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Relativistic Lightning on Train Problem

  1. May 7, 2008 #1

    TFM

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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Suppose the two lightning bolts shown in the figure 37.5a in the txtbook are simultaneous to an observer on the train.

    Show that they are not simultaneous to an observer on the ground.

    (Relevant Diagram Attached)

    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution

    Thios is a long written Answer of Mastering Physics, but I am not quite sure what soirt of answer they are looking for, any ideas would be greatly appreciated,

    TFM
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2008 #2

    tiny-tim

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    Hi TFM! :smile:

    Assuming they don't want you to use the Lorentz transformations …

    … my guess is that they want you to draw in rays of light going between Mavis and A´ or B´,

    and then describe how Stanley sees those rays. :smile:
     
  4. May 7, 2008 #3

    TFM

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    Assuming that the train is moving, then surely the lightning bolts will travel equal distances to Mavis in the middle as they have to travel equal distances, but to Stanley, they rays have to travel different distances. But this doesn't seem to be related to relativity?

    TFM
     
  5. May 7, 2008 #4

    tiny-tim

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    Hi TFM! :smile:

    It's related to the constancy of the speed of light.

    The question is designed to make you see that once we assume that everyone regards the speed of light as c, then the whole of special relativity follows! :smile:
     
  6. May 7, 2008 #5

    TFM

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    That makes Sense!

    Thanks for the Advice, Tiny-Tim :smile:

    The Ferry Man
     
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