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Oct 11, 2000
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energy (EN-uhr-jee) noun

1. The capacity for work or vigorous activity; vigor; power.

2. Exertion of vigor or power. Vitality and intensity of expression.

3. Usable heat or power. A source of usable power, such as petroleum or coal.

4. The capacity of a physical system to do work.

[French energie, from Late Latin energia, from Greek energeia, from energos, active : en-, in, at + ergon, work.]

ENERGY Philosophers search for truth in much the same way that artists do. They don't really expect to find any definite answers. They mainly want to provide and investigate more ways of looking at the world. But scientists differ slightly. Science strives to provide very definite, measurable and provable truths. In the back of their minds though, scientists understand that those truths are only temporary, and that they may very well be replaced someday by another truth. So they're really not so different from artists and philosophers after all.

Einstein's Theory of Relativity has been accepted as a scientific truth. But it has so far not been found to mesh with quantum physics. It may very well be that the 21st century will modify one or both of those truths as well. So for the time being, we can look at energy as mass times the speed of light times the speed of light. From another point of view, energy is the capability of a body to do work or produce an effect. It's possible that the second definition will outlast the first. -John Langdon (this week's Guest Wordsmith)


In words as fashions the same rule will hold,/ Alike fantastic if too new or old;/ Be not the first by whom the new are tried,/ Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. -Alexander Pope, poet (1688-1744)

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