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True/False: Theory of Relativity Questions

  1. Mar 27, 2008 #1
    You fly in a 747 across the Atlantic from Amsterdam to Detroit at about 900 km/hr. Effects of the Theory of Relativity are of course unnoticeable at such speeds, but just as a thought experiment—which of the following are true?

    1. The walk from your seat to the restroom actually becomes shorter.
    2. If you don’t adjust your clock at all and fly back a few days later, your clock is again going to be exactly synched with the Amsterdam time.
    3. From your window you see another 747 traveling in the opposite direction. The other747 is shorter than yours.
    4. You are crossing six time zones, but your clock is actually going to be off by less than six hours.
    5. You really want Frequent Flier miles calculated from a reference frame on the ground, not from one attached to the airplane.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Gotta start at the beginning:
    False! If you carry an atomic clock in your carryon, you will notice the difference.
    False (though vague on who is doing the measuring).
    As viewed by you, true.
    Time zones are irrelevant. When you land, your clock will be ahead of a ground-based clock synchronized to the international standard.

    Here's the actual experiment: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/relativ/airtim.html
  4. Mar 28, 2008 #3

    Shooting Star

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    Homework Helper

    It’s desirable to get more number of FF miles. Measuring it wrt the plane frame will make the distance shorter than as measured wrt the ground frame. Measuring it wrt the ground frame will thus be advantageous, and I should want it. (Not considering the starting and stopping of the plane here.)
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