Defining Energy

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In physics, energy is defined as the ability or potential to perform work or cause changes. As this definition implies, a system with energy need not do any work or cause a change, it only has to have the capacity to do so. A piece of wood sitting at rest some place does not do any work even though it has the capacity to do so (for example by burning it in a furnace to boil water to steam which then turns a turbine). The piece of wood therefore contains energy. In fact, all objects have energy by virtue of their own mass.

References

(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Further Reading

External Links