# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: What is the way out of this conundrum?  (Read 1082 times)

#### Fruityloop

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##### What is the way out of this conundrum?
« on: 16/03/2016 04:52:59 »
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=59598.0

Here's another situation which I believe illustrates the absurdity and insanity of special relativity.
We have three lights in space that are equidistant from each other, forming an equilateral triangle:
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`                                                                    B                                                                   / \                                                                  /   \                                                                 /     \                                                                /       \                                                               C---------A`Imagine that there is an observer at the mid-point between A and B.  An observer is at the mid-point between B and C.
An observer is at the mid-point between C and A.  The observers are at rest with respect to the triangle of
lights.  The three lights flash simultaneously in the reference frame of these observers.  There is a long ship
moving at a high rate of speed from C to A.  There is a long ship moving at a high rate of speed from
B to C.  There is a long ship moving at a high rate of speed from A to B.  So we have three different reference
frames each with a different ship.  So, A flashes then C flashes, C flashes then B flashes, B flashes then A flashes.
Wait! Wait! what? what's going on? A flashes first followed by C flashing which is followed by B flashing which
is followed by A flashing. But A flashed first, it has already flashed.  How then can it flash last?
It seems the only resolution to this conundrum is to assume that for at least one of the
ships the flashes must occur in reverse order.  For example, for the ship that is moving from
C to A, according to him, the flash at B occurs before the flash at C, whereas for the ship moving
from B to C the flash at C occurs before the flash at B.  It seems we have an impossible situation.  Thoughts anyone?

#### jeffreyH

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• The graviton sucks
##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #1 on: 16/03/2016 08:35:10 »
What is the relativistic mass of each ship?

#### Colin2B

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##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #2 on: 16/03/2016 08:56:36 »
So, A flashes then C flashes, C flashes then B flashes, B flashes then A flashes.
Wait! Wait! what? what's going on? A flashes first followed by C flashing which is followed by B flashing which
is followed by A flashing. But A flashed first, it has already flashed.  How then can it flash last?
There is no single frame of reference in which this sequence occurs.

#### Thebox

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##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #3 on: 16/03/2016 09:42:19 »
So, A flashes then C flashes, C flashes then B flashes, B flashes then A flashes.
Wait! Wait! what? what's going on? A flashes first followed by C flashing which is followed by B flashing which
is followed by A flashing. But A flashed first, it has already flashed.  How then can it flash last?
There is no single frame of reference in which this sequence occurs.

Colin - There is no situation which we observe single photons travelling but that is widely accepted.

Fruit - Just consider we see through a quantum tunnel and everything we see is simultaneous.

#### Fruityloop

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##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #4 on: 19/03/2016 18:01:34 »
It is true that these events are not in a single frame of reference.
However,  that doesn't mean there isn't some kind of problem here.

#### Colin2B

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##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #5 on: 20/03/2016 09:12:47 »
It is true that these events are not in a single frame of reference.
However,  that doesn't mean there isn't some kind of problem here.
Then explain what the problem is, because relativity says that the scenario you describe doesn't happen.

Don't worry, neither do we. We usually ignore him.

#### Fruityloop

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##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #6 on: 11/04/2016 21:28:27 »
You will notice in the above scenario that the situation is symmetrical.
The argument that I made about A flashing both first and last could also
be applied to both B and C.  Anyways, I will continue with the following argument.
The flash occuring at A is simultaneous for both the observer moving from C to A and
the observer moving from A to B.  If you have a light bulb the light is emitted
at the same time from everywhere on the bulb.
For the high speed observer moving from C to A, at the moment that
the light is emitted from A the light from C has not yet been emitted.
For the high speed observer moving from A to B, at the moment that
the light is emitted from A, the light from B has already been emitted.
So, at the very moment that the light is emitted from A, the light from B
is already traveling through space and the light from C is not yet traveling
through space.  You will also notice that the emission of light at B is simultaneous for both the observer moving from A to B and for the observer moving from B to C.  The emission of light at C is simultaneous for the observer moving from C to A and the observer moving from B to C.  So, for the observer moving from B to C the flash at B must occur before the flash at C.  That is impossible! The flash at C must occur before the flash at B.  We have a contradiction.  We have an impossibility.
« Last Edit: 12/04/2016 02:29:14 by Fruityloop »

#### Colin2B

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##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #7 on: 12/04/2016 09:34:43 »
You will notice in the above scenario that the situation is symmetrical.
It doesn't matter that the system is symmetrical.
The fact that different observers see different things is the whole point of relativity.

Consider a simple example. 3 spaceships A B C.
B is 'hanging' in space and considers himself stationary.

B sees A approaching at 100mph and from the opposite direction C approaches at 200mph.

So observer A sees B approaching at 100mph and C at 300 mph

Observer C sees B approaching at 100mph and A at 300mph.

But no one would suggest that this situation is impossible, nor would they suggest that both A and C are moving at 300mph.

When objects travel at near light speeds we need to take into account the relativity of time as well as space and it doesn't work the same way as it does at low speeds. In particular, simultaneous is no longer how we think of it in our low speed existence and what you claim is simultaneous is not.
If you don't understand this, you need to study relativity and find out what is happening rather than make errors of understanding. You will then be able to work out what is happening in this situation.
Good luck
« Last Edit: 12/04/2016 14:08:23 by Colin2B »

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: What is the way out of this conundrum?
« Reply #7 on: 12/04/2016 09:34:43 »