Hello! I am trying to understand where does the energy come from in fusion and fission reactions. Looking at the table, the more stable atoms are the ones with the highest binding energy- the atoms that fission and fusion reactions produce because both of those reactions move towards stable atoms. I also learned that finding the binding energy of an atom is possible through calculating the mass defect. The higher the mass defect, the higher the binding energy. That means that the stable atoms have a higher mass defect. Here's what I can't get figured out: if an atom with a smaller mass defect produces an atom with a bigger mass defect, it means that some mass turned into energy. Is the energy that came from the mass, released? Isn't this energy used to keep the atom together, meaning it turned into binding energy? Also, how does the mass "know" to turn into energy and what if it doesn't? Any help would be greatly appreciated since it's a lot of (con)fusion... (I know, bad joke) Thank you!