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# What does the "C" stand for in E=mc^2?

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The c in Einstein's famous equation stands for the speed of light. Light travels constantly at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, meaning that c equals 186,000 miles per second.

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Credit: Alexandre Delbos CC-BY-2.0

This equation comes from Einstein's theory of special relativity. The equation shows that the mass (m) of an object is determined by its kinetic energy (E) divided by the speed of light (c) squared. Einstein created this equation to show that mass and energy are interchangeable. With this equation, he was able to argue that mass and energy are actually the same thing, and to convert one to the other, you simply need to factor in the speed of light.

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## Related Questions

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In a vacuum, the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. This is equal to 299,792 kilometers per second or about 670,616,629 miles per hour.

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Electricity travels at the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second. This is because electricity is electromagnetic radiation just like light. Electricity is the flow of electrons through a conducting wire such as copper and aluminum.

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Before Albert Einstein came up with his equation E=mc^2, the scientific world believed that mass and energy were two independent phenomena in the universe. However certain occurrences, such as radioactive emissions could not be explained by this divide between mass and energy. Einstein worked out the equation by assuming the speed of light was constant to provide the link which would later explain how stars worked as well.