Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective

By Shimon Malin | Go to book overview

APPENDICES

APPENDIX I
The Relativity of Simultaneity and the Relativity of Length

1. Proof of the Relativity of Simultaneity

The full story of Julie and Peter's encounter will establish the relativity of simultaneity as an unavoidable consequence of the two basic postulates of Special Relativity.

To make the point of the story as clearly as possible, we will endow Peter and Julie with superhuman capacities: Their reaction times are billions of times better than those of ordinary mortals; if they receive signals, or other impressions, that differ in their arrival times even by no more than a billionth of a second, they can tell them apart. We have to endow our protagonists with such superhuman capacities because some of the events in the story will unfold in very quick succession, due to the enormity of the speed of light. So, here is the full story.

Once upon a time Peter and Julie were traveling in their respective spaceships way out in space, far away from stars and planets. The spaceships were made of strong, transparent plastic. They had clocks at each end; each pair of clocks was synchronized: Peter and Julie, standing in the middle of their vehicles, acted as "midway observers."

The two spaceships approached each other. They traveled in precisely opposite directions, and, because of Peter's carelessness, they almost collided head-on. Fortunately, the spaceships just missed each other as they zoomed past. The encounter, while not disastrous, was not uneventful. This is how Julie told me about it (see Figure 2.1):

"I was just standing there, in the middle of my spaceship, which was at rest, when Peter's spaceship appeared, zooming toward me at an enormous speed. I was relieved when I realized that it had not hit my spaceship, but right at the instant his spaceship was side by side with mine, a strange incident happened: Two pieces of space debris, two small rocks, hit our vehicles. One of them hit the front end of my spacecraft, and simultaneously the rear end of Peter's (the front end of my spaceship and the rear end of his were almost touching at this point),

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Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Nature Loves to Hide *
  • Nature Loves to Hice - Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • Part One - The Quandary *
  • I - Mach's Shadow *
  • 2 - Einstein's Dilemma *
  • 3 - The Call of Complementarity *
  • 4 - Waves of Nothingness *
  • 5 - Paul Dirac and the Spin of the Electron *
  • 6 - An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Rock *
  • 7 - "Nature Loves to Hide" *
  • Part Two - From a Universe of Objects to a Universe of Experiences *
  • 8 - The Elusive Obvious *
  • 9 - Objectivation *
  • 10 - In and Out of Space and Time *
  • II - "Nature Makes a Choice" *
  • 12 - Nature Alive *
  • 13 - Flashes of Existence *
  • 14 - The Expression of Knowledge *
  • 15 - A Universe of Experience *
  • 16 - The Potential and the Actual *
  • Part Three - Physics and the One *
  • 17 - Levels of Being *
  • 18 - Our Place in the Universe *
  • 19 - Physics and the One *
  • ∼ Epilogue *
  • Appendices *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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