101 Things I Don’t Know How To Teach My Son (But Wish I Could) #12 Math Thoughts

Dear Son,

You’re way better at math than I was, and I was pretty good.

I hope that you will develop the habit of thinking very deeply, contemplation even, about things mathematical.

For example, you and pretty much everyone else knows that e = mc^2.

But how many people actually understand this equation? I mean, sure, they’ll tell you what e, m and c are. But that’s as far as it goes.

Why is “c” squared? Does this mean 2-dimensions (and if it does, what does it mean for the speed of light to be 2 dimensional)?

Why is it m times c-squared, and not m plus or m minus or m divided by?

How can you use this equation?

Where does it come from? (Granted, understanding the origins of e=mc^2 involves very complicated mathematics & physics at a very high level, but recognizing even that is important).

And above all, for this particular equation, why is result this so extraordinarily profound? (What is the meaning, what are the implications?)

Love Dad


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