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Posted by Mark on November 1, 2001 23:53:03 UTC

You find it hard to swallow the idea of two observers each staking valid claim in contradicting observation.

How is it that John sees Bob's H-clock to run slow, while Bob sees John's H-clock to "tick" slowly...? What gives?

The answer lies in the word "RELATIVE".

Take these contradictory observations for example... John measures mass of Bob's clock and writes down answer; Bob measures his own clock's mass and also writes down answer. Since both pass eachother with high speed, John's says that Bob's clock weighs in at 1kg while Bob proclaims that his clock only weighs .5kg.

In court, both contest that their method of measuring was flawless, and yet the same clock weighed in at two differing values... how can that be?

The ansewr lies in the fact that John measures kinetic energy where Bob only measures rest mass. Since Bob can claim his clock to be at rest, and equaly valid can John claim clock to be in motion... then neither measure of mass is incorrect, although disagreeing. In fact if we flip the situation, then Bob will say that John has the heavier clock because John's clock is the one in motion! It's all lies in the symmetry of motion.

There are even more of these "disagreeing measurements" in relativity than just slow running clocks... for example strength of magnetic field versus electric field of rod in relative motion, or length contraction of rod moving with constant velocity...

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