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Albert Einstein’s Ideas And Opinions, Part I: Science And Philosophy Of Special Theory Of Relativity
ALBERT EINSTEIN ON SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY (Lecture at King’s College, London, 1921)
QUOTE “The concepts of Space, time and motion thereto observed as fundamentals have to be abandoned. The concept of time should be made relative, each inertial system being given its own special time. It is necessary because the velocity of light is constant in empty space. According to the special theory of relativity, spatial co-ordinates and time still have an absolute character in so far as they are directly measurable by stationary clocks and bodies. But they are relative in so far as they depend on the state of motion of the selected inertial system. According to Special Theory of Relativity the four dimension continuum formed by the union of space and time (Minkowski) retains the absolute character which, according to the earlier theory, belonged to the time and space, separately. The influence of motion (relative to the coordinate system) on the form of bodies and on the motion of clocks, also the equivalence of energy and inert mass, follow from the interpretation of coordinates and time as products of measurement ” UNQUOTE
Albert Einstein has summed up the postulates of his special theory of relativity through this part of his lecture. The postulates are as follows:
1. The laws of Physics are same in all inertial frames which mean that it is not possible to perform an experiment measuring motion, relative to stationary ether (Michelson experiment).
2. Velocity of light in free space is a constant.
The second postulate differentiates the Theory of Relativity to the classical theory. As per classical theory, Velocity of light changes (in Galilean transformations). But in relativity, it is not only constant but also maximum which cannot be exceeded by any moving particle or wave.
These postulates confirm non-existence of ether as per the conclusions of Michelson-Morley experiment. In fact, Michelson Morley experiment was the fore-runner in deriving equations for space and time connecting v (velocity of the object) and C (velocity of light) by the frequently used formula. (1-v2/c2). The non-existence of ether was substituted by the permanence of velocity of light, making LIGHT as the only absolute phenomenon in the physical Universe. Space, mass and time change as per the velocity with which the objects move in relation to the velocity of light. Length of objects shrink and will become ZERO if the objects move with the velocity of light. Likewise mass increases and at the speed of light it becomes infinity. Similarly, there is an increase in time interval which is known as time dilation. (Readers are requested to go through a simple book on Special relativity to derive the formula and their actual implications.)
MEASUREMENT OF TIME AND SPACE USING VELOCITY OF LIGHT:
This author wishes to add one observation to the interesting fact that measurement using light could be the only absolute phenomenon in Science experiments, according to Special Theory of Relativity because it is always constant in free space.
Let us consider measurements of TIME and SPACE. Time is already calculated based on electro- magnetic vibrations. Thus Time has already come into the realms of light since light is a part of electro-magnetic spectrum.
Another corollary of the second postulate is that all the distances, lengths, breadths, volumes which are manifestation of SPACE can be measured in terms of velocity of light. We are aware that huge astronomical distances are measured in terms of light years which are none other than distances travelled in terms of velocity of light. Let us imagine a measuring system so minute which can measure even atomic lengths in terms of velocity of light, the system will be absolute, not related to any other phenomenon. Several atomic calculations are done using spectral lines. Some intelligent and hard working scholar can try to bring such a measuring system starting from atomic distances to far away galaxies in terms of velocity of light ( say light nano seconds to light years) it will be a great contribution to scientific world.
Let us consider the TWINS PARADOX which states that the elder brother who travels to the outer space with speed of light will be much younger than his elder brother on return, because of time dilation. Similarly, if one goes to a far off star with a speed more than that of light, he will reach the particular star much before light reaches that star so that he can observe his starting from Earth, because the light reaches later. One cannot say whether these hypotheses can be applied to human beings because they are controlled by biological principles which are different from physical objects.
However, these principles can be applied to minute particles like electrons and some sub nucleic particles which can travel with speeds near speed of light and proofs are available in the form of derived results. It is a matter of interest to note that at such a minute level quantum mechanics, field theories and relativity work together.
The most important thing to be noted is that, TIME decides speed of Light (or velocity); Velocity in turn decides momentum and energy. Hence finally everything is reduced to CHANGE IN KINETIC ENERGY.
The Time dilation is nothing but an enormous increase in Energy which is proved in nuclear fusion experiments. Einstein’s assertion to President Truman that splitting of atom will produce enormous energy had been proved right by the discovery atom bombs.
So, finally it is ENERGY that remains to be discussed. Let us see how mass and energy are related to each other.
MASS ENERGY EQUIVALENCE: E=mC2
The greatest Truths are essentially simple. That is how the mass-energy equivalence may be defined. This formula can be explained even to a school child with ease.
Here is also a postulate. That postulate is the most fundamental for entire Science, including mathematics. That postulate is LAW OF CONSERVATION OF ENERGY (conservation laws). When energy is controlled by law of conservation, there is no need to say that mass is also covered by the same law of conservation. It is mentioned as a POSTULATE because this is the foundation on which the entire science is built and vehemently questioned by Philosophy. (Discussions in the later paragraphs)
The entire Universe is visualized by these three factors SPACE, TIME and CONSERVATION LAWS. In the foregoing paragraphs we saw something about space and time. Mass-energy equation covers laws of conservation between mass and energy. Thus, a study of special theory of relativity covers the entire Physical Universe (Space, Time, Mass, Energy).
MASS DISPERSED AS HEAT ENERGY:
Albert Einstein in the above book (page 337) reproduced from his article in Science Illustrated, New York, April, 1946 issue brings the most familiar example of the oscillating simple pendulum to explain the law of conservation of energy. Any Physics student knows that the total of its potential energy and kinetic energy is always a constant though individually they may vary. But friction comes into the picture and stops the pendulum after some time.
Here are some extracts from the above mentioned article:
Quote: “HEAT ENERGY is produced by friction as in the fire making drills of the Indians. For production of such heat, an equivalent amount of heat is to be expended. This is called “equivalence of work and heat”. In the case of simple pendulum under study, mechanical energy is converted gradually by friction into heat. This conservation principle can be applied to all the fields. IN OUR PHYSICAL SYSTEM THERE APPEARS AN ENERGY, THE SUM TOTAL OF WHICH REMAINS A CONSTANT.
Mass is defined as the resistance that a body opposes to its acceleration which is known as inert mass. It is also measured by the weight of the body.
Principle of conservation of energy was applied to heat and now the same is applied to conservation of mass also. Hence, the mass is considered storing an energy equal to mC2 which is represented by the equation E=mC2 where C is the velocity of light which is approximately equal to 3, 00,000 K.M per second. In other words, a vast amount of energy is stored per unit mass Even a small decrease in mass will release an enormous energy as in the case of nuclear fission but even a huge amount of increase in energy cannot increase mass considerably because of the controlling factor C, velocity of light.” Unquote.
In other words, MASS is CONSOLIDATION and ENERGY is MANIFESTATION of the same quantity of energy mC2
1. The special theory gives a special place to LIGHT treating it as uniform and un-altered and which can be used as a standard unit for measuring space, time and Energy.
2. The space and time are only relative in Nature changing according to the movement of the observer.
3. Mass and energy are interchangeable. Any decrease in mass is represented by enormous release of energy and any increase in energy, by corresponding increase in mass though very small in quantity.
Thus, the physical Universe in which we are living consists of 4 dimensions: SPACE (3 DIMENSIONS) and TIME (4TH DIMENSION). The four dimensions are known as space-time continuum and LAWS OF CONSERVATION is maintained by mass-energy equivalence controlled absolutely by LIGHT, rather velocity of light.
DISCUSSIONS ON PHILOSOPHY OF SPECIAL THEORY:
SUPREMACY OF LIGHT:
In the Electro Magnetic Spectrum, LIGHT has the unique place that it can be identified by human eyes and it makes the Universe visible to us. It is commonly available in Nature and absolutely harmless to the normal human eye, unlike some of the other radiations. In view of this unique property, it is the connecting link between the visible and invisible universes. From visible Universe, any minute particle or energy has to cross the border of light and come to the visually observable Universe.
Let me state some of the properties of LIGHT as understood by HOLISTIC PHILOSOPHY.
1. Light has certain unique qualities. Forces either repel or attract. But Light neither attracts nor repels. It is NEUTRAL.
2. Light is the bridge between matter and energy. It is energy in visible range and in invisible range, it is matter. (E=hn where h is Planck’s constant and n is its frequency).
3. Primarily light is the product of SUN in our Solar system. Life is also a product of Sun. Light is inseparable part of Life. In other words, there is no life without Light. Light is inside human lives also and that is known as INNER LIGHT. (We may read more about this aspect in future articles).
CONCEPT OF TIME:
Time is accumulation and dissipation of energy. There is a wrong notion that Time is unidirectional, travelling in positive direction only. In fact, TIME HAS NO DIRECTION. The physical time, we measure using clocks is the gap between two incidents which is a transformation of energy, either accumulation or dissipation. That is why it appears unit directional. If we visualise TIME as a change in energy the illusion about TIME will vanish.
We give here below, some realities and the related illusions as we perceive them:
Sunlight is the Reality. We construe it as DIRECTIONS which are illusions.
Movements and changes in ENERGY are realities; we construe them as TIME which is an illusion.
Separation among various objects (Due to changes in Energy) is reality. But we construe them as SPACE which is an illusion.
Divisions of Energy and energy are reality, but we equate them with Conservation laws which may not be real.
(These are subject matters of HOLISTIC PHILOSOPHY which may be discussed in future)
Thought which makes all these illusions belong to the material world whereas Realities are absolute and can be perceived only through deep insight and constant questioning.
The same logic applies to Law of Cause and effect in Philosophy too, which is equivalent to conservation laws in Science. There can be effects without a known cause. When we understand the myths of all the above, our understanding of the Universe will be complete. In this context, Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity helps us to understand that in Reality, there is only one energy behind the entire Universe that is LIGHT as explained in the above paragraphs.
What is ‘BEYOND LIGHT”?
There is a barrier in the form of Speed of light or any electromagnetic energy which contains the PHYSICAL UNIVERSE. But there should be something above that because the Universe cannot be contained in a box. At least, there is something to VISUALISE the Universe which is away from the Universe. It is not controlled by Physical laws. That is called INTELLIGENCE. The Intelligence is beyond all the postulates and laws of Physics. It is also defined in HOLISTIC PHILOSOPHY as follows:
INTELLIGENCE IS THE CAPACITY TO THROW ‘LIGHT’ IN THE FIELD OF SPACE, TIME, THOUGHT, AND BEHAVIOUR AND BEYOND.
Einstein’s Special theory of Relativity brings the four dimensions, mass and energy into the realms of LIGHT as discussed in the above paragraphs. The philosophical discussions went another step ahead and stated that INTELLIGENCE is the phenomenon to throw light in the above fields.
Thus the Special Theory has lead to the philosophical discussions paving the way to define Intelligence as Light. This Light is above the Physical Universe which we perceive through Space, Time and conservation laws.
In the second part, we may deal with General theory and try to discuss its Philosophical implications.
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