You must be thinking how can storing data can increase the weight of your device! In 2011, a few years into the e-reader craze, The New York Times made a claim – as you keep on adding books to your backpack it increases the weight of it, but you can add hundreds of E-Books into your digital device and see no change in weight. To find out whether this was true, the headed towards UC Berkeley computer science professor John D. Kubiatowicz. He told the statement is false!

The answer to it lies in the very famous equation: E=mc²

When you get down to the very basics of how memory is stored in digital devices you will get the answer. Data is just a series of 1’s and 0’s, each known as a “bit”. When you store data the digital device puts each bit on a transistor, which distinguishes between a 0 and 1 using trapped electrons. The more data you store the more electrons get trapped. Remember the thing that the total electrons stay the same only trapped electrons increase with the increase in data.

A trapped electron is in a higher energy state as compared to an untrapped electron. As per Einstein’s famous equation E=mc², energy and mass are related. Change in energy accounts to change in mass. So as per that trapped electrons weigh a tiny bit more. Of course, the difference in weight is almost laughable: 10−18 grams (1 attogram) that is 17 zeros after the decimal point. The most sensitive scales can only sense a difference of 10−9 grams (1 nanogram). So the difference in the weight is very very minute.


But still it is a difference. So next time you store data on your phone keep in mind you are increasing the weight of it :P.



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