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Physics/conservation of information

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Question
Steve,
As an curious amateur, I'm attempting to gain a basic understanding the concept of conservation of information.
My question is: When matter is converted directly into energy, where and how is the information of that matter preserved?
Thank you,
Paul

Answer
I'm not directly an expert in this highly mathematical and theoretical end of physics, but I am in the process you describe...so let me try and explain with a specific situation while abandoning math for conceptualization.  Let's say that an electron and a positron collide.  They both have mass and energy and momentum.  They annihilate and create high-energy gammas (usually just two).  The photons have the energy equivalent of mass.  Observers of the photons would see the momentum and energy of the two particles as Doppler shifts in the energy and directions of the emitted photons.  Nothing is lost in this process.  It's like that for all processes, the energy and momentum are not lost...just transformed.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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