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Free energy machines do not work. No machine can create energy out of nothing, as this would violate the law of mass-energy conservation, which is fundamental and universal. The law of mass-energy conservation states that mass-energy can never be created or destroyed. It can only be redistributed throughout space and transformed into a different state. Mass can be converted to energy, and energy can be converted to mass, but together they must be conserved. For example, when a positron from the tracer liquid of a medical PET scan hits an electron in the patient's body, the positron and electron completely destroy each other and all of their mass is converted into energy. This energy is emitted as two gamma particles (high energy light) that fly off in nearly opposite directions. The PET machine detects the gamma rays, uses them to pinpoint the location of the positron-electron annihilation event, and therefore discovers where in the patient's body the tracer liquid is congregating. Nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors also convert mass to energy, but the conversion is very inefficient and only a fraction of the bomb's mass is converted to energy. Mass is also converted to energy during radioactive decay.

PET medical scanners

PET medical scanners depend crucially on the law of conservation of mass-energy holding true. Public Domain Image, source: NIH.

In contrast, energy is converted to mass in particle accelerators such as the LHC. In particle accelerators, large tracks of magnets speed up particles such as electrons and protons to incredible speeds. The particles have therefore gained a high amount of kinetic energy from the magnets. The particles are then guided to collide with a stationary target (or collide with other particles that have accelerated in the opposite direction). Upon collision, the kinetic energy is lost because the particles are stopped. But energy cannot just be destroyed; it must go somewhere. As a result, the energy is converted to mass and hundreds of new particles are created in the collision. These new particles are detected and give physicists clues about what types of particles can exist. Every time a particle accelerator is used, a nuclear reactor is turned on, or a medical PET scan is taken, the conservation of mass-energy is experimentally verified. In fact, the energy taken in or given off by ordinary chemical reactions results from the transformation of energy to mass and mass to energy. In chemical reactions, the mass of the system before the reaction is different from the mass of the system after the reaction. The mass difference is miniscule, but measurable, and is the source of the energy. Because of this fact, every chemical experiment ever done is a validation of the conservation of mass-energy. Out of all the scientifically-sound, repeatable experiments ever performed, a violation of the conservation of mass-energy has never been observed. If the law was broken, and energy was created out of nothing, then the first place it would be observed would be in particle accelerators. Particle accelerators have huge stacks of sensitive detectors that can track the movement of every last bit of mass and energy in the system; electrons, protons, photons, etc. Additionally, the accelerator pumps incredible amounts of energy into the particles, so that exotic and rare phenomena are easily observable. If a bit of energy did appear that was unaccounted for, the detectors would see it, but they never have.

Beyond overwhelming experimental verification, the law of conservation of mass-energy is required by theory. If energy could pop into existence out of nothing, then in such a big, old universe, energy would eventually pop out of nothing. With the limiting mechanism of conservation out of the way, the energy that pops out of nothing could be as large as infinite. As the age of the universe becomes large, the probability that an infinite energy will pop out of nothing will become 100%. The problem is that an infinite energy (or even a non-infinite one that is large enough) would destroy our universe. The fact that our universe is still around is direct evidence that the law of conservation of mass energy is fundamental and universal. If this law is applied to Earth, but not on Alpha Centauri, then infinite energy will pop out of nothing on Alpha Centauri and destroy the universe. The universality of mass-energy conservation is literal and strict. People who believe in free energy machines must also logically believe that the universe does not exist.

Proponents of free energy may argue that conservation of mass-energy is usually obeyed, but can be broken in exotic experiments. The center of stars and supernovas are far more exotic environments than a tinkerer's basement. Violation of mass-energy conservation would be observed far sooner and far more easily in a star than in an inventor's table-top contraction. And yet, it has never been observed. Free energy can be tempting to peo

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