0 40 80 120 160 200 A

Figure 8.6. Binding energy per nucleon, as a function of mass number, A [Mukhin, 1987].

mass would not be conserved, and the energy equation would have to contain the additional term mc2. In fact, dynamics itself would have to be rewritten, using spacetime (not space and time separately, and the 4-vector, or tensor, p [Harwit, 1973, Chapter 5; Miller, 1981].

Fission was the first example of deliberate searching for processes where mass could be converted into energy. The binding energy curve (Figure 8.6) [Mukhin, 1987] indicates that 235U (as well as other actinides) is a good candidate nuclear "fuel", with 200 MeV released per nucleus, yielding 8.2 x 1013 J/kg. The fraction of mass converted, a, is 9.1 x 10~4.

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