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On Einstein’s 1905 paper,
2
E mc = .
A. K. Hariri, N. Hamdan and A. Dahan
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of
Aleppo  Syria
Emails: haririak2000@yahoo.com , nhamdan2@lycos.com
Abstract
As we know the derivation of mass – energy equivalence
which is called Einstein's relation has been derived through
different ways by Einstein and appeared in his article which was
published in 1905. Einstein’s derivation is true under special
conditions only, not in general. Hence Einstein’s relation
opened the door to many researchers who presented many
papers about this relation. On the other hand Einstein’s
derivation also caused a lot of confusion. In this research we
will present Einstein's method in new ways where we will give
a general method that valid to all of the relativistic and non
relativistic phenomena through applying the physical law and
using the classical principle of relativity, namely that the laws
of physics had to have the same form in any frame of reference
instead of the special relativity principle as Einstein did.
Keywords: Alternative theory to Einstein relativity, the
physical law and the classical principle of relativity.
2
1Introduction
Einstein’s special theory of relativity first appeared in June 1905 in the
Annalen der Physik in Leipzig [1]. In September of the same year a short
paper on relativity by Einstein appeared in the same Annalen in Leipzig
too. In Sep. 1905 [2] paper, Einstein produced a derivation of the mass –
energy equivalence relation which is called Einstein's relation. The
conclusion of this paper is that “If a body gives off the energy L in the
form of radiation, its mass diminishes by
L
c
2
. Then He wrote the total
mass energy equation for an excited atom as follows:
2
E mc ∆ = ∆
And that was in comparison with the total energy equation of the photon
which is:
2
mc E = .
Einstein considered his relation as relativistic and it cannot be derived
without using the basics of the theory of special relativity [1]. Einstein's
methods caused a lot of confusion to the researchers. Therefore the
derivations of the mass energy equivalence are done in different ways by
many researchers too [38]. However, nobody appears to have ever asked
the question of how Einstein’s formula
2
mc E = could be proven generally
valid and developed from physical laws [9]. Therefore, we started from
the classical laws to rebuild the theory of special relativity. This enables
us to derive Einstein’s formula
2
mc E = from the classical laws without
any of the wellknown approaches. Our purpose in this paper is to explain
and clarify the defect in Einstein’s methods and then to present a general
way to the derivation of the massenergy equivalence depending on new
basics [1014] in building the theory of special relativity without its
famous contradictions i.e.; the shortcomings of the Lorentz
3
transformation and its kinematic effects; i.e. length contraction and time
dilation [1517].
Einstein Approach 1905
In his paper [1], Einstein showed that the mass of a moving body
increases with its speed as
0
2 2
1 /
m
m
v c
=
−
and the he derived the
relativistic Doppler relations (1 cos )
u
L L
c
γ φ ′ = − . The famous
2
mc E =
relation is a consequence of these facts as we will see.
Einstein started with a thought experiment. He considered an excited
atom at rest in an inertial frame S that emits at one time two photons of
energy L in opposite directions, so the energy of the two photons is:
1 2
2 L L L π υ = = = (1)
If this result will be analyzed from the inertial frame S ′ which is in
relative motion with speed // u ox between them.
We then have:
(1 cos )
u
L L
c
γ φ ′ = − (2)
In the beginning we will resume presenting Einstein’s way in the special
situation when φ =0 and that is for avoiding Stachel and Torretti
criticism [18]. The conservation of energy principle for this situation in
S
can be written as
0 1
1 1
2 2
E E L L = + + (3)
Where
0
E and
1
E are, respectively, total energy of the excited atom
before and after the emission of the light as measured in S . The
conservation of energy principle for the body as observed from
\
S can be
written as:
4
0 1
2
2
1
L
H H
u
c
= +
−
(4)
Where
0
H and
1
H are, respectively, total energy of the body before and
after the emission of the light as measured in
\
S .
Subtracting both Eqs.(3) and Eq. (4) yields:
0 0 1 1
2
2
1
( ) ( ) [ 1]
1
H E H E L
u
c
− − − = −
−
(5)
Einstein then provided following argument:
Thus it is clear the difference H E − can differ from the kinetic energy
K
of the body S only by an additive constant C , and he wrote:
0 0 0
1 1 1
H E K C
H E K C
− = +
− = +
(6)
Here
0
K and
1
K are, respectively, kinetic energy of the body before and
after the emission of the light. Using Eq.(4) and (5), Einstein obtained
from Eq (6) that:
0 1
2
2
1
[ 1]
1
K K L
u
c
− = −
−
(7)
Note that for non relativistic velocities, Eq.(7) becomes
2
0 1 2
1
2
u
K K L
c
− = (8)
Einstein then concluded “If a body gives off the energy L in the form of
radiation, its mass diminishes by
2
L
c
. Einstein's derivation along has
remained persistently debatable of its correctness and completeness. We
can notice that, because the excited atom at rest is, Einstein’s conclusion
is:
(9) L E m c = =
2
0 0
And not as he thought:
5
L E mc = =
2
This criticism was pointed out by Okun [19] a hundred years later. We
will demonstrate in this paragraph that Okun's criticism was correct and
that when we derive the same equation and in the same conditions but
without using the approximation’s way.
We should mention that there was a huge criticism offered by Ives [20]
and it included that by presuming Einstein’s way the Eq.(6) will be
written in the form:
(10)
0 0 0 2
0
1 1 1 2
0
( )
( )
L
H E K C
m c
L
H E K C
m c
− = +
− = +
It is clear that Eq.(10) are not equal to the Eq.(6). We can now easily
avoid Ives’s criticism and that is by considering C =0 in Eq.(10).
It is well known that:
0 1 0 0 1 1
( ) ( ) K K H E H E − = − − −
So the last equation leads directly to Eq.(8) and from which we can get
the result (9).
Actually from Eq.(10) and by considering C =0 as well as by
considering the last equation we find:
2
0 2
0
1
L
L m c
m c
= ⇒ =
And that was the result that Einstein got.
Stachel and Torretti showed other shortcomings in Einstein’s derivation.
That the approximation involved in Eq.(7) is not required to arrive at the
conclusion when exact expressions for kinetic energies
0
K and K are
used in Eq.(7). They stated clearly that Einstein will never get Eq.(7)
except in the special state 0 φ = in Eq.(2) which was followed in this
paragraph. So now by using Eq.(2) but not in the special state 0 φ = and
6
substituting it in Eq.(4) and follow the same procedure above then the
conservation of energy principle can be written for the body as observed
in S
′
as:
0 1
(1 cos )
u
H H L
c
γ φ − = − (11)
The conservation of energy principle for this situation in S can be written
as:
0 1
E E L − = (12)
So the kinetic energy in Eq.(7) becomes:
0 1 0 1 0 1
0 1
( ) ( )
(1 cos )
K K H H E E
u
K K L L
c
γ φ
− = − − −
− = − −
Or
0 1
( 1) cos ,
u
K K L L
c
γ γβ φ β − = − − = (13)
We notice that by using the nonrelativistic situation, Eq.(13) becomes:
2
0 1 2
1
cos
2
u
K K L L
c
γβ φ − = − (14)
Eq.(14) does not represent the kinetic energy according to the Eq.(8)
unless for
2
π
φ = . So Sharma studied this point carefully in his paper [21]
and clarified that as follows:
If we have two light waves which have the energy 0.5 each in the
reference frameS as follows:
The excited atom emits a light wave 0.5L along
x
axis with an angle 30,
the second wave has the same energy in the opposite direction but it
makes along
x
axis an angle 180. Sharma found according to Eq.(14)
that:
2
0 2
1
0.933
2
u u
K K L L
c c
− = −
7
The last equation includes that when a body emits a light energy then its
mass diminishes, but that mass diminishing is not as what Einstein
expected and according to Einstein the diminishing in mass is
2
L
m
c
∆ = .
Since Einstein derived the significant equation mathematically in special
conditions and in a speculation so Einstein’s derivations looks
doubtful [2224].
But the most important criticism to Einstein’s way is our question:
Why we can only derive the relation، E m c =
2
0 0
, of a body by using only
the Newtonian limit.
So we will now demonstrate, according to our method, how are we going
to get the equation without approximation (the Newtonian limit)[25].
We study again an excited atom which emits simultaneously two opposite
photons when it comes back from the excited situation to the basic
situation.
As we published earlier [26, 27], we could get the relativistic mass
relation from the classical Lorentz law:
0
0
2 2
1 /
m
m m
v c
γ = =
−
(15)
In addition to the relativistic Doppler effect:
2 2
2 2
0 0
1 1 1 1
,
1 1 1 1
u u u u
c c c c
u u u u
c c c c
ν ν ν ν
− − − +
′ ′ = = = =
+ + − −
(16)
The first observer is at rest in frame S and the emitted light wave from
the excited atom according to him is:
0
2
E
so the momentum for the two
photons is
0
2
E
c
. But in the second frame S
′
, the moving observer can see
8
the emitted light wave from the excited atom is moving according to him
and the two photons momentum in this case is:
2
0
2
0
2
2
2
1
2
1
E c c u
p
c c u c u c
E u
c
u
c
(
= − −
(
− +
¸ ¸
=
−
(17)
According to the conservation of momentum, the two photons momentum
is equal to the momentum of the excited atom i.e.:
(18)
0
2
2
2
1
E u
c
p mv
u
c
= =
−
In this case that
v u =
so we can get from the equation (4) the following
formula:
0
2
2
2
1
E
m
v
c
c
=
−
(19)
And now by comparing (20) with (16) we can conclude that:
2
0 0
E m c = (20)
Although Einstein assumed that massenergy equivalence applies just for
relativistic phenomena, we showed clearly in the paper [9] that mass
energy equivalence should be considered as a general relation and
inclusive to all physical phenomena. Therefore, we started from the
classical laws to rebuild the theory of special relativity. This enables us to
derive Einstein’s formula
2
mc E = from the classical laws without the
popular approaches i.e.; thought experiment, conservation laws and
collision as well as without the special relativity. So we will show that if
we start from a moving body in an inertial frame in respect to another
inertial frame, we will the find the following relations:
2 2
, E mc E m c ′ ′ = = , (21)
9
but not the special case, i.e.; Eq.(20).
Let us consider two moving inertial system S and S
′
with a relative
velocity // u ox between them. As demonstrated in [10], contrary to what is
often claimed in SRT, the relativistic expressions were derived starting
from the classical relativity principle and the classical Lorentz's law, i.e.
( ) q = + × F E v B
So following a similar approach to that used in [9], we can obtain the
relativistic transformation equation for velocity,
x
x
x
v u
v
uv
c
−
′
=
−
2
1
( a ),
2
1
y
y
x
v
v
uv
c
γ
′ =
 
−

\ ¹
(b) ,
z
z
x
v
v
u
v
c
γ
′
=
−
2
1
(c) (22)
Now the conventional definition of momentum in frames S and S
′
i.e.
v P m =
and
v P ′ ′ = ′ m
, will lead to the true relativistic expression for mass
and energy.
When detected from S the particle we have mentioned above has the
momentum m = p v whose components are:
( ) , ( ), ( )
x x y y z z
p mv a p mv b p mv c = = = (23)
Detected from
S
′
the momentum is ′ P having the components:
( ) , ( ), ( )
x x y y z z
p m v a p m v b p m v c
′ ′ ′ ′ ′ ′ ′ ′ ′
= = = (24)
in accordance with the classical relativity principle. Combining (23a),
(24a) and (22a) we obtain
( )
x x
x
p p um
uv
m
m
c
′
−
=
′
−
2
1
The last equation means that :
( ) ( ), ( ) ( )
x
x x
uv
p k p um a m mk b
c
′ ′
= − = −
2
1 (25)
Wherek represents an unknown constant and this scalar factor k can be
fixed by applying the classical relativity principle to Eqs. (23a), (24a) and
(22a) to get
10
( )
x x
x
p p um
uv
m
m
c
′ ′ +
=
′
′
+
2
1
Suggesting that we should have
( ) ( ), ( ) ( )
x
x x
uv
p k p um a m m k b
c
′
′ ′ ′
= + = +
2
1 (26)
Multiplying (25b) and (26b) side by side we obtain
( )( )
x x
uv uv
k
c c
′
= − +
2
2 2
1 1 1
Now substituting Eq.(22a) in the last equation, leads to
( )
u
k
c
− =
2
2
2
1 1 or k
u
c
=
−
2
2
1
1
(27)
The constant k is equal to the scalar factor γ in Eq.(22).
To simplify, take the special case that the charged particle is at rest in
frame S . Since
,
x x
v v u
′
= =− 0
These results when substituted into Eq.(25b) lead to
m m γ
′
=
0
(28a)
Observers of frame S measure its rest mass m
0
, observers from
S
′
measuring its mass m′ given by Eq.(28a). We can now assume that the
charged particle is at rest in frame S
′
. Since
,
x x
v v u
′
= = 0
These results when substituted into Eq.(26b) lead to
m m γ =
0
(28b)
Observers of frameS
′
measure its rest mass m
0
, observers fromS
measuring its mass m given by Eq.(28b).
Now substituting Eq.(27) in (28a) and (28b), leads to the expression for
the relativistic mass in both frames
11
m
m
v
c
=
−
0
2
2
1
m
m
v
c
′ =
′
−
0
2
2
1
(29a,b)
To obtain the same relativistic combination between the momentum and
energy of the same particle, we start from Eq.(27). We write this equation
as:
u
c
γ γ − =
2
2 2
2
1
Multiplying both its sides with m c
2 4
0
it becomes,
c m c m u m c γ γ − =
4 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 4
0 0 0
(30)
We recognize that the term
, p m u m v u v γ = = =
2 2 2 2 2 2
0
represents the square of the momentum in S . Moreover, the first term
presented as:
( )
v
E m c
c
mc
−
= −
=
1 2
2
2
0 2
2
1
(31)
Eq.(31) is the relativistic energy, and with the new notations (30)
becomes
o
E c p m c = +
2 2 2 2 4
(32)
And now by multiplying the equation (29b) with the constant
2
c we can
get:
2
E m c ′ ′ = , (33)
Eqs.(31,33) represent the total energies in the frames , S S ′
respectively.
Conclusion
The SRT has been presented as a unique solution, yet tens of alternatives
theories are published in the refereed journals and to replace what is
called the SRT. The SRT has been known since its onset as a unifying
12
theory. It unified space and time, matter and energy, and it became the
basis for other unifying theories.
The alternative theories of SRT, however, show the shortcomings of SRT
as a unifying theory. The SRT has removed the barrier between matter
and energy, but it created a new barrier which cannot be transcended
according to some of these theories. This barrier separates what is known
as no relativistic from the relativistic physics domain. The physical laws
appropriate for nonrelativistic physics cannot transcend this barrier and
hence they form classical physics. The physical laws appropriate for
relativistic physics can also cover the nonrelativistic physics domain
through the known approximation of the Lorentz Transformation, and the
Lorentz Transformation will become a Galilean transformation where
appropriate. The more suitable method is to start with the laws of
classical physics and make them conducive to all particle velocities, i.e.
to expand the appropriateness of these laws to deal with relativistic
domain. Therefore, we started from the classical laws and the classical
relativity principle to derive Einstein’s formula
2
mc E = from the classical
laws and to show that Einstein’s formula
2
mc E = can be derived in many
different ways, even without the popular approaches i.e.; thought
experiment, conservation laws and collision as well as without special
relativity.
Acknowledgments
N. Hamdan and A. K. Hariri, are highly indebted to Prof. A. J. Bonilla,
and to Prof. E.G. Bakhoum for lively discussions and communications.
13
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mc E = Am. J. Phys.
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