Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Common Errors

  1. Sep 12, 2004 #1

    Alkatran

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    What would you say is the most common error an anti-SR theory has? I find that it is almost ALWAYS someone synchronizing two events seperated by distance for multiple frames. Examples would be the barn pole paradox, the train-through-tunnel paradox (front goes in: bomb armed, backs goes in: armed bomb explodes, front goes out: bomb is disarmed, what happens?), etc etc...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2004 #2

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I would agree: the relativity of simultaneity.

    Another error is the misunderstanding of the variables in the Lorentz Transformation, especially when incorrectly applied to the supposed paradox. Formulating things geometrically often reveals the error in supposed paradox.
     
  4. Sep 13, 2004 #3
    Its a loaded question - it presumes that SR is correct and that anyone who does not agree or who raises issues is by definition "wrong" or a crank. There are several well thought out alternative theories that are equally confirmed by all known experiments to date. Selleri transforms for example work just as well as the lorentz transforms in that they predict the same time dilation and length contraction, but they are not derived from the postulate of one-way isotrophy.
     
  5. Sep 13, 2004 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd say its a more basic problem of acceptance. People just don't want to accept that time isn't absolute. All other errors stem from an attempt to reconcile observation with an absolute time.
     
  6. Sep 13, 2004 #5

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I agree; it's a gut-reaction that says there must be one preferred frame of refference.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2004 #6
    I didnt know there was an anti-SR theory. lol.
     
  8. Sep 13, 2004 #7
    Perhaps the author is referring to those criticisms of SR that are levied against the impossibility of the second postulate or some aspect of Einstein's flawed logic..as opposed to alternative explanations of the experimental results that are consistent with the Lorentz transforms.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2004 #8

    Alkatran

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    ram1024, GeistKessel, urtalkingstupid, ...
     
  10. Sep 13, 2004 #9
    I think there are two types of people who argue against SR:

    1) Those who claim that SR leads to physically incompatible situations (paradoxes), ie that SR is not a self-consistent model.

    The most common misunderstanding in this group seems to be to take the time dilation and length contraction equations, and treat them as a complete formulation of SR. These are the posters who never appear to acknowledge the existence of the Lorentz transform.

    2) Those who claim that the predictions of SR do not match experimental evidence.

    I don't know much in this area - I always seem to get caught up with the first type!


    Oh - perhaps there is also be a third group:
    Those who accept the consistency and experimental validity of SR, but contend that a different model is better. I think this includes Lorentzian relativity, and other ether theories. I don't know much about them either - most of the ether theorists are in one of the first two groups.
     
  11. Sep 14, 2004 #10
    yep - there are several catagories of disbelievers - and there are two main catagories of relativistic defenders that have different interpretations of what is real and what is simply an observational measurment - and these two groups usually divide on the explanation of the twin and triplet thought experiments as to whether the time loss is explained by the turn around acceleration, or alternatively (as well known author Robert Resnick argues) that the path integral is determinative of the time dilation effect - acceleration is of no consequence.

    There was another author that pointed out in 1905 that the two postulates of SR might be in conflict - this guy was obviously a crackpot because by 1920 he was fully convinced that an ether was essential. Before he died he even implied that SR was a wrong track and that it would not enjoy lasting significance. What crust...what a dumb guy. I forgot his name - Albert something or other - maybe one of you can help me out.
     
  12. Sep 14, 2004 #11

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think Nenad was objecting to the label "theory" being applied there. They are more like ignorant, idle daydreams.

    Pete, there is a 4th group - those who say that SR matches experimental evidence, but the universe is somehow deceiving us. Ie, C isn't constant, it only looks constant.

    There is also a guy who has argued on several sites (including here) that atomic clocks experience a clock rate effect similar to pendulum clocks (pendulum clocks slow down in decreased gravity), so it isn't really time itself thats changing. He's also alternately argued that while all physical processes are affected by it, its not really a change in the rate of the passage of time itself - just individual changes in individual physical processes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2004
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?