One, Two, Three ... Infinity: Facts & Speculations of Science

By George Gamow | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Relativity of Space and Time

1. TURNING SPACE INTO TIME AND VICE VERSA

ALTHOUGH mathematical attempts to demonstrate the unity of space and time in a single four-dimensional world do not completely obliterate the differences between distances and durations, they certainly reveal a much greater similarity between the two notions than was ever evident in pre-Einsteinian physics. In

fact, space distances and time intervals between various events must now be considered only as the projections of the basic four- dimensional separation between these events on the space and on the time axis, so that the rotation of the four-dimensional axis- cross may result in partial transformation of distances into durations and vice versa. But what do we mean by the rotation of the four-dimensional space-time axis-cross?

Let us first consider an axis-cross made by the two space- co-ordinates as shown in Figure 34a, and suppose we have two fixed points separated by a certain distance L. Projecting this distance on the co-ordinate axis, we find that our two points are separated by a ft in the direction of the first axis, and by b ft in

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One, Two, Three ... Infinity: Facts & Speculations of Science
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Other Books by George Gamow ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Part I - Playing with Numbers 1
  • Chapter I - Big Numbers 3
  • Chapter II - Natural and Artificial Numbers 24
  • Part II - Space, Time: & Einstein 39
  • Chapter III - Unusual Properties of Space 41
  • Chapter IV - The World of Four Dimensions 64
  • Chapter V - Relativity of Space and Time 84
  • Part III - Microcosmos 113
  • Chapter VI - Descending Staircase 115
  • Chapter VII - Modern Alchemy 149
  • Chapter VIII - The Law of Disorder 192
  • Chapter IX - The Riddle of Life 231
  • Part IV - Macrocosmos 267
  • Chapter X - Expanding Horizons 269
  • Chapter XI - The Days of Creation 298
  • Index 336
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