In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object.[note 1] Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.

Common forms of energy include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the potential energy stored by an object's position in a force field (gravitational, electric or magnetic), the elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when a fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object's temperature.

Mass and energy are closely related. Due to mass–energy equivalence, any object that has mass when stationary (called rest mass) also has an equivalent amount of energy whose form is called rest energy, and any additional energy (of any form) acquired by the object above that rest energy will increase the object's total mass just as it increases its total energy. For example, after heating an object, its increase in energy could be measured as a small increase in mass, with a sensitive enough scale.

Living organisms require available energy to stay alive, such as the energy humans get from food. Human civilization requires energy to function, which it gets from energy resources such as fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, or renewable energy. The processes of Earth's climate and ecosystem are driven by the radiant energy Earth receives from the sun and the geothermal energy contained within the earth.

Sun in February (black version)
The Sun is the source of energy for most of life on Earth. As a star, the Sun is heated to high temperatures by the conversion of nuclear binding energy due to the fusion of hydrogen in its core. This energy is ultimately transferred (released) into space mainly in the form of radiant (light) energy.
Common symbols
SI unitjoule
Other units
erg, calorie, kcal, BTU, kW⋅h, eV
In SI base unitsJ = kg m2 s−2
DimensionM L2 T−2


Lightning over Oradea Romania zoom
In a typical lightning strike, 500 megajoules of electric potential energy is converted into the same amount of energy in other forms, mostly light energy, sound energy and thermal energy.
Hot metalwork
Thermal energy is energy of microscopic constituents of matter, which may include both kinetic and potential energy.

The total energy of a system can be subdivided and classified into potential energy, kinetic energy, or combinations of the two in various ways. Kinetic energy is determined by the movement of an object – or the composite motion of the components of an object – and potential energy reflects the potential of an object to have motion, and generally is a function of the position of an object within a field or may be stored in the field itself.

While these two categories are sufficient to describe all forms of energy, it is often convenient to refer to particular combinations of potential and kinetic energy as its own form. For example, macroscopic mechanical energy is the sum of translational and rotational kinetic and potential energy in a system neglects the kinetic energy due to temperature, and nuclear energy which combines utilize potentials from the nuclear force and the weak force), among others.

Some forms of energy (that an object or system can have as a measurable property)
Type of energy Description
Mechanical the sum of macroscopic translational and rotational kinetic and potential energies
Electric potential energy due to or stored in electric fields
Magnetic potential energy due to or stored in magnetic fields
Gravitational potential energy due to or stored in gravitational fields
Chemical potential energy due to chemical bonds
Ionization potential energy that binds an electron to its atom or molecule
Nuclear potential energy that binds nucleons to form the atomic nucleus (and nuclear reactions)
Chromodynamic potential energy that binds quarks to form hadrons
Elastic potential energy due to the deformation of a material (or its container) exhibiting a restorative force
Mechanical wave kinetic and potential energy in an elastic material due to a propagated deformational wave
Sound wave kinetic and potential energy in a fluid due to a sound propagated wave (a particular form of mechanical wave)
Radiant potential energy stored in the fields of propagated by electromagnetic radiation, including light
Rest potential energy due to an object's rest mass
Thermal kinetic energy of the microscopic motion of particles, a form of disordered equivalent of mechanical energy


Thomas Young (scientist)
Thomas Young – the first to use the term "energy" in the modern sense.

The word energy derives from the Ancient Greek: ἐνέργεια, translit. energeia, lit. 'activity, operation',[1] which possibly appears for the first time in the work of Aristotle in the 4th century BC. In contrast to the modern definition, energeia was a qualitative philosophical concept, broad enough to include ideas such as happiness and pleasure.

In the late 17th century, Gottfried Leibniz proposed the idea of the Latin: vis viva, or living force, which defined as the product of the mass of an object and its velocity squared; he believed that total vis viva was conserved. To account for slowing due to friction, Leibniz theorized that thermal energy consisted of the random motion of the constituent parts of matter, although it would be more than a century until this was generally accepted. The modern analog of this property, kinetic energy, differs from vis viva only by a factor of two.

In 1807, Thomas Young was possibly the first to use the term "energy" instead of vis viva, in its modern sense.[2] Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis described "kinetic energy" in 1829 in its modern sense, and in 1853, William Rankine coined the term "potential energy". The law of conservation of energy was also first postulated in the early 19th century, and applies to any isolated system. It was argued for some years whether heat was a physical substance, dubbed the caloric, or merely a physical quantity, such as momentum. In 1845 James Prescott Joule discovered the link between mechanical work and the generation of heat.

These developments led to the theory of conservation of energy, formalized largely by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) as the field of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics aided the rapid development of explanations of chemical processes by Rudolf Clausius, Josiah Willard Gibbs, and Walther Nernst. It also led to a mathematical formulation of the concept of entropy by Clausius and to the introduction of laws of radiant energy by Jožef Stefan. According to Noether's theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time.[3] Thus, since 1918, theorists have understood that the law of conservation of energy is the direct mathematical consequence of the translational symmetry of the quantity conjugate to energy, namely time.

Units of measure

Joule's Apparatus (Harper's Scan)
Joule's apparatus for measuring the mechanical equivalent of heat. A descending weight attached to a string causes a paddle immersed in water to rotate.

In 1843, James Prescott Joule independently discovered the mechanical equivalent in a series of experiments. The most famous of them used the "Joule apparatus": a descending weight, attached to a string, caused rotation of a paddle immersed in water, practically insulated from heat transfer. It showed that the gravitational potential energy lost by the weight in descending was equal to the internal energy gained by the water through friction with the paddle.

In the International System of Units (SI), the unit of energy is the joule, named after James Prescott Joule. It is a derived unit. It is equal to the energy expended (or work done) in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre. However energy is also expressed in many other units not part of the SI, such as ergs, calories, British Thermal Units, kilowatt-hours and kilocalories, which require a conversion factor when expressed in SI units.

The SI unit of energy rate (energy per unit time) is the watt, which is a joule per second. Thus, one joule is one watt-second, and 3600 joules equal one watt-hour. The CGS energy unit is the erg and the imperial and US customary unit is the foot pound. Other energy units such as the electronvolt, food calorie or thermodynamic kcal (based on the temperature change of water in a heating process), and BTU are used in specific areas of science and commerce.

Scientific use

Classical mechanics

In classical mechanics, energy is a conceptually and mathematically useful property, as it is a conserved quantity. Several formulations of mechanics have been developed using energy as a core concept.

Work, a function of energy, is force times distance.

This says that the work () is equal to the line integral of the force F along a path C; for details see the mechanical work article. Work and thus energy is frame dependent. For example, consider a ball being hit by a bat. In the center-of-mass reference frame, the bat does no work on the ball. But, in the reference frame of the person swinging the bat, considerable work is done on the ball.

The total energy of a system is sometimes called the Hamiltonian, after William Rowan Hamilton. The classical equations of motion can be written in terms of the Hamiltonian, even for highly complex or abstract systems. These classical equations have remarkably direct analogs in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics.[4]

Another energy-related concept is called the Lagrangian, after Joseph-Louis Lagrange. This formalism is as fundamental as the Hamiltonian, and both can be used to derive the equations of motion or be derived from them. It was invented in the context of classical mechanics, but is generally useful in modern physics. The Lagrangian is defined as the kinetic energy minus the potential energy. Usually, the Lagrange formalism is mathematically more convenient than the Hamiltonian for non-conservative systems (such as systems with friction).

Noether's theorem (1918) states that any differentiable symmetry of the action of a physical system has a corresponding conservation law. Noether's theorem has become a fundamental tool of modern theoretical physics and the calculus of variations. A generalisation of the seminal formulations on constants of motion in Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics (1788 and 1833, respectively), it does not apply to systems that cannot be modeled with a Lagrangian; for example, dissipative systems with continuous symmetries need not have a corresponding conservation law.


In the context of chemistry, energy is an attribute of a substance as a consequence of its atomic, molecular or aggregate structure. Since a chemical transformation is accompanied by a change in one or more of these kinds of structure, it is invariably accompanied by an increase or decrease of energy of the substances involved. Some energy is transferred between the surroundings and the reactants of the reaction in the form of heat or light; thus the products of a reaction may have more or less energy than the reactants. A reaction is said to be exergonic if the final state is lower on the energy scale than the initial state; in the case of endergonic reactions the situation is the reverse. Chemical reactions are invariably not possible unless the reactants surmount an energy barrier known as the activation energy. The speed of a chemical reaction (at given temperature T) is related to the activation energy E, by the Boltzmann's population factor eE/kT – that is the probability of molecule to have energy greater than or equal to E at the given temperature T. This exponential dependence of a reaction rate on temperature is known as the Arrhenius equation.The activation energy necessary for a chemical reaction can be in the form of thermal energy.


Energy and life
Basic overview of energy and human life.

In biology, energy is an attribute of all biological systems from the biosphere to the smallest living organism. Within an organism it is responsible for growth and development of a biological cell or an organelle of a biological organism. Energy is thus often said to be stored by cells in the structures of molecules of substances such as carbohydrates (including sugars), lipids, and proteins, which release energy when reacted with oxygen in respiration. In human terms, the human equivalent (H-e) (Human energy conversion) indicates, for a given amount of energy expenditure, the relative quantity of energy needed for human metabolism, assuming an average human energy expenditure of 12,500 kJ per day and a basal metabolic rate of 80 watts. For example, if our bodies run (on average) at 80 watts, then a light bulb running at 100 watts is running at 1.25 human equivalents (100 ÷ 80) i.e. 1.25 H-e. For a difficult task of only a few seconds' duration, a person can put out thousands of watts, many times the 746 watts in one official horsepower. For tasks lasting a few minutes, a fit human can generate perhaps 1,000 watts. For an activity that must be sustained for an hour, output drops to around 300; for an activity kept up all day, 150 watts is about the maximum.[5] The human equivalent assists understanding of energy flows in physical and biological systems by expressing energy units in human terms: it provides a "feel" for the use of a given amount of energy.[6]

Sunlight's radiant energy is also captured by plants as chemical potential energy in photosynthesis, when carbon dioxide and water (two low-energy compounds) are converted into the high-energy compounds carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Plants also release oxygen during photosynthesis, which is utilized by living organisms as an electron acceptor, to release the energy of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Release of the energy stored during photosynthesis as heat or light may be triggered suddenly by a spark, in a forest fire, or it may be made available more slowly for animal or human metabolism, when these molecules are ingested, and catabolism is triggered by enzyme action.

Any living organism relies on an external source of energy – radiant energy from the Sun in the case of green plants, chemical energy in some form in the case of animals – to be able to grow and reproduce. The daily 1500–2000 Calories (6–8 MJ) recommended for a human adult are taken as a combination of oxygen and food molecules, the latter mostly carbohydrates and fats, of which glucose (C6H12O6) and stearin (C57H110O6) are convenient examples. The food molecules are oxidised to carbon dioxide and water in the mitochondria

C57H110O6 + 81.5O2 → 57CO2 + 55H2O

and some of the energy is used to convert ADP into ATP.

ADP + HPO42− → ATP + H2O

The rest of the chemical energy in O2[7] and the carbohydrate or fat is converted into heat: the ATP is used as a sort of "energy currency", and some of the chemical energy it contains is used for other metabolism when ATP reacts with OH groups and eventually splits into ADP and phosphate (at each stage of a metabolic pathway, some chemical energy is converted into heat). Only a tiny fraction of the original chemical energy is used for work:[note 2]

gain in kinetic energy of a sprinter during a 100 m race: 4 kJ
gain in gravitational potential energy of a 150 kg weight lifted through 2 metres: 3 kJ
Daily food intake of a normal adult: 6–8 MJ

It would appear that living organisms are remarkably inefficient (in the physical sense) in their use of the energy they receive (chemical or radiant energy), and it is true that most real machines manage higher efficiencies. In growing organisms the energy that is converted to heat serves a vital purpose, as it allows the organism tissue to be highly ordered with regard to the molecules it is built from. The second law of thermodynamics states that energy (and matter) tends to become more evenly spread out across the universe: to concentrate energy (or matter) in one specific place, it is necessary to spread out a greater amount of energy (as heat) across the remainder of the universe ("the surroundings").[note 3] Simpler organisms can achieve higher energy efficiencies than more complex ones, but the complex organisms can occupy ecological niches that are not available to their simpler brethren. The conversion of a portion of the chemical energy to heat at each step in a metabolic pathway is the physical reason behind the pyramid of biomass observed in ecology: to take just the first step in the food chain, of the estimated 124.7 Pg/a of carbon that is fixed by photosynthesis, 64.3 Pg/a (52%) are used for the metabolism of green plants,[8] i.e. reconverted into carbon dioxide and heat.

Earth sciences

In geology, continental drift, mountain ranges, volcanoes, and earthquakes are phenomena that can be explained in terms of energy transformations in the Earth's interior,[9] while meteorological phenomena like wind, rain, hail, snow, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes are all a result of energy transformations brought about by solar energy on the atmosphere of the planet Earth.

Sunlight may be stored as gravitational potential energy after it strikes the Earth, as (for example) water evaporates from oceans and is deposited upon mountains (where, after being released at a hydroelectric dam, it can be used to drive turbines or generators to produce electricity). Sunlight also drives many weather phenomena, save those generated by volcanic events. An example of a solar-mediated weather event is a hurricane, which occurs when large unstable areas of warm ocean, heated over months, give up some of their thermal energy suddenly to power a few days of violent air movement.

In a slower process, radioactive decay of atoms in the core of the Earth releases heat. This thermal energy drives plate tectonics and may lift mountains, via orogenesis. This slow lifting represents a kind of gravitational potential energy storage of the thermal energy, which may be later released to active kinetic energy in landslides, after a triggering event. Earthquakes also release stored elastic potential energy in rocks, a store that has been produced ultimately from the same radioactive heat sources. Thus, according to present understanding, familiar events such as landslides and earthquakes release energy that has been stored as potential energy in the Earth's gravitational field or elastic strain (mechanical potential energy) in rocks. Prior to this, they represent release of energy that has been stored in heavy atoms since the collapse of long-destroyed supernova stars created these atoms.


In cosmology and astronomy the phenomena of stars, nova, supernova, quasars and gamma-ray bursts are the universe's highest-output energy transformations of matter. All stellar phenomena (including solar activity) are driven by various kinds of energy transformations. Energy in such transformations is either from gravitational collapse of matter (usually molecular hydrogen) into various classes of astronomical objects (stars, black holes, etc.), or from nuclear fusion (of lighter elements, primarily hydrogen). The nuclear fusion of hydrogen in the Sun also releases another store of potential energy which was created at the time of the Big Bang. At that time, according to theory, space expanded and the universe cooled too rapidly for hydrogen to completely fuse into heavier elements. This meant that hydrogen represents a store of potential energy that can be released by fusion. Such a fusion process is triggered by heat and pressure generated from gravitational collapse of hydrogen clouds when they produce stars, and some of the fusion energy is then transformed into sunlight.

Quantum mechanics

In quantum mechanics, energy is defined in terms of the energy operator as a time derivative of the wave function. The Schrödinger equation equates the energy operator to the full energy of a particle or a system. Its results can be considered as a definition of measurement of energy in quantum mechanics. The Schrödinger equation describes the space- and time-dependence of a slowly changing (non-relativistic) wave function of quantum systems. The solution of this equation for a bound system is discrete (a set of permitted states, each characterized by an energy level) which results in the concept of quanta. In the solution of the Schrödinger equation for any oscillator (vibrator) and for electromagnetic waves in a vacuum, the resulting energy states are related to the frequency by Planck's relation: (where is Planck's constant and the frequency). In the case of an electromagnetic wave these energy states are called quanta of light or photons.


When calculating kinetic energy (work to accelerate a massive body from zero speed to some finite speed) relativistically – using Lorentz transformations instead of Newtonian mechanics – Einstein discovered an unexpected by-product of these calculations to be an energy term which does not vanish at zero speed. He called it rest energy: energy which every massive body must possess even when being at rest. The amount of energy is directly proportional to the mass of the body:



m is the mass of the body,
c is the speed of light in vacuum,
is the rest energy.

For example, consider electronpositron annihilation, in which the rest energy of these two individual particles (equivalent to their rest mass) is converted to the radiant energy of the photons produced in the process. In this system the matter and antimatter (electrons and positrons) are destroyed and changed to non-matter (the photons). However, the total mass and total energy do not change during this interaction. The photons each have no rest mass but nonetheless have radiant energy which exhibits the same inertia as did the two original particles. This is a reversible process – the inverse process is called pair creation – in which the rest mass of particles is created from the radiant energy of two (or more) annihilating photons.

In general relativity, the stress–energy tensor serves as the source term for the gravitational field, in rough analogy to the way mass serves as the source term in the non-relativistic Newtonian approximation.[10]

Energy and mass are manifestations of one and the same underlying physical property of a system. This property is responsible for the inertia and strength of gravitational interaction of the system ("mass manifestations"), and is also responsible for the potential ability of the system to perform work or heating ("energy manifestations"), subject to the limitations of other physical laws.

In classical physics, energy is a scalar quantity, the canonical conjugate to time. In special relativity energy is also a scalar (although not a Lorentz scalar but a time component of the energy–momentum 4-vector).[10] In other words, energy is invariant with respect to rotations of space, but not invariant with respect to rotations of space-time (= boosts).


Some forms of transfer of energy ("energy in transit") from one object or system to another
Type of transfer process Description
Heat that amount of thermal energy in transit spontaneously towards a lower-temperature object
Work that amount of energy in transit due to a displacement in the direction of an applied force
Transfer of material that amount of energy carried by matter that is moving from one system to another
A turbo generator transforms the energy of pressurised steam into electrical energy

Energy may be transformed between different forms at various efficiencies. Items that transform between these forms are called transducers. Examples of transducers include a battery, from chemical energy to electric energy; a dam: gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy of moving water (and the blades of a turbine) and ultimately to electric energy through an electric generator; or a heat engine, from heat to work.

Examples of energy transformation include generating electric energy from heat energy via a steam turbine, or lifting an object against gravity using electrical energy driving a crane motor. Lifting against gravity performs mechanical work on the object and stores gravitational potential energy in the object. If the object falls to the ground, gravity does mechanical work on the object which transforms the potential energy in the gravitational field to the kinetic energy released as heat on impact with the ground. Our Sun transforms nuclear potential energy to other forms of energy; its total mass does not decrease due to that in itself (since it still contains the same total energy even if in different forms), but its mass does decrease when the energy escapes out to its surroundings, largely as radiant energy.

There are strict limits to how efficiently heat can be converted into work in a cyclic process, e.g. in a heat engine, as described by Carnot's theorem and the second law of thermodynamics. However, some energy transformations can be quite efficient. The direction of transformations in energy (what kind of energy is transformed to what other kind) is often determined by entropy (equal energy spread among all available degrees of freedom) considerations. In practice all energy transformations are permitted on a small scale, but certain larger transformations are not permitted because it is statistically unlikely that energy or matter will randomly move into more concentrated forms or smaller spaces.

Energy transformations in the universe over time are characterized by various kinds of potential energy that has been available since the Big Bang later being "released" (transformed to more active types of energy such as kinetic or radiant energy) when a triggering mechanism is available. Familiar examples of such processes include nuclear decay, in which energy is released that was originally "stored" in heavy isotopes (such as uranium and thorium), by nucleosynthesis, a process ultimately using the gravitational potential energy released from the gravitational collapse of supernovae, to store energy in the creation of these heavy elements before they were incorporated into the solar system and the Earth. This energy is triggered and released in nuclear fission bombs or in civil nuclear power generation. Similarly, in the case of a chemical explosion, chemical potential energy is transformed to kinetic energy and thermal energy in a very short time. Yet another example is that of a pendulum. At its highest points the kinetic energy is zero and the gravitational potential energy is at maximum. At its lowest point the kinetic energy is at maximum and is equal to the decrease of potential energy. If one (unrealistically) assumes that there is no friction or other losses, the conversion of energy between these processes would be perfect, and the pendulum would continue swinging forever.

Energy is also transferred from potential energy () to kinetic energy () and then back to potential energy constantly. This is referred to as conservation of energy. In this closed system, energy cannot be created or destroyed; therefore, the initial energy and the final energy will be equal to each other. This can be demonstrated by the following:


The equation can then be simplified further since (mass times acceleration due to gravity times the height) and (half mass times velocity squared). Then the total amount of energy can be found by adding .

Conservation of energy and mass in transformation

Energy gives rise to weight when it is trapped in a system with zero momentum, where it can be weighed. It is also equivalent to mass, and this mass is always associated with it. Mass is also equivalent to a certain amount of energy, and likewise always appears associated with it, as described in mass-energy equivalence. The formula E = mc², derived by Albert Einstein (1905) quantifies the relationship between rest-mass and rest-energy within the concept of special relativity. In different theoretical frameworks, similar formulas were derived by J.J. Thomson (1881), Henri Poincaré (1900), Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1904) and others (see Mass-energy equivalence#History for further information).

Part of the rest energy (equivalent to rest mass) of matter may be converted to other forms of energy (still exhibiting mass), but neither energy nor mass can be destroyed; rather, both remain constant during any process. However, since is extremely large relative to ordinary human scales, the conversion of an everyday amount of rest mass (for example, 1 kg) from rest energy to other forms of energy (such as kinetic energy, thermal energy, or the radiant energy carried by light and other radiation) can liberate tremendous amounts of energy (~ joules = 21 megatons of TNT), as can be seen in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Conversely, the mass equivalent of an everyday amount energy is minuscule, which is why a loss of energy (loss of mass) from most systems is difficult to measure on a weighing scale, unless the energy loss is very large. Examples of large transformations between rest energy (of matter) and other forms of energy (e.g., kinetic energy into particles with rest mass) are found in nuclear physics and particle physics.

Reversible and non-reversible transformations

Thermodynamics divides energy transformation into two kinds: reversible processes and irreversible processes. An irreversible process is one in which energy is dissipated (spread) into empty energy states available in a volume, from which it cannot be recovered into more concentrated forms (fewer quantum states), without degradation of even more energy. A reversible process is one in which this sort of dissipation does not happen. For example, conversion of energy from one type of potential field to another, is reversible, as in the pendulum system described above. In processes where heat is generated, quantum states of lower energy, present as possible excitations in fields between atoms, act as a reservoir for part of the energy, from which it cannot be recovered, in order to be converted with 100% efficiency into other forms of energy. In this case, the energy must partly stay as heat, and cannot be completely recovered as usable energy, except at the price of an increase in some other kind of heat-like increase in disorder in quantum states, in the universe (such as an expansion of matter, or a randomisation in a crystal).

As the universe evolves in time, more and more of its energy becomes trapped in irreversible states (i.e., as heat or other kinds of increases in disorder). This has been referred to as the inevitable thermodynamic heat death of the universe. In this heat death the energy of the universe does not change, but the fraction of energy which is available to do work through a heat engine, or be transformed to other usable forms of energy (through the use of generators attached to heat engines), grows less and less.

Conservation of energy

The fact that energy can be neither created nor be destroyed is called the law of conservation of energy. In the form of the first law of thermodynamics, this states that a closed system's energy is constant unless energy is transferred in or out by work or heat, and that no energy is lost in transfer. The total inflow of energy into a system must equal the total outflow of energy from the system, plus the change in the energy contained within the system. Whenever one measures (or calculates) the total energy of a system of particles whose interactions do not depend explicitly on time, it is found that the total energy of the system always remains constant.[11]

While heat can always be fully converted into work in a reversible isothermal expansion of an ideal gas, for cyclic processes of practical interest in heat engines the second law of thermodynamics states that the system doing work always loses some energy as waste heat. This creates a limit to the amount of heat energy that can do work in a cyclic process, a limit called the available energy. Mechanical and other forms of energy can be transformed in the other direction into thermal energy without such limitations.[12] The total energy of a system can be calculated by adding up all forms of energy in the system.

Richard Feynman said during a 1961 lecture:[13]

There is a fact, or if you wish, a law, governing all natural phenomena that are known to date. There is no known exception to this law – it is exact so far as we know. The law is called the conservation of energy. It states that there is a certain quantity, which we call energy, that does not change in manifold changes which nature undergoes. That is a most abstract idea, because it is a mathematical principle; it says that there is a numerical quantity which does not change when something happens. It is not a description of a mechanism, or anything concrete; it is just a strange fact that we can calculate some number and when we finish watching nature go through her tricks and calculate the number again, it is the same.

Most kinds of energy (with gravitational energy being a notable exception)[14] are subject to strict local conservation laws as well. In this case, energy can only be exchanged between adjacent regions of space, and all observers agree as to the volumetric density of energy in any given space. There is also a global law of conservation of energy, stating that the total energy of the universe cannot change; this is a corollary of the local law, but not vice versa.[12][13]

This law is a fundamental principle of physics. As shown rigorously by Noether's theorem, the conservation of energy is a mathematical consequence of translational symmetry of time,[15] a property of most phenomena below the cosmic scale that makes them independent of their locations on the time coordinate. Put differently, yesterday, today, and tomorrow are physically indistinguishable. This is because energy is the quantity which is canonical conjugate to time. This mathematical entanglement of energy and time also results in the uncertainty principle - it is impossible to define the exact amount of energy during any definite time interval. The uncertainty principle should not be confused with energy conservation - rather it provides mathematical limits to which energy can in principle be defined and measured.

Each of the basic forces of nature is associated with a different type of potential energy, and all types of potential energy (like all other types of energy) appears as system mass, whenever present. For example, a compressed spring will be slightly more massive than before it was compressed. Likewise, whenever energy is transferred between systems by any mechanism, an associated mass is transferred with it.

In quantum mechanics energy is expressed using the Hamiltonian operator. On any time scales, the uncertainty in the energy is by

which is similar in form to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (but not really mathematically equivalent thereto, since H and t are not dynamically conjugate variables, neither in classical nor in quantum mechanics).

In particle physics, this inequality permits a qualitative understanding of virtual particles which carry momentum, exchange by which and with real particles, is responsible for the creation of all known fundamental forces (more accurately known as fundamental interactions). Virtual photons (which are simply lowest quantum mechanical energy state of photons) are also responsible for electrostatic interaction between electric charges (which results in Coulomb law), for spontaneous radiative decay of exited atomic and nuclear states, for the Casimir force, for van der Waals bond forces and some other observable phenomena.

Energy transfer

Closed systems

Energy transfer can be considered for the special case of systems which are closed to transfers of matter. The portion of the energy which is transferred by conservative forces over a distance is measured as the work the source system does on the receiving system. The portion of the energy which does not do work during the transfer is called heat.[note 4] Energy can be transferred between systems in a variety of ways. Examples include the transmission of electromagnetic energy via photons, physical collisions which transfer kinetic energy,[note 5] and the conductive transfer of thermal energy.

Energy is strictly conserved and is also locally conserved wherever it can be defined. In thermodynamics, for closed systems, the process of energy transfer is described by the first law:[note 6]


where is the amount of energy transferred,   represents the work done on the system, and represents the heat flow into the system. As a simplification, the heat term, , is sometimes ignored, especially when the thermal efficiency of the transfer is high.


This simplified equation is the one used to define the joule, for example.

Open systems

Beyond the constraints of closed systems, open systems can gain or lose energy in association with matter transfer (both of these process are illustrated by fueling an auto, a system which gains in energy thereby, without addition of either work or heat). Denoting this energy by , one may write



Internal energy

Internal energy is the sum of all microscopic forms of energy of a system. It is the energy needed to create the system. It is related to the potential energy, e.g., molecular structure, crystal structure, and other geometric aspects, as well as the motion of the particles, in form of kinetic energy. Thermodynamics is chiefly concerned with changes in internal energy and not its absolute value, which is impossible to determine with thermodynamics alone.[16]

First law of thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics asserts that energy (but not necessarily thermodynamic free energy) is always conserved[17] and that heat flow is a form of energy transfer. For homogeneous systems, with a well-defined temperature and pressure, a commonly used corollary of the first law is that, for a system subject only to pressure forces and heat transfer (e.g., a cylinder-full of gas) without chemical changes, the differential change in the internal energy of the system (with a gain in energy signified by a positive quantity) is given as


where the first term on the right is the heat transferred into the system, expressed in terms of temperature T and entropy S (in which entropy increases and the change dS is positive when the system is heated), and the last term on the right hand side is identified as work done on the system, where pressure is P and volume V (the negative sign results since compression of the system requires work to be done on it and so the volume change, dV, is negative when work is done on the system).

This equation is highly specific, ignoring all chemical, electrical, nuclear, and gravitational forces, effects such as advection of any form of energy other than heat and pV-work. The general formulation of the first law (i.e., conservation of energy) is valid even in situations in which the system is not homogeneous. For these cases the change in internal energy of a closed system is expressed in a general form by

where is the heat supplied to the system and is the work applied to the system.

Equipartition of energy

The energy of a mechanical harmonic oscillator (a mass on a spring) is alternatively kinetic and potential. At two points in the oscillation cycle it is entirely kinetic, and at two points it is entirely potential. Over the whole cycle, or over many cycles, net energy is thus equally split between kinetic and potential. This is called equipartition principle; total energy of a system with many degrees of freedom is equally split among all available degrees of freedom.

This principle is vitally important to understanding the behaviour of a quantity closely related to energy, called entropy. Entropy is a measure of evenness of a distribution of energy between parts of a system. When an isolated system is given more degrees of freedom (i.e., given new available energy states that are the same as existing states), then total energy spreads over all available degrees equally without distinction between "new" and "old" degrees. This mathematical result is called the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics is valid only for systems which are near or in equilibrium state. For non-equilibrium systems, the laws governing system's behavior are still debatable. One of the guiding principles for these systems is the principle of maximum entropy production.[18][19] It states that nonequilibrium systems behave in such a way to maximize its entropy production.[20]

See also


  1. ^ The second law of thermodynamics imposes limitations on the capacity of a system to transfer energy by performing work, since some of the system's energy might necessarily be consumed in the form of heat instead. See e.g. Lehrman, Robert L. (1973). "Energy Is Not The Ability To Do Work". The Physics Teacher. 11 (1): 15–18. Bibcode:1973PhTea..11...15L. doi:10.1119/1.2349846. ISSN 0031-921X.
  2. ^ These examples are solely for illustration, as it is not the energy available for work which limits the performance of the athlete but the power output of the sprinter and the force of the weightlifter. A worker stacking shelves in a supermarket does more work (in the physical sense) than either of the athletes, but does it more slowly.
  3. ^ Crystals are another example of highly ordered systems that exist in nature: in this case too, the order is associated with the transfer of a large amount of heat (known as the lattice energy) to the surroundings.
  4. ^ Although heat is "wasted" energy for a specific energy transfer,(see: waste heat) it can often be harnessed to do useful work in subsequent interactions. However, the maximum energy that can be "recycled" from such recovery processes is limited by the second law of thermodynamics.
  5. ^ The mechanism for most macroscopic physical collisions is actually electromagnetic, but it is very common to simplify the interaction by ignoring the mechanism of collision and just calculate the beginning and end result.
  6. ^ There are several sign conventions for this equation. Here, the signs in this equation follow the IUPAC convention.


  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Energy". Online Etymology Dictionary. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved May 1, 2007.
  2. ^ Smith, Crosbie (1998). The Science of Energy – a Cultural History of Energy Physics in Victorian Britain. The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-76420-7.
  3. ^ Lofts, G; O'Keeffe D; et al. (2004). "11 – Mechanical Interactions". Jacaranda Physics 1 (2 ed.). Milton, Queensland, Australia: John Willey & Sons Australia Ltd. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-7016-3777-4.
  4. ^ The Hamiltonian MIT OpenCourseWare website 18.013A Chapter 16.3 Accessed February 2007
  5. ^ "Retrieved on May-29-09". Archived from the original on 2010-06-04. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
  6. ^ Bicycle calculator – speed, weight, wattage etc. "Bike Calculator". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-29..
  7. ^ Schmidt-Rohr, K (2015). "Why Combustions Are Always Exothermic, Yielding About 418 kJ per Mole of O2". J. Chem. Educ. 92 (12): 2094–2099. Bibcode:2015JChEd..92.2094S. doi:10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00333.
  8. ^ Ito, Akihito; Oikawa, Takehisa (2004). "Global Mapping of Terrestrial Primary Productivity and Light-Use Efficiency with a Process-Based Model. Archived 2006-10-02 at the Wayback Machine" in Shiyomi, M. et al. (Eds.) Global Environmental Change in the Ocean and on Land. pp. 343–58.
  9. ^ "Earth's Energy Budget". Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
  10. ^ a b Misner, Thorne, Wheeler (1973). Gravitation. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 978-0-7167-0344-0.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Berkeley Physics Course Volume 1. Charles Kittel, Walter D Knight and Malvin A Ruderman
  12. ^ a b The Laws of Thermodynamics Archived 2006-12-15 at the Wayback Machine including careful definitions of energy, free energy, et cetera.
  13. ^ a b Feynman, Richard (1964). The Feynman Lectures on Physics; Volume 1. U.S.A: Addison Wesley. ISBN 978-0-201-02115-8.
  14. ^ "E. Noether's Discovery of the Deep Connection Between Symmetries and Conservation Laws". 1918-07-16. Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
  15. ^ "Time Invariance". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
  16. ^ I. Klotz, R. Rosenberg, Chemical Thermodynamics - Basic Concepts and Methods, 7th ed., Wiley (2008), p.39
  17. ^ Kittel and Kroemer (1980). Thermal Physics. New York: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 978-0-7167-1088-2.
  18. ^ Onsager, L. (1931). "Reciprocal relations in irreversible processes". Phys. Rev. 37 (4): 405–26. Bibcode:1931PhRv...37..405O. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.37.405.
  19. ^ Martyushev, L.M.; Seleznev, V.D. (2006). "Maximum entropy production principle in physics, chemistry and biology". Phys. Rev. 426 (1): 1–45. Bibcode:2006PhR...426....1M. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2005.12.001.
  20. ^ Belkin, A.; et., al. (2015). "Self-Assembled Wiggling Nano-Structures and the Principle of Maximum Entropy Production". Sci. Rep. 5: 8323. Bibcode:2015NatSR...5E8323B. doi:10.1038/srep08323. PMC 4321171. PMID 25662746.

Further reading

  • Alekseev, G.N. (1986). Energy and Entropy. Moscow: Mir Publishers.
  • The Biosphere (A Scientific American Book), San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Co., 1970, ISBN 0-7167-0945-7. This book, originally a 1970 Scientific American issue, covers virtually every major concern and concept since debated regarding materials and energy resources, population trends, and environmental degradation.
  • Crowell, Benjamin (2011), "ch. 11", Light and Matter, Fullerton, California: Light and Matter
  • Energy and Power (A Scientific American Book), San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Co., 1971, ISBN 0-7167-0938-4.
  • Ross, John S. (23 April 2002). "Work, Power, Kinetic Energy" (PDF). Project PHYSNET. Michigan State University.
  • Santos, Gildo M. "Energy in Brazil: a historical overview," The Journal of Energy History (2018) $1 online
  • Smil, Vaclav (2008). Energy in nature and society: general energetics of complex systems. Cambridge, US: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-19565-2.
  • Walding, Richard; Rapkins, Greg; Rossiter, Glenn (1999). New Century Senior Physics. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-551084-3.


External links

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be the 71st season of NASCAR professional stock car racing in the United States, and the 48th modern-era Cup series season. The season begins at Daytona International Speedway with the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the Gander RV Duel qualifying races and the 61st running of the Daytona 500. The regular season will end with the Brickyard 400 in September. The playoffs will end with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2019. Joey Logano of Team Penske enters as the defending series champion.

The 2019 season is the fifth of the current 10-year television contract with Fox Sports and NBC Sports and the fourth of a five-year race sanctioning agreement with all tracks. It is the first season in which Ford fields the Mustang GT, replacing the Fusion.

Electromagnetic radiation

In physics, electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation or EMR) refers to the waves (or their quanta, photons) of the electromagnetic field, propagating (radiating) through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy. It includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, (visible) light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.Classically, electromagnetic radiation consists of electromagnetic waves, which are synchronized oscillations of electric and magnetic fields that propagate at the speed of light, which, in a vacuum, is commonly denoted c. In homogeneous, isotropic media, the oscillations of the two fields are perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy and wave propagation, forming a transverse wave. The wavefront of electromagnetic waves emitted from a point source (such as a light bulb) is a sphere. The position of an electromagnetic wave within the electromagnetic spectrum can be characterized by either its frequency of oscillation or its wavelength. Electromagnetic waves of different frequency are called by different names since they have different sources and effects on matter. In order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength these are: radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.Electromagnetic waves are emitted by electrically charged particles undergoing acceleration, and these waves can subsequently interact with other charged particles, exerting force on them. EM waves carry energy, momentum and angular momentum away from their source particle and can impart those quantities to matter with which they interact. Electromagnetic radiation is associated with those EM waves that are free to propagate themselves ("radiate") without the continuing influence of the moving charges that produced them, because they have achieved sufficient distance from those charges. Thus, EMR is sometimes referred to as the far field. In this language, the near field refers to EM fields near the charges and current that directly produced them specifically, electromagnetic induction and electrostatic induction phenomena.

In quantum mechanics, an alternate way of viewing EMR is that it consists of photons, uncharged elementary particles with zero rest mass which are the quanta of the electromagnetic force, responsible for all electromagnetic interactions. Quantum electrodynamics is the theory of how EMR interacts with matter on an atomic level. Quantum effects provide additional sources of EMR, such as the transition of electrons to lower energy levels in an atom and black-body radiation. The energy of an individual photon is quantized and is greater for photons of higher frequency. This relationship is given by Planck's equation E = hν, where E is the energy per photon, ν is the frequency of the photon, and h is Planck's constant. A single gamma ray photon, for example, might carry ~100,000 times the energy of a single photon of visible light.

The effects of EMR upon chemical compounds and biological organisms depend both upon the radiation's power and its frequency. EMR of visible or lower frequencies (i.e., visible light, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves) is called non-ionizing radiation, because its photons do not individually have enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules or break chemical bonds. The effects of these radiations on chemical systems and living tissue are caused primarily by heating effects from the combined energy transfer of many photons. In contrast, high frequency ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays are called ionizing radiation, since individual photons of such high frequency have enough energy to ionize molecules or break chemical bonds. These radiations have the ability to cause chemical reactions and damage living cells beyond that resulting from simple heating, and can be a health hazard.

Fossil fuel

A fossil fuel is a fuel formed by natural processes, such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, containing energy originating in ancient photosynthesis.

The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years.

Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

Other commonly used derivatives include kerosene and propane.

Fossil fuels range from volatile materials with low carbon to hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquids like petroleum, to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal.

Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields either alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates.

The theory that fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over millions of years was first introduced by Andreas Libavius "in his 1597 Alchemia [Alchymia]" and later by Mikhail Lomonosov "as early as 1757 and certainly by 1763". The first use of the term "fossil fuel" was by the German chemist Caspar Neumann, in English translation in 1759.In 2017 the world's primary energy sources consisted of petroleum (34%), coal (28%), natural gas (23%), amounting to an 85% share for fossil fuels in primary energy consumption in the world.

Non-fossil sources in 2006 included nuclear (8.5%), hydroelectric (6.3%), and others (geothermal, solar, tidal, wind, wood, waste) amounting to 0.9%.

World energy consumption was growing at about 2.3% per year. In 2015 about 18% of worldwide consumption was from renewable sources.Although fossil fuels are continually being formed via natural processes, they are generally considered to be non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form and the known viable reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being made.The use of fossil fuels raises serious environmental concerns.

The burning of fossil fuels produces around 21.3 billion tonnes (21.3 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.

It is estimated that natural processes can only absorb about half of that amount, so there is a net increase of 10.65 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that increases radiative forcing and contributes to global warming.

A global movement towards the generation of low-carbon renewable energy is underway to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

General Electric

General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate incorporated in New York and headquartered in Boston. As of 2018, the company operates through the following segments: aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, lighting, transportation, and oil and gas.In 2018, GE ranked among the Fortune 500 as the 18th-largest firm in the U.S. by gross revenue. In 2011, GE ranked among the Fortune 20 as the 14th-most profitable company. As of 2012, the company was listed as the fourth-largest in the world among the Forbes Global 2000, further metrics being taken into account. Two employees of GE have been awarded the Nobel Prize: Irving Langmuir for chemistry in 1932 and Ivar Giaever for physics in 1973.


Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. HVAC system design is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. "Refrigeration" is sometimes added to the field's abbreviation, as HVAC&R or HVACR or "ventilation" is dropped, as in HACR (as in the designation of HACR-rated circuit breakers).

HVAC is an important part of residential structures such as single family homes, apartment buildings, hotels and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, vehicles such as cars, trains, airplanes, ships and submarines, and in marine environments, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.

Ventilating or ventilation (the V in HVAC) is the process of exchanging or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality which involves temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases. Ventilation removes unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduces outside air, keeps interior building air circulating, and prevents stagnation of the interior air.

Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Methods for ventilating a building may be divided into mechanical/forced and natural types.


A house is a building that functions as a home. They can range from simple dwellings such as rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes and the improvised shacks in shantytowns to complex, fixed structures of wood, brick, concrete or other materials containing plumbing, ventilation, and electrical systems. Houses use a range of different roofing systems to keep precipitation such as rain from getting into the dwelling space. Houses may have doors or locks to secure the dwelling space and protect its inhabitants and contents from burglars or other trespassers. Most conventional modern houses in Western cultures will contain one or more bedrooms and bathrooms, a kitchen or cooking area, and a living room. A house may have a separate dining room, or the eating area may be integrated into another room. Some large houses in North America have a recreation room. In traditional agriculture-oriented societies, domestic animals such as chickens or larger livestock (like cattle) may share part of the house with humans. The social unit that lives in a house is known as a household.

Most commonly, a household is a family unit of some kind, although households may also be other social groups, such as roommates or, in a rooming house, unconnected individuals. Some houses only have a dwelling space for one family or similar-sized group; larger houses called townhouses or row houses may contain numerous family dwellings in the same structure. A house may be accompanied by outbuildings, such as a garage for vehicles or a shed for gardening equipment and tools. A house may have a backyard or frontyard, which serve as additional areas where inhabitants can relax or eat.


Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. In 2015, hydropower generated 16.6% of the world's total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity, and was expected to increase about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years.

Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 33 percent of global hydropower in 2013. China is the largest hydroelectricity producer, with 920 TWh of production in 2013, representing 16.9 percent of domestic electricity use.

The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. The hydro station consumes no water, unlike coal or gas plants. The average cost of electricity from a hydro station larger than 10 megawatts is 3 to 5 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. With a dam and reservoir it is also a flexible source of electricity since the amount produced by the station can be varied up or down very rapidly (as little as a few seconds) to adapt to changing energy demands. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and in many cases, has a considerably lower output level of greenhouse gases than fossil fuel powered energy plants.


The joule (/dʒuːl/; symbol: J) is a derived unit of energy in the International System of Units. It is equal to the energy transferred to (or work done on) an object when a force of one newton acts on that object in the direction of its motion through a distance of one metre (1 newton metre or N⋅m). It is also the energy dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. It is named after the English physicist James Prescott Joule (1818–1889).

In terms firstly of base SI units and then in terms of other SI units:

where kg is the kilogram, m is the metre, s is the second, N is the newton, Pa is the pascal, W is the watt, C is the coulomb, and V is the volt.

One joule can also be defined as:

Kinetic energy

In physics, the kinetic energy of an object is the energy that it possesses due to its motion. It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes. The same amount of work is done by the body when decelerating from its current speed to a state of rest.

In classical mechanics, the kinetic energy of a non-rotating object of mass m traveling at a speed v is . In relativistic mechanics, this is a good approximation only when v is much less than the speed of light.

The standard unit of kinetic energy is the joule.

Mass–energy equivalence

In physics, mass–energy equivalence states that anything having mass has an equivalent amount of energy and vice versa, with these fundamental quantities directly relating to one another by Albert Einstein's famous formula:

This formula states that the equivalent energy (E) can be calculated as the mass (m) multiplied by the speed of light (c = about 3×108 m/s) squared. Similarly, anything having energy exhibits a corresponding mass m given by its energy E divided by the speed of light squared c². Because the speed of light is a very large number in everyday units, the formula implies that even an everyday object at rest with a modest amount of mass has a very large amount of energy intrinsically. Chemical, nuclear, and other energy transformations may cause a system to lose some of its energy content (and thus some corresponding mass), releasing it as the radiant energy of light or as thermal energy for example.

Mass–energy equivalence arose originally from special relativity as a paradox described by Henri Poincaré. Einstein proposed it on 21 November 1905, in the paper Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy-content?, one of his Annus Mirabilis (Miraculous Year) papers. Einstein was the first to propose that the equivalence of mass and energy is a general principle and a consequence of the symmetries of space and time.

A consequence of the mass–energy equivalence is that if a body is stationary, it still has some internal or intrinsic energy, called its rest energy, corresponding to its rest mass. When the body is in motion, its total energy is greater than its rest energy, and equivalently its total mass (also called relativistic mass in this context) is greater than its rest mass. This rest mass is also called the intrinsic or invariant mass because it remains the same regardless of this motion, even for the extreme speeds or gravity considered in special and general relativity.

The mass–energy formula also serves to convert units of mass to units of energy (and vice versa), no matter what system of measurement units is used.

Nuclear power

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. As a nuclear technology, nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions.

Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium.

Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators.

Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research.

This article mostly deals with nuclear fission power for electricity generation.

Civilian nuclear power supplied 2,488 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2017, equivalent to about 10% of global electricity generation.

As of April 2018, there are 449 civilian fission reactors in the world, with a combined electrical capacity of 394 gigawatt (GW).

As of 2018, there are 58 power reactors under construction and 154 reactors planned, with a combined capacity of 63 GW and 157 GW, respectively. As of January 2019, 337 more reactors were proposed.

Most reactors under construction are generation III reactors in Asia.Nuclear power is classified as a low greenhouse gas energy supply technology, along with renewable energy, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since its commercialization in the 1970s, nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and the emission of about 64 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent that would have otherwise resulted from the burning of fossil fuels.There is a debate about nuclear power.

Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, contend that nuclear power is a safe, sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions.

Opponents, such as Greenpeace and NIRS, contend that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.

Accidents in nuclear power plants include the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union in 1986, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, and the more contained Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.

There have also been some nuclear submarine accidents.

Nuclear reactors have caused the lowest number of fatalities per unit of energy generated when compared to fossil fuels and hydropower.

Coal, petroleum, natural gas and hydroelectricity each have caused a greater number of fatalities per unit of energy, due to air pollution and accidents.Collaboration on research and development towards greater efficiency, safety and recycling of spent fuel in future generation IV reactors presently includes Euratom and the co-operation of more than 10 permanent member countries globally.


The photon is a type of elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic field including electromagnetic radiation such as light, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force (even when static via virtual particles). The photon has zero rest mass and always moves at the speed of light within a vacuum.

Like all elementary particles, photons are currently best explained by quantum mechanics and exhibit wave–particle duality, exhibiting properties of both waves and particles. For example, a single photon may be refracted by a lens and exhibit wave interference with itself, and it can behave as a particle with definite and finite measurable position or momentum, though not both at the same time as per the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The photon's wave and quantum qualities are two observable aspects of a single phenomenon—they cannot be described by any mechanical model; a representation of this dual property of light that assumes certain points on the wavefront to be the seat of the energy is not possible. The quanta in a light wave are not spatially localized.

The modern concept of the photon was developed gradually by Albert Einstein in the early 20th century to explain experimental observations that did not fit the classical wave model of light. The benefit of the photon model is that it accounts for the frequency dependence of light's energy, and explains the ability of matter and electromagnetic radiation to be in thermal equilibrium. The photon model accounts for anomalous observations, including the properties of black-body radiation, that others (notably Max Planck) had tried to explain using semiclassical models. In that model, light is described by Maxwell's equations, but material objects emit and absorb light in quantized amounts (i.e., they change energy only by certain particular discrete amounts). Although these semiclassical models contributed to the development of quantum mechanics, many further experiments beginning with the phenomenon of Compton scattering of single photons by electrons, validated Einstein's hypothesis that light itself is quantized. In 1926 the optical physicist Frithiof Wolfers and the chemist Gilbert N. Lewis coined the name "photon" for these particles. After Arthur H. Compton won the Nobel Prize in 1927 for his scattering studies, most scientists accepted that light quanta have an independent existence, and the term "photon" was accepted.

In the Standard Model of particle physics, photons and other elementary particles are described as a necessary consequence of physical laws having a certain symmetry at every point in spacetime. The intrinsic properties of particles, such as charge, mass, and spin, are determined by this gauge symmetry. The photon concept has led to momentous advances in experimental and theoretical physics, including lasers, Bose–Einstein condensation, quantum field theory, and the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics. It has been applied to photochemistry, high-resolution microscopy, and measurements of molecular distances. Recently, photons have been studied as elements of quantum computers, and for applications in optical imaging and optical communication such as quantum cryptography.

Red Bull

Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Red Bull GmbH, an Austrian company created in 1987. Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 6.790 billion cans sold in a year (as of 2018).Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by an existing energy drink named Krating Daeng, which was first introduced and sold in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya. He took this idea, modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of Westerners, and, in partnership with Chaleo, founded Red Bull GmbH in 1987 in Chakkapong, Thailand. In Thai, daeng means red, and a krating (known in English as a gaur or Indian bison) is a large species of wild bovine native to South Asia. Yoovidhya's heirs own majority stakes in both brands, and they both use the same red bull on yellow sun logo while continuing to market the separate drinks to the respective Thai and Western markets.

Red Bull is sold in a tall and slim blue-silver can. Originally only available in a single nondescript flavor and regular or sugar-free formulas, a line of "color editions" with artificial fruit flavors were added to the line beginning in 2013. The Red Bull company slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings". Rather than following a traditional approach to mass marketing, Red Bull has generated awareness and created a 'brand myth' through proprietary extreme sport event series such as Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Crashed Ice and stand-out stunts such as the Stratos space diving project.Red Bull's marketing arsenal also includes multiple sports team ownerships (Formula One teams Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, football clubs RB Leipzig, FC Red Bull Salzburg, FC Liefering, Red Bull Brasil and New York Red Bulls), celebrity endorsements, and music, through its record label Red Bull Records.Energy drinks have been associated with health risks, such as masking the effects of intoxication when consumed with alcohol, and excessive or repeated consumption can lead to cardiac and psychiatric conditions. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that an adequate consumption of Red Bull and other popular energy drinks is safe and that the amount of caffeine in standard Red Bull cans is unlikely to interact adversely with other typical constituents of energy drinks or with alcohol. Energy drinks have the effects that caffeine and sugar give, but there is no distinct evidence that the wide variety of other ingredients has any effect.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.Based on REN21's 2017 report, renewables contributed 19.3% to humans' global energy consumption and 24.5% to their generation of electricity in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This energy consumption is divided as 8.9% coming from traditional biomass, 4.2% as heat energy (modern biomass, geothermal and solar heat), 3.9% hydro electricity and 2.2% is electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. Worldwide investments in renewable technologies amounted to more than US$286 billion in 2015, with countries such as China and the United States heavily investing in wind, hydro, solar and biofuels. Globally, there are an estimated 7.7 million jobs associated with the renewable energy industries, with solar photovoltaics being the largest renewable employer. As of 2015 worldwide, more than half of all new electricity capacity installed was renewable.Renewable energy resources exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to other energy sources, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic benefits. The results of a recent review of the literature concluded that as greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters begin to be held liable for damages resulting from GHG emissions resulting in climate change, a high value for liability mitigation would provide powerful incentives for deployment of renewable energy technologies. In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power.At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20 percent of energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond.

Some places and at least two countries, Iceland and Norway generate all their electricity using renewable energy already, and many other countries have the set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy in the future.

For example, in Denmark the government decided to switch the total energy supply (electricity, mobility and heating/cooling) to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

At least 47 nations around the world already have over 50 percent of electricity from renewable resources, with Iceland generating all its electrical power from renewable energy though this does not include non-electrical energy (e.g. transport and heating).

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries, where energy is often crucial in human development. Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity. As most of renewables provide electricity, renewable energy deployment is often applied in conjunction with further electrification, which has several benefits: Electricity can be converted to heat (where necessary generating higher temperatures than fossil fuels), can be converted into mechanical energy with high efficiency and is clean at the point of consumption. In addition to that electrification with renewable energy is much more efficient and therefore leads to a significant reduction in primary energy requirements, because most renewables do not have a steam cycle with high losses (fossil power plants usually have losses of 40 to 65%).Renewable energy systems are rapidly becoming more efficient and cheaper and their share of total energy consumption is increasing. Global installed electricity generating capacity in 2017 was 2.2 TW. Growth in consumption of coal and oil could end by 2020 due to increased uptake of renewables and natural gas.

Solar energy

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.It is an important source of renewable energy and its technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power and solar water heating to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

The large magnitude of solar energy available makes it a highly appealing source of electricity. The United Nations Development Programme in its 2000 World Energy Assessment found that the annual potential of solar energy was 1,575–49,837 exajoules (EJ). This is several times larger than the total world energy consumption, which was 559.8 EJ in 2012.In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that "the development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating global warming, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared".

Solar power

Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), indirectly using concentrated solar power, or a combination. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current using the photovoltaic effect.Photovoltaics were initially solely used as a source of electricity for small and medium-sized applications, from the calculator powered by a single solar cell to remote homes powered by an off-grid rooftop PV system. Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. The 392 MW Ivanpah installation is the largest concentrating solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert of California.

As the cost of solar electricity has fallen, the number of grid-connected solar PV systems has grown into the millions and utility-scale photovoltaic power stations with hundreds of megawatts are being built. Solar PV is rapidly becoming an inexpensive, low-carbon technology to harness renewable energy from the Sun. The current largest photovoltaic power station in the world is the 850 MW Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, in Qinghai, China.

The International Energy Agency projected in 2014 that under its "high renewables" scenario, by 2050, solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power would contribute about 16 and 11 percent, respectively, of the worldwide electricity consumption, and solar would be the world's largest source of electricity. Most solar installations would be in China and India. In 2017, solar power provided 1.7% of total worldwide electricity production, growing at 35% per annum. As of 2018, the unsubsidised levelised cost of electricity for utility scale solar power is around $43/MWh.

Sustainable energy

Sustainable energy is a principle in which human use of energy "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Another definition of sustainable energy is that it is consumed at insignificant rates compared to its supply and with manageable collateral effects, especially environmental effects. Sustainable energy strategies generally have two pillars: cleaner methods of producing energy, and the promotion of efficient energy use.

Sustainable energy technologies are deployed to generate electricity, to heat and cool buildings, and to power transportation systems and machines. When referring to methods of producing energy, the term "sustainable energy" is often used interchangeably with the term "renewable energy". In general, renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and tidal energy, are widely considered to be sustainable energy sources. However, implementation of particular renewable energy projects, such as the damming of rivers to generate hydroelectricity or the clearing of forests for production of biofuels , sometimes raises significant sustainability concerns. There is considerable controversy over whether nuclear energy can be considered sustainable.

Costs of sustainable energy sources have decreased immensely throughout the years, and continue to fall. Increasingly, effective government policies support investor confidence and these markets are expanding. Considerable progress is being made in the energy transition from fossil fuels to ecologically sustainable systems, to the point where many studies support 100% renewable energy.

The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains: ecology, economics, politics and culture. Sustainability science is the study of sustainable development and environmental science.


The watt (symbol: W) is a unit of power. In the International System of Units (SI) it is defined as a derived unit of 1 joule per second, and is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer. In dimensional analysis, power is described by .

Wind power

Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to provide the mechanical power to turn electric generators. Wind power, as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses little land. The net effects on the environment are far less problematic than those of fossil fuel sources.

Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines, which are connected to the electric power transmission network. Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electric power, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants. Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are considerably higher. Small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide electric power to isolated off-grid locations.Wind power gives variable power, which is very consistent from year to year but has significant variation over shorter time scales.

It is therefore used in conjunction with other electric power sources to give a reliable supply.

As the proportion of wind power in a region increases, a need to upgrade the grid and a lowered ability to supplant conventional production can occur.

Power-management techniques such as having excess capacity, geographically distributed turbines, dispatchable sources, sufficient hydroelectric power, exporting and importing power to neighboring areas, energy storage, or reducing demand when wind production is low, can in many cases overcome these problems.Weather forecasting permits the electric-power network to be readied for the predictable variations in production that occur.In 2017, global wind power capacity expanded 10% to 539 GW.. Yearly wind energy production grew 17% reaching 4.4% of worldwide electric power usage, and providing 11.6% of the electricity in the European Union.Denmark is the country with the highest penetration of wind power, with 43.4% of its consumed electricity from wind in 2017.

At least 83 other countries around the world are using wind power to supply their electric power grids.

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