The Problems I Set Myself – And an Unexpected Answer to an Unexpected Question

Over the next few weeks, I am considering writing some pages, rather than posts, about the geology of Scotland, and in particular Fife.

This set me to thinking, at which point do I start. Do I put in a few pages teaching the very basics of geology, then describe the fundamental rock units that are found in Scotland? Or should I outline the basic stratigraphy of Scotland, ie how Scotland came to be where it is now and how each of the major rock units formed?

If I take the second approach (I’ll actually probably use a combination of the two), how far do I go back in geological time? Should I include the formation of the earth, the solar system, our galaxy or the universe and ‘Big Bang’??

All this, made me think about energy, which I know is getting side tracked from the original questions I asked myself. But the sudden thought that occurred to me was

“What happens to all the energy we use (worldwide) when we burn fossil fuels, or industrial processes heat things up, etc, etc?”

A. I knew that energy can’t be destroyed, it can only be transferred from one form to another, and I know that the burning of those fuels creates heat (another energy form), but I wanted to know what happens to that energy as everything cools back down.
The answer is something called ‘rest mass’. The example I came across comes from Tom J (w Mike W.)

“If a box contains some air at a temperature, and then is warmed up, it will become ever so slightly more massive because of the extra energy given to it. You can call that rest mass of the whole box or the mass equivalent of the kinetic energy of the particles in it- nature doesn’t care what names you give it.”

That extra mass will have the energy stored in it, the amount can be worked out using one of the most well known formulas in the world, Einstein’s  E=mc^2


Today, I’ll leave you with that wee gem of basic physics that I hadn’t ever considered until this morning, and tomorrow I’ll get back to my thoughts about the geology pages 🙂



5 thoughts on “The Problems I Set Myself – And an Unexpected Answer to an Unexpected Question

  1. Very stream-of-consiousness, Andy. And interesting! I love that you shared your thought process with us. Science wasn’t always my forte, so I enjoyed how you broke it down. Set me off googling Einstein’s theory :-).

    I’d love to read about Scotland’s geology.

    Happy weekend to you :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sharon 🙂 I’m glad it made at least a wee bit of sense to you, I was struggling to put it into words. I knew what I meant, but I wasn’t sure if anyone else would. The geology side of things I should find easier to explain 🙂


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