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Did the Cockcroft‐Walton experiment really confirm Einstein's ΔE = Δmc2 first of all?

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The original aim of Cockcroft and Walton's experiment was to disintegrate Li7 with fast protons yielding alpha particles. Energy of 17.2 MeV was emitted. This experiment is regarded as the first confirmation of ΔE = Δmc2. The theoretical re-analysis of data as given by Cockcroft in his Nobel Lecture justifies only splitting of Li7 by fast protons and is not consistent with ΔE = Δmc2. The values of the masses of proton, Li7, and alpha particle have varied significantly due to improvements in the precision of instruments. If the values of reactants (1H = 1.0072 u, 7Li = 7.010 4 u) and products (2 × 4He = 8.002 2 u) are taken in account as existed at the time of Cockcroft's experiments, then percentage difference from ΔE = Δmc2 is 16.594. Soon after this, Bainbridge improved the value of the mass of Li7 at 7.0130 amu. Then the percentage deviation from ΔE = Δmc2 decreased to 2.491. If the current values of the masses of reactants (1H = 1.0072764 u, 7Li = 7.01600455 u) and products (2 × 4He = 8.0030122 u) are taken, then the percentage difference turns out to be 9.768. In a nutshell, it is concluded that such a significant experiment which is regarded as first confirmation of ΔE = Δmc2, be repeated with very precise instruments, eliminating all possible sources of errors, then results be compared with ΔE = Δmc2. Cockcroft and Walton's experiment has not been repeated by scientists, which increases the significance of the repetition. It is a basic principle of science that no conclusions can be drawn on the basis of a single observation. Results are widely accepted if repeatable.
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Keywords: Cockcroft‐Walton Experiment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 05 March 2014

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  • Physics Essays has been established as an international journal dedicated to theoretical and experimental aspects of fundamental problems in Physics and, generally, to the advancement of basic knowledge of Physics. The Journal's mandate is to publish rigorous and methodological examinations of past, current, and advanced concepts, methods and results in physics research. Physics Essays dedicates itself to the publication of stimulating exploratory, and original papers in a variety of physics disciplines, such as spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, particle physics, electromagnetic theory, astrophysics, space physics, mathematical methods in physics, plasma physics, philosophical aspects of physics, chemical physics, and relativity.
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