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.
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
Our question is: What happens to the string?
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