On the Controversy over the Logical Correctness of Einstein’s First Paper on Mass-Energy Equivalence

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DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2021.101003    422 Downloads   1,703 Views  

ABSTRACT

It is well-known that Einstein’s first attempt to explain E = mc2 which was published in Annalen der Physik in 1905, has been criticized as problematic. In particular, it has been shown by Ives and reiterated by Jammer that it suffers from the error of circular reasoning. Attempts have been made in the scientific literature to discount the circular reasoning objection of Ives, Jammer, Arzeliès and others. Fritz Rohrlich in 1990 gave a remarkably simple and concise derivation of E = mc2 along lines similar to Einstein’s but based on both momentum and energy conservation, in contrast to Einstein’s which uses only energy considerations. Rohrlich’s approach using momentum conservation is an alternative to Einstein’s, which is free from objection in logical error, and we make it quite clear on the importance of the implicit assumption of momentum conservation in any attempt to refute the circular reasoning error in Einstein’s paper. It is our contention that this point is overlooked or altogether avoided by those who have attempted to uproot the circular reasoning criticism of Einstein’s paper.

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Moylan, P. , Yan, L. and Gironda, M. (2021) On the Controversy over the Logical Correctness of Einstein’s First Paper on Mass-Energy Equivalence. Advances in Historical Studies, 10, 21-33. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2021.101003.

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