MadSci Network: Physics

Subject: Understanding some (to my mind) problems in special relativity.

Date: Sat Nov 18 14:31:18 2000
Posted by Dean
Grade level: 10-12 School: Diocesan College
City: Cape Town State/Province: Western Cape Country: South Africa
Area of science: Physics
ID: 974575878.Ph

I know that the fundamental priciple behind special relativity is that the 
speed of light will remain constant to all observers, no matter how they 
are moving relative to the light. To allow for this, time must therefore 
be "slowed down" as one's speed increases. The example most books use to 
explain this is a scacecraft moving at (or near to)the speed of light 
emitting light from the front. By classical physics, the light should 
hover near the front of the craft; but by relativity, the craft's relative 
time is slowed, allowing the light to move at the correct speed. What I 
don't understand is how the principle applies if the light is shone in any 
other direction. If the light is shone backwards, for instance, the 
craft's relative time should speed up to nullify the relative speed of the 

Re: Understanding some (to my mind) problems in special relativity.

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