- 32
- 0
Time dilation can be shown mathematically but what is the physical phenomenon due to which it occurs?
The constancy of the speed of light in all inertial frames. If you are thinking that things actually change size in their own frame of reference, then that is your problem, since that does not happen.Time dilation can be shown mathematically but what is the physical phenomenon due to which it occurs?
If the speed of light is the same for all observers, then the passage of time (the measured duration between events) cannot be the same for all observers. Its impossible for both of those things to be the same - its an over-constrained situation. Satisfy yourself of that logic as a first step. Once you have comprehended the impossibility of two observers not at rest with respect to each other agreeing on both the speed of light and the passage of time, then study the experiments that show indeed all observers do agree on the speed of light.what is the physical phenomenon due to which it occurs?
There isn't one. Time dilation is much the same effect as putting a ruler diagonally on a piece of graph paper and realising that the ruler markings don't match up with the grid. That's because the distance the ruler is measuring isn't in the same direction as the distance the grid is measuring.Time dilation can be shown mathematically but what is the physical phenomenon due to which it occurs?
Another way of understanding "Why time dilation?" is to start with the relativity of simultaneity (google for "Einstein train simultaneity"), which does have a clear physical explanation - it follows from the constant speed of light. Once you understand relativity of simultaneity, you have your explanation of time dilation:Time dilation can be shown mathematically but what is the physical phenomenon due to which it occurs?
I know that things do not actually change size in their refernce frames but only is observed to be doing so. I am asking if time dilation occurs due to the time taken by the light to reach us or something of that sort.The constancy of the speed of light in all inertial frames. If you are thinking that things actually change size in their own frame of reference, then that is your problem, since that does not happen.
No, time dilation is what remains after you accounted for signal delay.I am asking if time dilation occurs due to the time taken by the light to reach us or something of that sort.
Then reread post #4I know that things do not actually change size in their refernce frames but only is observed to be doing so. I am asking if time dilation occurs due to the time taken by the light to reach us or something of that sort.
Some of the introductory material on SR may give the impression that the delay in light signals reaching an observer is of some physical significance, but it is not. Observations of the time of an event must take into account how long the signal takes to reach the observer, whether the information is sent by light, sound or carrier pigeon!I know that things do not actually change size in their refernce frames but only is observed to be doing so. I am asking if time dilation occurs due to the time taken by the light to reach us or something of that sort.
I like " Special Relativity" by Helliwell. The maths required for SR should be fairly modest, as is the case with this book.Thanks to everyone.Can you all suggest me some books for understanding special relativity?I have just started my undergraduate studies and cannot handle the rigorous maths required.
This has always been the most obvious logical explanation for me. But the more I dive into special relativity, the more I'm beginning to see why all the physics instructors are trying to teach it from a Minkowski spacetime and spacetime diagram perspective. Still, I find my mind recoils at that way of looking at it even now.If the speed of light is the same for all observers, then the passage of time (the measured duration between events) cannot be the same for all observers. Its impossible for both of those things to be the same - its an over-constrained situation. Satisfy yourself of that logic as a first step. Once you have comprehended the impossibility of two observers not at rest with respect to each other agreeing on both the speed of light and the passage of time, then study the experiments that show indeed all observers do agree on the speed of light.
There is no mechanistic explanation for why time moves at different rates for different observers. You might as well ask (and its a better / more fundamental question imo) why is the speed of light constant for all observers. Time dilation is just a consequence of that experimentally confirmed feature of the universe. Once a constant c is established, time dilation must exist. These are not at all independent phenomena, and the one we can most easily observe is / measure is c.
This forum is littered with in depth discussions of the workings of clocks. Examining time dilation from that perspective is really a big distraction, imo.
edit:
For me, the best answer to your question is :
The constant speed of light is the physical phenomena due to which time dilation occurs.
For SR you can get away with algebra, as long as you don't want to think about realistic acceleration, which needs you to be able to integrate and differentiate. I could handle the maths by the time I left school - I'd be surprised if you couldn't.Thanks to everyone.Can you all suggest me some books for understanding special relativity?I have just started my undergraduate studies and cannot handle the rigorous maths required.
Right now I have a good grasp over calculus in single variables.Would that be enough to read introductory books on SR?For SR you can get away with algebra, as long as you don't want to think about realistic acceleration, which needs you to be able to integrate and differentiate. I could handle the maths by the time I left school - I'd be surprised if you couldn't.
I rather like Taylor and Wheeler's Spacetime Physics - the first chapter is free online if you want to tryy before you buy.
Easily. General paths through 4d spacetime probably require some partial differentiation, but as long as you stick to motion in a line (as most introductory SR does) you're fine.Right now I have a good grasp over calculus in single variables.Would that be enough to read introductory books on SR?
Thank you so much.Easily. General paths through 4d spacetime probably require some partial differentiation, but as long as you stick to motion in a line (as most introductory SR does) you're fine.
Current SR learner myself, and I strongly suggest learning linear algebra if you want to go beyond the semester 1 physics version of SR. Here's a free online text on linear algebra:Thank you so much.
Is there a difference between being observed to change size and actually changing size?…things do not actually change size in their reference frames but only is observed to be doing so.
Einstein also initially rebelled against Minkowski space. He called it unnecessary learnedness. He believed in comprehension before calculation.I'm beginning to see why all the physics instructors are trying to teach it from a Minkowski spacetime and spacetime diagram perspective. Still, I find my mind recoils at that way of looking at it even now.
Yes.Is there a difference between being observed to change size and actually changing size?
Einstein soon changed this view and immersed himself in 4D spacetime for 10 years before coming up with GTR.Einstein also initially rebelled against Minkowski space. He called it unnecessary learnedness. He believed in comprehension before calculation.
A little care is needed with this statement. The principle of relativity leads to two distinct self-consistent theories. Both have an invariant speed, one which is the same in all inertial frames of reference. In one case it is finite, and this is relativity, and in one case it is infinite, and this is Newtonian physics....and the constant speed of light for all inertial frames is necessary for the laws of physics to be the same in all inertial frames.
If you are talking about three-velocities here, I don't think this is correct. If you are talking about four-velocities then it makes more sense. Note that they aren't orthogonal, but they are non-parallel.That’s because I take the motion of the action potentials as basically orthogonal to the motion of the spaceship,
All directly measurable things are Lorentz invariant, so yes. I gather Einstein said that he'd have preferred the whole thing to be called the Theory of Invariants, in fact.And I’m becoming more convinced these days that Lorentz invariance is the more important thing to try to understand...
Rotation. Anything moving with respect to you rotates out of a space dimension and into the time dimension. What it gains in time, it loses in length.Time dilation can be shown mathematically but what is the physical phenomenon due to which it occurs?
It sounds like you are invoking a mechanical metaphor by using the word rotation, but I can't follow what you are saying (and I am not implying that is your fault). Can you clarify?Rotation. Anything moving with respect to you rotates out of a space dimension and into the time dimension. What it gains in time, it loses in length.