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Relativity Essay

1919 words - 8 pages

Relativity is a theory in physics that can be basically implies that space and time are one in the same. This is absolutely counterintuitive to classical physics which has the two as completely different entities. Relativity can be separated into two basic concepts: Special and General Relativity. Within Relativity the fundamental concept above all else is that space and time are intertwined with each other in the universe as a fabric called space-time. Simply put, Special Relativity deals with the laws of Physics when observers are all moving uniformly relative to each other while General Relativity expands on the idea to include gravitation and acceleration. (Lieber, Lillian R. The Einstein Theory of Relativity. Philadelphia: Paul Dry, 2008. Print. p.95-99)

Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity can be broken into two parts: first, it dictates that the laws of physics are true no matter what reference point you are looking from and secondly the speed of light is constant no matter what reference point you measure it from. This first postulate of Einstein’s theory basically means that the laws of physics do not change depending on the reference point from which they are observed. For example, if you measure how long an object is it will be the same length whether you are flying in an airplane or you are stationary. (http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/relativity6.htm) The reason why the speed of light is constant is actually quite simple. Picture two cars, traveling in the same direction at the same rate, Car A’s driver has a slingshot while Car B’s driver has a laser pointer. At the exact same instant both fire in the direction of travel. If you were to measure the speed of the projectile that was fired from the slingshot it would measure v+v’ where v= the velocity of the car and v’= the velocity the projectile would have if the slingshot were at rest relative to the observer. However this is not the same for the beam of light fired from the laser pointer. This is because light is an electromagnetic wave that is independent of the motion of its starting point. It will always travel at 299,792,458 m/s because light’s speed only depends on the medium through which it travels and the motion of the object it is created from is completely irrelevant. (Lieber, Lillian R. The Einstein Theory of Relativity. Philadelphia: Paul Dry, 2008. Print. p. 4-37)( Einstein, Albert, and Robert W. Lawson. Relativity; the Special and General Theory,. New York: H. Holt and, 1920. 21-25. Print.)

This postulate developed by Einstein has what some would call key problems and would cause uproar in conventional thinking. Things such as time now become variables when original thinking classified it as an unchanging constant. Just thinking about this prospect can be mind boggling. Time is something that everyone takes for granted as being a constant flow, just ticking away, and perpetual. But, in fact, it is something that depends...

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