PHYSICS JOURNAL CLUB
September 10, 2003
Willet Science Center 101
The seminar for September 10 will be a discussion of a paper from the European Journal of Physics. The abstract of the paper is shown below, along with a link to the Journal’s homepage. The paper can be downloaded from this link, as long as it is downloaded onto a computer on the Mercer campus. Additional copies are available from Dr. Young (email: email@example.com / phone: (478) 301-2704).
“Reinterpreting the famous train/embankment experiment of relativity,”
[Eur. J. Phys. 24 (July
well-known train/embankment experiment, frequently used to introduce
the relativity of simultaneity, is revisited. Though present in numerous
textbooks, the traditional analysis is shown to be incomplete and inadequate to
demonstrate that simultaneity is relative. Completing the analysis produces not
the relativity of simultaneity in its usual form but rather a new contradiction.
It is shown that, under the conditions of the experiment, a simultaneity in one
inertial frame does indeed hold in another inertial frame but is perceived as a
non-simultaneity by an observer outside the given frame. The source of the
paradox is traced to the experiment itself, which is posited in Newtonian
space–time but under Einsteinian postulates. Though crafted as an introduction
to relativity, the experiment is seen, ironically, to require relativity to
analyse it. The contradictions are resolved by a relativistic analysis.
Journal of Physics Homepage
join us for light refreshments outside WSC 109 at 4:15.
Mercer Physics Seminar Homepage
Mercer Physics Department