Law of conservation of energy

In physics, the law of conservation of energy is one of the most important conservation laws observed in nature. The conservation principle has guided the discovery of new forms of energy and has allowed us to discover new types of physical processes and even new particles.

The principle of conservation of energy reflects the temporal symmetry of the physical laws with respect to time translations; that is, that these do not change over time.

The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant, it is said to be conserved over time.

This law means that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but is merely changed from one form into another or transferred from one object to another at different stages. So we can conclude that in the entire system, the total energy remains the same, but only the transformation takes place.

For example, the electricity available in an electric oven is converted to a thermal form that goes into the object in the oven.

At the beginning of the 20th century, some nuclear decays were discovered with the emission of electrons that did not seem to satisfy the principle of energy conservation. To solve the problem in 1924, Niels Bohr put forward the idea that at the atomic level energy was not strictly conserved, proposing a theory that turned out to be wrong. Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 and Enrico Fermi in 1934 postulated the existence of new interactions and a new particle never observed before, which was able to transport energy and which was missing in the experiments. In this way, guided by the principle of conservation of energy, they were able to discover the neutrino, a particle with no electric charge, actually observed experimentally in 1959.

Classically, conservation of energy was distinct from conservation of mass; however, special relativity showed that mass could be converted to energy and vice versa by E = mc2, and science now takes the view that mass-energy is conserved.

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