Putting on the mass

The high speed anti-diet.

As your speed increases your mass seems to increase.

We know from everyday experience that it is harder to change the speed of more massive things. It is easy to stop a moving Ping-Pong ball than a baseball.

However, when you look outside yourself and try to move with respect to something it becomes more difficult to increase your speed the faster you are already moving.

Mass versus speed calculator

Choose a speed [ ] as a fraction 0-0.999999 of light speed

Print out the speed in Miles per hour and kilometers per hour.

Enter a weight on earth (pounds)

print out your mass on earth in kilograms [ ]

Your mass at this speed [ ]

The weight of an object with this mass on earth [ ] pounds.

see do the math below

Graphic showing mass versus speed, a curve starts at your "rest mass" at zero speed and increases to infinity as you approach the speed of light.

As you approach the speed of light your mass and so your resistance to speed increases, in fact it goes to infinity.

This is why no object with rest mass can ever reach the speed of light.

Since you are always "at rest" with respect to yourself (very Zen) you always seem to have your own rest mass.

In the English system of units we talk about our weight in pounds, our weight is proportional to our mass

Prove It!

Relativity in a television Cathode Ray Tube.

Electrons in your television travel at up to 30% of the speed of light, Television designers must take into account the increase in mass of the electron to steer the electrons to strike the exactly correct pixel to make the image on a television screen appear the right color.

E = mc^2 nuclear bombs, nuclear power.

Nuclear reactors convert rest mass into energy, nuclear bombs do this too, the sun is powered by nuclear fusion reactions that convert mass into energy.(Look up how much.)

Explore It!

The energy of motion can be converted to rest mass.

The conversion of mass to energy and energy to mass is described by the famous equation:

E = mc^2

The Math of E = mc^2

The speed of light in the metric system is a large number and the speed of light squared is a huge number.

c = 3 x 10^8 m/s (approximately)

so c^2 = 9 x 10^16 m^2/s^2

Thus if 1 kilogram is converted to energy it produces 9 x 10^16 joules.

Compare to the amount of energy produced by a powerplant

A large powerplant will produce 100 megawatts, or 10^8 J/s so the energy of 1 kg of mass will run the powerplant for 9 x 10^8 s, or about 30 years.

E =mc^2 Calculator

Enter a mass (your mass for example) and this prints out your energy. (make the energy real by giving mileposts for energy use.)

We may need to provide a weight to mass converter.

Energy of a nuclear fission bomb

Energy used by the US in a year

Energy produced by the sun each second


Do the Math

Why it is harder and harder to go faster and faster.

The faster you go, the more mass you have, and the harder it is to accelerate.

mass = g m0

where m0 is the rest mass , and g = (1-v^2/c^2)^-0.5

 Where v is your speed.


Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2005

8 May 2005