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What kind of significant impacts have originated from $E=mc^2$.

Generally, it is regarded as the most famous equation of all time. Except for nuclear energy (fission and fusion) I do not know any other way in which this equation has made an impact on the world.

Can somebody list some developments and impacts based on this equation?

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It's far more significant in popular culture than physics. –  Michael Brown Mar 14 '13 at 9:18
    
@MichaelBrown Right, I'd go so far to say that its most significant impact on physics is confusing undergraduates who are trying to learn relativity properly! –  Mark Mitchison Mar 14 '13 at 18:09

1 Answer 1

While it is famous in popular culture, I don't think that there are any useful phenomena other than fission/fusion that can be explained through this equation. In fact, this equation on its own is quite useless (and not used that much either -- it lets one know that mass and energy are not distinct quantities, but after that there's not much you can do with this; $E^2=p^2c^2+m^2c^4$ is more useful).

Besides, nuclear fission and fusion aren't really consequences of just this equation. They are consequences of the underlying theory (special relativity) as a whole. However, they can be easily explained via this equation. Similarly, matter-antimatter annihilation can be explained with this equation, but it certainly wasn't discovered from it.

To put this question in perspective, compare with "What developments came from the equation $F=ma$?". Developments came from the underlying theory of Newtonian Mechanics, but there isn't really anything that comes specifically from $F=ma$.

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