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Alternate twin paradox

  1. Apr 28, 2008 #1
    I understand if this question sounds juvenile, because I thought of it after seeing a science fiction movie called Clockstoppers. In this film, a device (stopwatch) is used to speed up the molecular motion of an person body so that from their frame of reference, the rest of the world has slowed to a crawl (or stopped altogether). In reference to the Twin paradox, if instead of sending one twin traveling in a spaceship at relativistic speeds while the other remains on Earth, would it be possible to vibrate the particles of one twin so that they oscillate at a frequency close to that of the speed of light to create the same age asymmetry while both twins are located on Earth? Is interstellar travel the only way to achieve the age asymmetry? Would the particles constituting the twin have to be moving coherently (relative to the twin as a whole)? I am not sure how the device works in the movie (I assume deus ex machina) or what the creation of such a device would require. I have no background in physics so please forgive me if this scenario violates a fundamental law or understanding. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2008 #2
    The question violates alot of things... but i still appreciate it.
    The entire premise makes absolutely no sense (of the movie).
    As to your question, theres really no way to oscillate all of someone's molecules without exploding/imploding/evaporating/eviscerating them. In addition, oscillatory motion is characterized by frequent acceleration which takes alot of force and energy (difficult to provide). In addition, special relativity becomes alot more complex in accelerating reference frames... so the frequent accelerations would have a pronounced effect on any time-dilation (what that effect would be, i have no idea).
    Cryogenics would be a much more feasible option.
    BTW 080319B was def the coolest GRB ever, awesome namesake.
  4. Apr 28, 2008 #3


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    You don't need an acceleted frame to deal with accelerated motion, you can calculate the effects from the perspective of an inertial frame. If an object's speed is varying in a given inertial frame, but you know the speed as a function of time v(t), then if you want to know how much it'll age between two moments in the inertial frame [tex]t_0[/tex] and [tex]t_1[/tex], you can integrate [tex]\int_{t_0}^{t_1} \sqrt{1 - v(t)^2/c^2} \, dt[/tex] and get the answer. So, in theory a clock moving in a tiny circle with a constant speed v (though it's direction would be changing as it moved, so this would still qualify as acceleration) would run slower by a factor of [tex]\sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}[/tex]. However, I think you're correct in the rest of your comments about the extreme impracticality of oscillating all someone's molecules at relativistic speeds in a coordinated way.
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