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Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity...
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 21st, 2004 10:23 AM
As I posted in the Book Stop forum, I am reading a book by Gary Zukav called the Dancing Wu Li Masters, which attempts to explain quantum physics without all the math. Einstein himself said that the general concepts of what physicists are doing are completely explainable to nearly anyone, and Gary Zukav took that and ran with it.

This book is great. Totally interesting, and easy to understand, for the most part. It just explained Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity in a way that was so easy to understand!

The speed of light is a constant. This means that no matter what speed you're moving, the speed of light remains the same. This is totally different from how Newtonian Physics sees the world. If you're travelling at 60 mph and a car comes at you at 60 mph, then the car is moving toward your position at 120 mph. However, light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second.

If you travelled directly at a light source at 4,000 miles per second, the light would be coming at you at 186,000 miles per second, but you would measure it exactly the SAME as if you were standing still. No matter at what rate you're travelling, the speed of light remains constant.

At it's most basic, measuring speed requires a ruler (rod) and a clock. (distance and time). In order for you to measure the same speed of light no matter how fast you're going, the INSTRUMENTS must change. What Einstein determined (and it's been proven), was that the length of the rod gets less as you approach the speed of light until at the speed of light, it disappears completely. Likewise, time slows down as you approach the speed of light until at the speed of light, it stops completely, and mass gets greater as you approach the speed of light until at the speed of light, mass becomes infinite. The length and time make total sense, when you think about it. You need length and time to measure speed, and if the speed remains constant, but should be changing, then the length and time must be changing.

What's wiggy about this is that to the person travlling really fast sees no difference in his length or time...the motionless observer sees the traveller's ruler get shorter and sees the traveller's clock slow down.

And this has been proven! In 1972, the most accurate atomic clocks known to man were put aboard aircraft and flown around the world at supersonic speeds. When the aircraft landed, the clocks were compared to their earthbound counterparts, and the clocks that flew around the world were slower than the ones that stayed motionless! There are other tests that prove the Special Theory of Relativity, but that just blows my mind!!!!

Well, have a good day!!! smile.gif


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Cori, an excellent quote!!!
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 30th, 2004 11:20 PM
And it shows a very important thing about Einstein. He once said, "Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone."

Now, my friend said that that quote would be more believable if it had come from someone other than the most intelligent person who ever lived. She said, "Of course it's easy for him. He was a genius!" However, what must be understood was that he was right! And this quote absolutely shows what he was talking about here. Another quote that I like is from Erwin Schroedinger, who created the famous "Schroedinger's Cat" thought-experiment.

"If you cannot - in the long run - tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless."

Revised theory of relativity
Posted by cori on Oct 30th, 2004 4:26 PM
My little bro just had to do a report on Einstein's life for school. He showed me this quote that he found by the man himself.

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours. That's relativity." -- Albert Einstein

Over my head
Posted by Aaediwen on Oct 25th, 2004 12:25 PM
All I can say has been said before. The man was amazing. a genius ahead of his time. Could prove good meditation material.

Another thing about Einstein...
Posted by sir_tal on Oct 25th, 2004 9:39 AM
He hated his theories because they did not ANSWER tons of questions. In actuality, they created more questions than anything else. He felt that Quantum Physics was a ridiculous way to view the world because it did not form a complete explanation of the world around us, and most of it ran contrary to what we view around us.

To explain it, I'll explain another experiment. Some guy in the 1800's (I can never remember his name) PROVED beyond a shadow of a doubt that light is a wave. The scientific world was pleased with the discovery....however, in the early 1900's, Einstein proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that light is a particle. What really steamed Einstein was that in doing so, he did NOT prove the other guy wrong. So rathen than saying that light is EITHER a particle or a wave, Einstein's efforts proved that light is BOTH a particle AND a wave, and that the observer creates exactly what light is depending on the experiment they choose to use! Observation creates reality????? I thought we were talking about physics here. smile.gif THIS is what was so frustrating to Einstein.

The thing that I find MOST amazing about Einstein was that he came up with his theories using "thought experiments". The technology didn't exist to prove a lot of what he came up with, but he invented experiments in his mind that proved to him that what he was thinking MUST be true. As technology has caught up with his mind, we are finding that he was RIGHT more and more. smile.gif Fascinating stuff.


Very Interesting
Posted by Macfive on Oct 24th, 2004 6:03 PM
I subscribe to discover magazine and a few months back they had a special issue all on Einstein. Fascinating man and its amazing they are still trying to prove his theroies correct even to this day. Some of that stuff just blows you away though. I agree!


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