Special Relativity 3

Special Relativity 3:
Particles, Paradoxes
& Puzzles

Robert L. Piccioni, Ph.D.

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This is the third book in the Everyone’s Guide Series devoted to Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.

In this book, we explore the primary application of Special Relativity: high-energy particle physics. Subatomic particles travel closer to the speed of light than any other form of matter. It is in particle physics that Special Relativity makes its greatest contribution and meets its most demanding tests.

We will also examine the most famous and illustrative paradoxes and puzzles of Special Relativity:
the Twin Paradox, the String & Starships Paradox, and the Javelin & Tube Paradox. While physicists have never confirmed a true violation of Special Relativity, its predictions are sometimes bizarre and counter-intuitive. Paradoxes highlight these challenges and enhance our understanding of Einstein’s great accomplishment.

Here, we also debunk the erroneous claim that the Big Bang theory is wrong because its explanation of the CMB redshift violates energy conservation. Redshifts are entirely compatible with a correct understanding of Special Relativity and energy conservation.

Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are the two major pillars of 20th century physics, which together revolutionized our understanding of nature, utterly dismantling Newtonian physics that had been the gold standard of science for over 200 years, and introducing radically new concepts that defy human intuition. These theories may represent the greatest upheaval in the history of science. Both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics were launched over 100 years ago, yet we are still digesting their broad and stunning implications. Both theories have been exhaustively tested and confirmed to extraordinary precision. As bizarre as they may seem at first, there is no denying that they describe our world as it really is.

String & Starships Paradox

Two Federation starships, at rest alongside a space dock, are tied together with a slender string. Both starships face the same direction, and are separated by a distance L; L is also the length of the string. At time t=0, both starships receive GO signals (dotted lines) from the space dock, as seen below. Both blast off at the same time, with constant acceleration, and both stop accelerating when their velocities, relative to the space dock, equal v, a velocity close to the speed of light.
    Our question is: What happens to the string?

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Special Relativity 3:
Particles, Paradoxes
& Puzzles

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