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Cancer developing in different RF's

  1. Oct 19, 2009 #1
    In Feynman's 6 not so easy pieces, in Ch. 4 I believe ( don't have the book on me right now), he states:

    "There are those in the medical profession who will claim cancer developes at the same rate no matter what reference frame it is in. They are wrong." (Not exact quote).

    Obviously they are wrong, but I was wondering if anyone knew of a scientific article that backed up these medical professional's point of view? Just another reason to not trust doctors...
     
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  3. Oct 19, 2009 #2

    Fredrik

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    I don't think there are medical journals that talk about the time dilation of cancer cells moving close to the speed of light.
     
  4. Oct 19, 2009 #3
    Yeah didn't think so. I was just wondering why some Medical Professional's claim time dilation does not apply to cancer cells.

    Boggles my mind.
     
  5. Oct 19, 2009 #4
    (I skimmed chapter 3 (Special Theory of Relativity) and chapter 4 (Relativistic Energy and Momentum) but could not find the quote.)

    I wouldn't expect medical doctors to know any more about physics than I would expect physicsts to know about medicine.

    It's always possible the doctor(s) quoted are referring to the fact that basic biological processes evolve at a normal rate in that organisms own reference frame...in other words cancer would progress at the same rate relative to other biological processes as observed by the organism....
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  6. Oct 19, 2009 #5
    I'll find the quote when I get off work tonight.

    Feynman specifies the fact that certain claims in the world of medicine state that cancer, and only cancer, develops at the same rate in all RF's.

    Original goal with this thread was to find out if anyone knew of any medical journals that claim this.

    Or if anyone was friends with feynmen back in the day and knew his doctor.
     
  7. Oct 19, 2009 #6
    Found it!

    6 Not so Easy Pieces, 1997 Edition, Chapter 3, Page 62, 1st Sentence:

    The biologists and medical men sometimes say it is not quite certain that the time it takes for a cancer to develop will be longer in a space ship*, but from the viewpoint of a physicist it is nearly certain; otherwise one could use the rate of cancer development to determine the speed of the ship!

    *Why isn't a citation required? Come on Feynman!

    Anyone else heard of a related paper or claim? Thanks.
     
  8. Oct 19, 2009 #7

    russ_watters

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    Based on the quote, it sounds like something off-the-cuff. Ie, not something biologists claim in a scientific setting, but rather what one might say in an argument with a physicist over beers.
     
  9. Oct 19, 2009 #8

    atyy

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    And Feynman does admit that a cancer may take longer to develop in a spaceship.

    Time dilation applies to ideal clocks - like an atomic clock. It does not apply to non-ideal clocks such as pendulums.
     
  10. Oct 19, 2009 #9

    Dale

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    It most certainly does, this is the first postulate. Otherwise you could build a device consisting of an atomic clock and a pendulum and determine how fast you were going in absolute space. The only difference is how fast you need to go to be able to reliably detect the dilation.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  11. Oct 19, 2009 #10

    russ_watters

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    Huh? Anything with time is affected by time dilation. It's just with a pendulum clock, other factors may be more measurable than time dilation (ie, such clocks aren't accurate enough to notice the time dilation for any time dilation achievable by humans).
     
  12. Oct 19, 2009 #11

    atyy

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    Well, it should be a clock that is not "directly" affected by acceleration - but a pendulum clock is "directly" affected by acceleration, so it won't be an ideal clock.

    I guess it depends on whether Feynman was thinking of an inertial spaceship, or one that accelerated in a version of the twin paradox.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  13. Oct 19, 2009 #12

    Dale

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    Even a clock affected by acceleration will still time dilate due to velocity, i.e. there will be time dilation on top of whatever acceleration effects exist.
     
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