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Mar7-04, 10:37 PM
P: 1,473
It is not an intuitive thing - there are probably more pages written on the twin paradox than any other subject in physics - and even the relativists don't agree upon the explanation - Einstein addressed the problem in his first paper - and dodged it by implying that the frames of reference are not equivalent because the turn around twin undergoes acceleration - and this is commonly echoed by many including the experts on these boards - but this analysis is different from what one arrives it for a photon traveling to a distant location and being reflected - if relativity is correct then no time passes on the clock attached to the photon - it has not aged when it arrives at the distant location and it has not aged when it returns - but time on earth for the two events is measured by an earth clock that records the total time over and back - this is the proper time recorded on the earth clock but the proper time recorded by the photon clock is "0" Then there are the "Lorentz Ether" guys who claim that hi speed travel involves both an actual time dilation and an actual physical contraction relative to an at rest cosmic medium - and they arrive at the same result.

Any way you look at it, the traveling entity does not enjoy any of the benefits of a longer life except he gets to see a lot more of the universe - but he will eat the same number of meals as the guy who stays behind and drink the same number of Gin and Tonics and put in the same number of hours sleeping. Well, he actually gets one other advantage - when he returns to earth those young girls that turned him down because he was a dork have by then grown old and hammered and he can have his day with their daughters.