age.

New article:

Poincare and Einstein on Mass-Energy Equivalence: A Modern Perspective on their 1900 and 1905 Papers
Patrick Moylan

Both Poincaré in his 1900 Festschrift paper \cite{Poincare} and Einstein in his 1905 \textsl{Annalen der Physik} article \cite{Einstein} were led to $E=mc^2$ by considering electromagnetic processes taking place in vacuo. Poincaré's treatment is based on a generalization of the law of conservation of momentum to include radiation. Einstein's analysis relies solely on energy conservation and the relativity principle together with certain assumptions, which have served as the source of criticism of the paper beginning with Max Planck in 1907. We show that these objections raised by Planck and others can be traced back to Einstein's failure to make use of momentum considerations. Relevance of our findings to a proper understanding of Ives' criticism of Einstein's paper is pointed out.

Planck criticized Einstein's derivation in 1907. Various Einstein biographers and idolizers have attempted to support Einstein, but his 1905 work was inferior to what Poincare did in 1900.

Einstein never believed that an atomic bomb was possible, until Szilard and others convinced him around 1940.

Einstein never cites the Poincare 1900 paper, or the Hasenoehrl 1904 and 1905 papers on the subject. For Einstein's derivation to work, he needs radiation to have momentum, but never mentions it.

So how did Einstein do it? The obvious possibilities are: (1) he made a blunder, and just happened to get the right answer; (2) he read the Poincare and Hasenoerhl papers, and learned about radiation momentum from them; or (3) he rediscovered radiation momentum on his own, but did not think it was important enough to mention.

Considering that Einstein spent his whole life concealing and lying about his sources, the obvious conclusion is (2). His most famous relativity papers do not cite any sources, even though they directly build on the work of others. He spent his whole life pretending that he did not know about Poincare's work.

There is a myth that Einstein worked in isolation and obscurity, but that is not true. He was very well read on current Physics, and often wrote reviews of current research papers. The above paper says:

After all, it is hard to imagine that Einstein, at the time he wrote his paper, was not aware of Poincar ́e’s Festchrift article, which was one of the most important and widely read physics papers of that time [41], and it seems almost certain he would have been aware of Hasen ̈ohrl’s papers published some months before in the same journal to which he submitted his first two relativity papers [28].
Before his death, someone finally confronted Einstein with the fact that Poincare had published all of his relativity ideas beforehand, and Einstein had no response.

The above paper does a good job of explaining the mental gymnastics that the Einstein idolizers have done to defend him.


  1. Well the point is this...

    ... Ok, to go back a bit and to say:

    This whole mass-energy dichotomy was in the first place un-necessary.

    ... Ok, now to go get going... Now, the point is this:

    The only reason that a layman gets interested in this topic is this:

    He cannot fathom how come a stuff (say an apple, or a computer monitor (in whatever MBA-loved term of ``form factor'' e.g., that of the Steve Jobs ``invented'' [god-damned] ultra thin etc. iPhone)) in front of him just disappears and becomes, say, heat. Energy.

    Well, it doesn't.

    The whole paradox rests on this overloading of the term ``mass'':

    It stands for both

    1. the ever-enduring ``stuff'' that respectively absorbs or emits energy without itself respectively getting amplified (or even created) or diminished (or even annihilated),


    2. a mere mathematically characterized dynamical property of that very ``stuff'', i.e., a quantity, something that is, by definition, a *variable*. Both mass and energy are, by definition, dynamical *variables*.

    No one questions, when a ball is thrown at some angle in the air, and traces (assume!) a parabolic path, its velocity/momentum/KE in the x-direction is continuously getting converted into some quantities defined in the z-direction. People happily accept that this is just an instance of two mere dynamical variables inter-changing in terms of their values (quantities) into each other.

    But, enter ``Einstein'', and all bets are off. Photons are particles!

    [PS: Thanks to someone, perhaps you, for highlighting, around 2015/16/or so (I forgot), the ``Anti-photon'' paper. It got many things going. I mean, in my personal research.]

    1. I mean, come on...

      If that god-damned non-originating-IP-address-revealing and MBA-loved ``form factor'' which was at least ``invented'' (if not ``revealed'') by a ``genius'' viz. the Ultra Thin iPhone cannot ever be thrown, with whatever finite force, to a speed that is greater than a finite number which is a function of the electric permittivity and the magnetic permeability of the ``vacuum'' (which itself is a region of space that is Poincare' and Einstein supposed as completely empty of any EM ontological object(s), esp. the aether), then...

      ...then, isn't it too obvious that the stuff *itself* isn't going to get converted, in any physical process, by the sheer Maxwell-Heaviside-Lorentz laws, into ``pure energy''? that it's going to remain ``stuff'' as such, and not become ``energy'', albeit, with its [even Newtonian] momentum being lawfully limited to remain a finite quantity at all times?

      What a third-class bunch of idiots, physics has seen!

      And, I won't even get going talking about those god-damned [spatially delimited] ``particles'' of light! ...

      ... I just don't know.

      ... I just don't know why Einstein was so ``lucky'' to have Planck backing him up [I guess for Einstein's Physics Nobel], even when it's only the ``stuff'' (the ``material oscillators in the metal cavity'' etc.) that ever must be (even *can* be) quantized, with the quantization of light merely following as a consequence --- without it having to have a spatially discrete form.