What is it about?

In spite of many attempts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries at understanding why inertia, m, is associated with an irreducible energy, mc^2, its origin has remained a complete mystery to this day. But with our rapidly improving interpretation and understanding of cosmological measurements, we are now in a position of assessing the gravitational binding energy of a mass m to the rest of the visible Universe. It turns out that this energy is indeed mc^2, providing a likely fundamental explanation for Einstein's famous formula, E = mc^2.

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Why is it important?

The origin of Einstein's famous formula, E = mc^2, has remained a complete mystery for over a century. This paper presents a sober analysis of all the possible physical reasons for its existence, showing that only a gravitational influence can account for it. This paper thus has the potential of resolving one of the most important, yet enduring, puzzles in Physics.


The result presented in this paper does not stand alone. It is closely aligned with a possible resolution of another major puzzle in cosmology, having to do with the fact that the Universe has been expanding since the Big Bang with an overall acceleration of zero. This is one of the most serious "coincidences" uncovered in Physics over the past four decades, i.e., that the early deceleration in the Universe is exactly cancelled by the apparent acceleration over its more recent history. The resolution of that puzzle is required for the viability of a gravitational origin for Einstein's formula.

Professor Fulvio Melia
University of Arizona

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The origin of rest-mass energy, The European Physical Journal C, August 2021, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-021-09506-w.
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