If the energy could be directly converted to matter, how long would it take a person on a bicycle-type generator to create a single atom?

That's an interesting question. First, how much energy per second can a person produce? Power is the name we use for the time rate of energy production. A person can easily generate about 1/10 of a horsepower. In other units, 1/10 of a horsepower is about 75 watts of power which is 75 joules/second. Watts and joules are named after famous scientists. Can you guess where the term horsepower comes from?

Secondly, how much energy is needed to produce one atom? Einstein showed that the energy associated with mass (m) is equal to m*c^{2}, where c is the speed of light. The energy equivalent of a hydrogen atom is 0.16*10^{-9} joules or 0.16 billionths of a joule.

Now you can do the arithmetic. If you generate 75 joules per second and one atom takes 0.16 billionths of a joule to produce, then you could produce 1 atom in only about 20*10^{-12} seconds (20 trillionths of a second).

Author:

Mac Mestayer, Staff Scientist (Other answers by Mac Mestayer)

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