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The Little Book of String Theory by Steven S. Gubser

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Chapter ONE

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ENERGY

THE AIM OF THIS CHAPTER IS TO PRESENT THE MOST FAMOUS equation of physics: E = mc2. This equation underlies nuclear power and the atom bomb. It says that if you convert one pound of matter entirely into energy, you could keep the lights on in a million American households for a year. E = mc2 also underlies much of string theory. In particular, as we’ll discuss in chapter 4, the mass of a vibrating string receives contributions from its vibrational energy.

What’s strange about the equation E = mc2 is that it relates things you usually don’t think of as related. E is for energy, like the kilowatt-hours you pay your electric company ...

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