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People initially think that:

1. in an frame which is in motion relative to themselves, time dilates and lengths contract; and

2. velocities in a frame which is in motion relative to themselves are contracted lengths divided by dilated time.

I admit that it stumped me for a long time, because of what I see as inconsistent use of primes and for me a much more useful pair of equations would have a more consistent use of primes, similar to the Lorentz transformations.

I was told during a long discussion that time dilation and length contraction are used, even though they pertain to different frames, because they have greater utility. I took that at face value, but now I wonder again.

What exactly is the greater utility of time dilation and length contraction equations which prevents the use of two contraction equations which would do away with the confusion I mentioned above?

(And by the way, introducing arguments that

*t*in time dilation is the period between tick and tock doesn't really help, because this is more indicative of the confusion since we use clocks everyday to measure the time between events in terms of the number of ticks and tocks rather than in terms of the duration of pause between each tick and tock. Reinterpreting how we use time to make the equation work is not indicative of any greater utility.)

If it is a purely historical thing, then I would be far happier with it if that little tidbit were taught at the same time as the equations are introduced. But it isn't.

There is also the potential argument that they are only useful right at the beginning of one's odyssey into relativity, so it doesn't really matter. Sure, ok, then it doesn't matter if you use a more intuitive pairing does it?

Bottom line: what is so great with time dilation?

cheers,

neopolitan