# Can someone clever please explain to me

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by =^..^=, Sep 17, 2002.

1. ### =^..^=

Jan 25, 2001
Stuck on a rock !
Why time slows down as you approach the speed of light ?

The light clock thing just doesn't work for me - I can see where its going and how using one its possible to argue that the time when observed from a stationary object appears to be running slower - but what about a normal every day clockwork mechanism on a watch ? How would that ever run slower ?

If you were to measure time not by a light clock or by a watch but instead by the decay of radioactive material how would that be slowed down ?

I can see how an observers perception of time, or the mechanisms we use to measure time could be slowed down (in the instance of the light clock) but I can't understand the Twins Paradox at all.

Sorry I can't get my head round this at all...

Can any clever person out there explain it ?

And just so its bass orientated would I need to change the speed on my metronome (or drum machine?) if I ever get a gig on a near light speed interspace cruise ship ?

2. ### SecksayGuest

Sep 6, 2002
New York, NY
hah. way to ask an easy question.

i believe a lot of the answer has to do with relativity, and that just makes my head hurt.

3. ### jondog

Mar 14, 2002
NYC metro area
As you approach the speed of light, you catch up with time, so it appears to go slower. Earth reference time is still ticking like it always does.

All the lightspeed cruise ships are based out of Rigel and their musicians union controls all of those gigs. They told me I couldn't join until I get more equity points.

But, if you did get the gig, the audience is on the ship w/ you, so their sense of time would be the same as yours. If your drum machine sounds good to you, it'll sound good to them because you're in the same (very fast) room.

The real question is if concert A is still 440 hz at light speed.

I have no idea what I'm talking about. Clever does not equal wise or knowledgable.

4. ### Nick GannTalkbass' Tubist in Residence

Mar 24, 2002
Silver Spring, MD
If you are in the Millenium Falcon going the speed of light, and you turn on the head lights, would you see them ahead of you?

5. ### slick519

Aug 11, 2001
Salem, Or
it was Rigel 7

jeez

slicks

6. ### Christopher

Apr 28, 2000
New York, NY
Here's an explanation that doesn't use numbers:

Light isn't like other things in the universe. Most things, if you run fast enough, or get in a fast enough vehicle, you can catch up with them.

Not light. It's like the runner who cheats. You never catch up with light, no matter how fast you run or what sort of vehicle you have. If light sees that you're catching up to it, it does one of two things: either it makes your legs shorter (and, in fact, all of your physical dimensions smaller) or it slows down time (just for you, not for the slower-moving runners).

In sum, the speed of light is constant. Speed is distance/time. You can't travel at the speed of light; light won't let you. So it tries to slow your speed (your distance/time) by making the distances you experience shorter or the time you experience longer.

7. ### lemonpillow

May 2, 2002
Austin Texas
wow chris that makes a whole lot of sense

8. ### SecksayGuest

Sep 6, 2002
New York, NY
i knew it had to do with relativity. wooo.

9. ### ZuluFunkSupporting Member

Apr 14, 2001
Pennsylvania
Read Vonnegut.

10. ### Vulcan`

im clever ( I.Q. of 7000 ) and i know everything ....
i invented the microwave !!
the washing mashine !!
the light bulb too !?!?
i can also eat a car !!!
WITH A SPOON !!!!!!!!
i use my bass guitar to generate electromagnetic orgasms to innocent people etc. !!
i played "By The Way" (RHCP) all alone !!
the bass, drums and all !!!!
im incredible!!!
not to forget im still 15 !!!!!
so dont underestimate my knowlegde just coz i dont know where i come from !!!
I CAN ALSO EAT THE WHITE HOUSE WITH A SPOON !!?!?!?!!!?!???

11. ### James Hart

Feb 1, 2002
toms_river.nj.us
Endorsing Artist: see profile
the speed of light has been broken http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992796
but your explination does still stand in this era of science.

12. ### WillPlay4FoodNow With More Metal!Staff MemberSupporting Member

Apr 9, 2002
Orbiting HQ
At the beginning of 2002, scientists at two different universities were actually able to stop light in its tracks.

Check it out here.

13. ### Geoff St. GermaineCommercial User

Actually, if you read those articles carefully, you realize that they didn't actually do anything that amazing and in fact they didn't exceed the speed of light in a vacuum.

Something to remember is that the media tries to play on people's ignorance. For example, nothing can exceed the speed of light in a vacuum. However, it is possible to exceed it in a medium. A good example of this if the blue glow surrounding a nuclear reactor. This is a result of the electrons that are ejected from the reactor travel faster than light travels through water. The electrons did not exceed the speed of light in a vacuum.

People can use tricks like quantum tunnelling to make things seem like they go faster than light in a vacuum, but unfortunately it doesn't happen and special relativity is still a sound theory (when applied to the correct situations).

As for the explanation, it would take a while to explain, say the twins paradox, but it is not actually a paradox. I have to run, so I can probably answer some questions people might have.

Geoff

14. ### ZuluFunkSupporting Member

Apr 14, 2001
Pennsylvania
Time does not pass. It merely exists. We pass through time. The events that we witness are only indicators of where we are within "time".

This one may be easier than the "clock" illustration.
If someone on Pluto today is seeing the American Civil War through a telescope, then right now the American Civil War is taking place.

Or, right now, the universe has already been destroyed. We just don't see it, because the light has not reacehd us.

I need to go to the can right now...

15. ### Oysterman

Mar 30, 2000
Sweden
I remember an example that my Physics teacher wrote on the whiteboard in high school. It all made perfect sense, no deep philosophical reasoning, just plain E=mc<sup>2</sup>. It was so clear that I bought the whole idea of time slowing down when travelling in near-light speeds.

I can't for the life of me remember what he wrote, though.

16. ### neptoonSupporting Member

Jul 25, 2000
summerville, sc

yet, you insist on beginning threads in the wrong forums...

17. ### thrash_jazz

Jan 11, 2002
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
Theoretically, time does NOT actually slow down. It only APPEARS to slow down from the viewpoint of an observer who isn't traveling at the speed of light. As far as the watch or radioactive material goes, if it is moving at the speed of light, it too will appear to "age" more slowly.

Explaining it in detail would take too long, but remember that relativity is just that - an observer's viewpoint, relative to him. Anyone moving at close to the speed of light would not start existing in slow motion - but they would appear to do so to an outside observer.

18. ### James Hart

Feb 1, 2002
toms_river.nj.us
Endorsing Artist: see profile
Ok, I stand corrected, I am but a simple computer geek who read an article from www.slashdot.org the other day and thought it topical to this discussion.

this is what caught my eyes.... I haven't followed Physics since my Senior year in 1986.

[Steve Martin voice]
good music and fast computers makes speddling happy well that plus the love of a good woman.... and my dog... no not the dog.... and this remote ... yea, good music, fast computers, love of a good woman and this remote... that's all I need
[/Steve Martin voice]
(sorry, I just watched 'The Jerk' the other night)

19. ### BFunkModeratorStaff MemberSupporting Member

Actually Einstein's assumption that the speed of light is a contant no matter what the reference was a leap of faith. He couldn't actually prove it at the time, but he needed it to make the mathematical proof. His assumption was not generally accepted for about 50 years. Talk about sticking your neck out!!

20. ### Geoff St. GermaineCommercial User

Actually, Einstein felt that mental reasoning was more powerful than experiment. He therefore felt that by mere reasoning and "thought experiment" that man could reason out all of physics. Perhaps this is the source of his skepticism toward quantum mechanics. It removed determinism from the world. In other words, it made it impossible to predict the future, and possible only to assign probability to a certain event.

Einstein's postulate (assumption) that the speed of light was constant in all reference frames came about as a result of experiments of the time, such as the Michelson-Morley experiment. They found that no matter which direction light came to the earth from, it always had the same speed. If the speed of light did vary with reference frames light should have appeared to be moving faster when measured as coming from the direction in which the earth is rotating, and slower in the other direction. The result was that the speed was the same no matter which way the light was coming from.

Yes, it is all crazy, and some people will not accept relativity. The only reason I could offer is that in everyday life we don't witness objects moving at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Up to about 0.1c, the effects are negligable, therefore our brain hasn't came with a great ability to understand it.

Geoff