A Brief Overview of Energy and Conservation of Energy

There are currently many different kinds of energy. Thermal energy (heating) is used to create heat from the environment. Chemical energy is energy produced by a chemical reaction. And nuclear power is the energy that is contained within the nucleus of an atom or molecule.

The way that energy gets from one form to another depends on how the atoms or molecules are bound together and the kind of force that holds them together.

For example, light is made when photons hitting a silicon atom collide with photons hitting an aluminum atom or vice versa. A straightforward example of thermal energy and light interaction is when you place a candle flame near an illuminated picture. The candle flame will absorb some of the light, which is incident but will release heat in the process. This is because of the uneven distribution of light forces at the point where the light and heat come in contact.

Now consider a situation where there is no interference between the energy and the light, and no heat is released: in this case, the heat will be referred to as thermal energy. It's important to note that the theory of conservation of energy can be used here as one example of how different forms of energy may be separated.

This is perhaps one example where people use 'conservation' to describe a physical law without necessarily referring to thermodynamics' laws. So it can be seen as a branch of modern physics that has its place in explaining the behavior of objects in nature.

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