# conservation of mass and energy in nuclear reactions

## mass and energy in nuclear reactions

Einsteins equation helps scientists understand what happens in nuclear reactions and why they produce so much energy. When the nucleus of a radioisotope undergoes fission or fusion in a nuclear reaction, it loses a tiny amount of mass. What happens to the lost mass? It isnt really lost at all. It is converted to energy. How much energy? E = mc2 . The change in mass is tiny, but it results in a great deal of energy. Q: In a nuclear reaction, mass decreases and energy increases. What about the laws of conservation of mass and conservation of energy? Are mass and energy not conserved in nuclear reactions? Do we need to throw out these laws when it comes to nuclear reactions? A: No, the laws still apply. However, its more correct to say that the sum of mass and energy is always conserved in a nuclear reaction. Mass changes to energy, but the total amount of mass and energy combined remains the same.

## einsteins equation

Einsteins equation is possibly the best-known equation of all time. Theres reason for that. The equation is incredibly important. It changed how scientists view energy and matter, which are two of the most basic concepts in all of science. The equation shows that energy and matter are two forms of the same thing. This new idea turned science upside down when Einstein introduced it in the early 1900s. Amazingly, the idea has withstood the test of time as more and more evidence has been gathered to support it. You can listen to an explanation of Einsteins equation at URL: https://youtu.be/hW7DW9NIO9M Q: What do the letters in Einsteins equation stand for? A: E stands for energy, m stands for mass, and c stands for the speed of light. The speed of light is 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second, so c2 is a very big number. Therefore, the amount of energy in even a small mass of matter is tremendous. Suppose, for example, that you have 1 gram of matter. Thats about the mass of a paperclip. Multiplying this mass by c2 would yield enough energy to power 3,600 homes for a year!

## instructional diagrams

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## questions

the letter e in einsteins equation e = mc2 stands for

``````a) electricity.

b) electrons.

-->  c) energy.

d) efficiency.
``````

the letter c in the equation in question 1 represents a constant.

``````-->  a. true

b. false
``````

the speed of light is 300,000 km per hour.

``````a. true

-->  b. false
``````

einsteins equation has recently been disproven by real-world evidence.

``````a. true

-->  b. false
``````

the amount of energy in a tiny amount of mass is very large.

``````-->  a. true

b. false
``````

einsteins equation shows that mass and energy are not conserved in nuclear reactions.

``````a. true

-->  b. false
``````

## diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson