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How to observe time dilation?

  1. Jul 11, 2005 #1
    what is the OBSERVABLE property of the universe that leads one to predict that the duration of processes depends on one's relative speed?

    I have no idea- my first thought was gravity but that is NOT observable. I can not get this at all- I must be thinking through this entire question. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2005 #2
    I'm not completely sure what you're asking. If I remember correctly, the idea that lead to Einstein's relativity was that the speed of light is constant in all inertial reference frames (from EM Theory). I suppose the observable property would be the confirmation of this light speed constant.
  4. Jul 11, 2005 #3

    James R

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    That the speed of light is constant for all observers, regardless of their state of motion, and that the laws of physics seem to take the same forms in all inertial reference frames.
  5. Jul 12, 2005 #4


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    The observable property is that the duration of processes depends on one's relative speed. Sorry if that sounds trite, but I don't know another way to say it. If you want examples of observations, the lifetime of an unstable particle traveling near the speed of light will depend on this effect.
  6. Jul 12, 2005 #5
    The duration of an event depends on the relative velocity between your reference frame and the event frame.If the stationary frame with respect to the event records the duration of the evnt to be 't' then , you moving with relative velocity would record the time to be:


    t' = \frac {t-\frac{ux}{c^2}}{\sqrt 1- \frac{v^2}{c^2}}

    OBSERVABLE property is the behaviour of space-time for different people going at different speeds. Take an example of a cuboid lying horizontally on the floor . At a time you can only see one face of the cuboid and if you a tilt a bit and try to see the other one along with the first one , the dimensions of the first one will 'apparently' change now for you and only you . Just as like the two faces are two different components of the same cuboid.Same is with spacetime.Space and time are two different components of the same event.And both are interdependent, your behaviour in space will give you the corresponding time duration of the event.

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2005
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