E-numbers, otherwise known as energy numbers, define the total amount of energy available to a single electron in any given molecule. On the Periodic Table of the Elephants, the E-numbers are the two numbers that appear next to each element. However, it is a common misconception that it is only elements that have E-numbers. This is not true: the E-numbers can be calculated for any molecule, substance, element or compound, as long as it's not gay. You're gay? Well then, you haven't got E-numbers, and you're not welcome here. Yeah, go on, get out. We don't like your sort. Going around corrupting our children. It's disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
It is currently unclear as to why electrons feel the need to jump between shells - after all, tortoises and snails seem perfectly happy with what God gave them. Hermit crabs aren't, though. Hmm. In any case, each electron in a Goo particle (shown right) has an attacking E-number of 109 and a defending E-number of 17, allowing us to calculate the probability that any given electron in a Goo particle will be able to jump to a neighbouring shell. Simply, the probability of success is the ratio of the attack score to the defend score: in the case of Goo, 109 to 17 - that is to say there is approximately a 86.50793650793650794% success rate for each attempted jump. It must be stressed, though, that this figure should only be used as a general rule of thumb, and individual circumstances may vary.
Calculating the probability of a specific electron making the jump is an arduous and difficult process which requires a detailed knowledge of the jumping mechanics, and is beyond the scope of this text. However, a brief description is offered below.
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A Brief Description
It has been theorised for millennia (way before Archimedes got screwed) that electrons feel the need to jump around between shells (after all, it's a boring life going round and round and round. Bit dizzying, too), but scientists were until recently baffled by the fact that electrons seemed to require more energy than they had predicted to make the jump. One would imagine that it would just be a case of spanning the distance and repelling the gluons until the next shell is reached (the easy-jump theory), but the matter is complicated somewhat by the electrons' violently territorial nature. An attempt by an electron to enter a shell it is not currently affiliated with (otherwise known as an outsider electron attacking its target shell) will often be resisted with great force, and it is therefore up to the outsider electron to coerce, blackmail, bribe or in some cases even place the target shell under siege in order to gain acceptance and entry to their new neighbourhood. This extra effort accounts for the difference between the expected values predicted by the easy-jump theory and the observed values we see today.
E-Numbers as Additives
It has become common practice to refer to certain chemicals by their attacking E-number only, a bad habit encouraged by sweets companies to hide the fact that little Timmy's Smarties have Cadmium in them (see right) and thus he might suddenly turn into a battery at any point in time. Not only is this unethically misleading, it is also scientifically inaccurate as it is a regular occurrence for two or more chemicals to have the same attacking E-number. Indeed, even stating both attack and defence values will not identify one individual chemical. Therefore, it is advised to formulate your own handy reference of E-numbers and which chemicals they may refer to.
Confusion with the number e
E-numbers are unrelated to the number e.