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Posted by pmb on February 15, 2000 04:49:25 UTC

: I guess, that any answer taken down to a low enough level is based on a how rather than a why, but my personal goal is to understand the why's as far as humanly possible.

Perhaps you might consider forgetting, for a moment, what words are the correct one and start asking yorself what you're looking for and use analogies from your own experience.

Consider what I mentioned above. I had started to rethink the concept of mass. When one is learning it in college you first learn it in an elementary way by Newton's laws. Then you go on to relativity where you see that inertia depends on velocity, and there is a realtion between mass and energy. Then on to quantum mechanics where it comes into play in a much different way.

This is about how one comes across it in an undergraduate course.

But in the early 90's a friend of mine at work told me that he prefered to think of mass as rest mass. I found this odd. As I looked into it more and there were more diccussions of it one the web that I saw I realised that something wasn't quiote right. So I started to forget the names and think of the meaning "What do I measure in the lab?" I then considered a thought experiment where I would try to measure and increase in weight with velocity. Unfortunately this line of reasoning provked a flame war. Nobody had ever considered, or could fathom, what it meant for something to weight more with speed. The problem in that case was that people were too used to thinking that there was no such thing aas a gravitational force in general relativity. They simply couldn;t fathom it. After all, Einstein proved that gravity wasn't a force but a curvature in spacetime right? Wrong!

So I took solved the problem with the help of a relativist. And even he thought the body's weight wouldn't increase with speed. But he's a damn sharp guy and he solved it (got the same answer I did but in a more formal way).

Then I wrote a paper on how Einstein never intended to be considered a curvature in sapcetime (only that gravity curves spacetime). It's being peer reviewed right now. But I've gotten some good feed back from some relativists I know. This isn;t all that new. There is a gent at Boston University who knew this. He's a very well known historian in relativity.

So sometimes you might seek an answer only you may get an answer which isn't what you asked. THAT is science.

I'd be glad to read your paper but I'm VERY picky.

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