Traveling near c

MrCaN
Ok, so I'm sitting in class thinking, which is never a good idea, about objects moving near c. I think that if you have a wire moving near c and shoot an electrical signal down it, the signal is going to move faster than c, but then I remember Lorentz and that contraction will fix that, but then what if you hurdle a non-ionized hydrogen atom near c. What happens the the electron and or its orbit. You could use a Lorentz contraction to change the path length, but how far can you stretch a nucleus before it breaks down, or could you have the orbit simply run perpendicular to the nucleus direction, and if this is the case, what happens to atoms with more electrons, or molecules.

STAii
Well, here are some things to think about.
In the frame of refference of the atom itself (or actually the center of mass of the object which this atom is made of, just to take the idea of temprature breaking atoms away), the atom is not streched at all, therefor it is not even on the limit of breaking

And, about the signal in the wire, I think the signal's speed is measured from the frame of refference in which it was made, not from the frame of refference of the conductor.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
You must remember that velocity must be measured with respect to something. With that in mind let us measure the Earth's velocity with respect to the distant galaxys. In that frame of reference the Earth is moving at a significant fraction of c. Now do your experiments, what do you observe?

The point?

No matter what your velocity (that is, what point you choose to reference your moition to), you will not observe any effects of relativity in YOUR frame of reference. c will remain c, the velocity of the electrons in atomic shells or your TV will be the same.

ok so say the wire is traveling @ 1 m/s less than the electrons traveling through it and the wire is one meter long and has zero resistance.
How long will it take for the electrons in the wire to go form one end to the other?
Im guessing 1 second.

Answers on a post card.

Staff Emeritus