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A sculpture of Albert Einstein and his massenergy equivalence formula in Irrhausen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

After the formula of massenergy equivalence, an important principle discovered by the German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (1879–1955).

The formula entered the popular consciousness after it was included in the opening pages of the Smyth Report (1945), a widely read document that explained the United States’ nuclear weapons program to the public for the first time. Its appearance alongside a portrait of the (already well known) Einstein on a Time magazine cover the following year consolidated its fame.



E=mc² (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic, informal) A formulation or realization that captures a profound thought in simple terms.
    • 1999, Mary Lynn Damhorst, Kimberly A. Miller-Spillman, Susan O. Michelman, The Meanings of Dress, New York, N.Y.: Fairchild Publications, →ISBN, page 351:
      "Beauty isn't about looking young." OK, so it's not E=mc² or even [Isaac] Newton's apple. But coming as it does from a top cosmetics company, it does represent an attitude readjustment that makes Saul's change of heart on the road to Damascus look like a passing fancy.
    • 2001, Neil Henry, “Tenth Man Classic”, in Pearl’s Secret: A Black Man’s Search for His White Family (The George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies), Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.; London: University of California Press, →ISBN, part 2 (Discovery), page 282:
      What counted most through the generations, far more than any other factor, regardless of our race, was how we treated those we loved and how well we loved. That seemed the transcendent lesson or moral that my search had revealed. And it held true whether the figure was my mother or Fredda on one side of our family tree, or Rita or Anna Beaumont on the other. Simple as it was, it was my E = mc².
    • 2005, Jeff Byles, “Fragmentation at a Price”, in Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition, New York, N.Y.: Harmony Books, →ISBN, page 70:
      What Jacques Derrida is to literature, [Mark] Loizeaux is to [building] demolition: He's the philosopher king of demolition. [] Loizeaux's battle plan remains formidably elegant, the E = MC² of demolition.
    • 2010, Stephen Batchelor, “Embrace Suffering”, in Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, New York, N.Y.: Spiegel & Grau, →ISBN, page 154:
      If conditioned arising was the e = mc² of Gotama [i.e., Siddhartha Gautama]'s vision, the eightfold path was his first move in translating that axiom from an abstract principle into a civilizing force.

Further reading[edit]



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  • IPA(key): /ə e.ɡa.l‿ɛm se dø/



  1. E=mc²