Einstein's Mass-Energy Equation, Volume I: Early History and Philosophical Foundations

Francisco Fernflores

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Fernflores’s treatments of Einstein’s selected papers are well crafted, edifying, and interesting. The two books that comprise Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equation are much enhanced by the addition and analysis of the several classic papers by de Broglie, Lewis and Tolman, and others. Philosopher Fernflores takes up physical and metaphysical issues that are rarely discussed in print. In a scholarly way Fernflores often boldly goes where no one has gone before, and that’s appreciated. The two small books could enrich any college-level course on Special Relativity. ...Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equation is a fine contribution to the literature, one that provides both a convenient source of foundational material and a stimulating read. Read the full review in the Journal of Physics, October issue.

In volume one of Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equation, we examine the history and philosophical significance of several demonstrations Einstein published for his mass–energy relation, which is often expressed by the iconic equation E = mc2. Our goal is to illustrate how these demonstrations display a clear shift away from a reliance on electromagnetic phenomena culminating in Einstein’s 1934 purely “dynamic” demonstration. Philosophically, this trend signals the importance of recognizing special relativity as what Einstein called a “principle theory.”

Volume two of this work examines the role that Einstein’s mass–energy relation played in the development of quantum mechanics and general relativity. We also discuss the first empirical confirmation of E = mc2 and some contemporary debates concerning the philosophical interpretation of this important result.

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Francisco Fernflores

Dr. Francisco Fernflores earned a BSc in philosophy and physics from the University of Toronto and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He has published several articles in philosophy of science and the history and philosophy of physics. Currently, Dr. Fernflores is professor of philosophy at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA where he enjoys teaching philosophy of physics, philosophy of science, formal logic, and philosophical classics.