MadSci Network: Physics

Subject: Confusion about relativity and mass

Date: Sun Feb 20 22:13:40 2000
Posted by Judson White
Grade level: 10-12 School: Greece Arcadia High School
City: Rochester State/Province: NY Country: USA
Area of science: Physics
ID: 951106420.Ph

I've read that as an object increases speed, and especially as it 
approaches the speed of light, that its mass increases.  After reading a 
few books I still have not been able to reason out two things.  One is, 
that since there is no standard frame of reference, that if some observer 
was going the same speed as some other object that was near the speed of 
light (and more importantly, had increased mass) if the observer would 
understand this objects weight to be unchanged? 

Another similar question I have is that if two objects are moving along at 
near the speed of light (say 99%) relative to some frame of reference, it 
seems like one object could increase some arbitrary amount of speed 
relative to the other (say 2% the speed of light) but still not increase 1% 
the speed of light from the other observer's viewpoint... so, what further 
confuses me is how an object becomes harder to accelerate (increases in 
mass) if it can always be viewed as being at rest from *some* viewpoint, 
and therefore not being near the speed of light.

Thank you for your time.

Re: Confusion about relativity and mass

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