The actual definition of energy leaves it very open to interpretation, energy is any force that compels a change in its environment, words with similar meanings include go, pep, zip, elan, zeal, zest, drive, force, power, and vitality. Since energy has such a broad description, it’s a very hard thing to measure, when a person says he has lots of energy, it is left to the person being spoken to for interpretation.
What energy is: Everything and nothing,
In terms of what energy is one could easily say that energy is everything, or that it is nothing at all. Because energy is a force upon an object, it doesn’t exist until it’s created. The flames burning off a fire are energy, and the heat produced by the coals are another form of energy. This energy is dispersed through the burning of the wood, kindle, or other flammable substance.
What energy is: Potential energy,
The wood and the kindle used to make the fire, contain what you could call potential energy. Einstein came to the conclusion that energy is equal to mass times (the square root of light) “E=MC2” giving energy an actual visual measurable presence for the first time in history, by comparison of matter and energy.
Using this theoretical equation 11 billion kWh (Kilo Watt Hours) or enough electrical power to run the U.S. For 5 days, could be created from just 1 lb. of any given substance converted into pure energy. Though a %100 conversion rate of potential energy to energy has yet to be seen even by the brightest of modern day scientists, the potential does in fact exist.
What energy is: The energy of the sun,
Modern day scientists struggle to find a way to harness all of the power of the sun, because it comes in many different forms, and is a constant energy source. First the radiation produced by the sun is a form of energy, then the light is another form of energy, and the heat is also a form of energy. Where scientists to solve the problem of harnessing %100 of the suns energy, we would surely see an end to our energy crisis.
There are many faculties of converting a substances potential into into energy, and whether through chemical means, or mechanical, there is nearly always a loss of some of that potential during the conversion. The human body when lifting an object, is only using a fraction of the energy contained in the food that was digested with the rest later being ejected. However, the human body is also one of the most practical examples of a high potential to energy turnaround.
What energy is: The bodies energy,
To find the amount of energy the body can get out of any food item, one only need burn it. The very same potential found to be consumed during the flame, is the same energy potential the body captures and utilizes.
By burning any food object one can find the “calorie” value of that object. For a fun experiment you could check the calories on a bag of chips or a candy bar then measure before burning and after using a blow torch. The value of the original weight minus the remaining weight is the value in “grams” of calories in that portion of food.
What energy is: Closing,
For more information on energy, I would suggest reading ‘Energy’ by Mitchel Wilson and the editors of Life. It takes an interesting approach to answering some of the most elusive questions.