Douglas T. Young
Department of Physics
Mercer University

Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Willet Science Center 101

"Simultaneity in Einsteinís Special Theory of Relativity:
An Analysis of the Train/Embankment Thought Experiment"

Einsteinís Special Theory of Relativity deals with the consequences of a finite, and fixed, value for the speed of light in a vacuum.  One of the consequences of the finite speed of light is the loss of simultaneity in reference frames in motion relative to each other.  Einstein proposed a thought experiment that illustrated this lack of simultaneity in which a lightning strikes a train in motion relative to the train station (i.e. the embankment).  In a recent paper in the European Journal of Physics, Avi Nelson attempts to further analyze this thought experiment.  In this talk, a brief introduction to the train/embankment thought experiment will be presented, followed by an examination of Nelsonís analysis.  The talk will conclude by examining the merit of Nelsonís analysis.

See also our previous seminar on this topic.

Please join us for light refreshments outside WSC 109 at 4:15.

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