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Name: Kwanalouie
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: TX
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2011-2012


Question:
I do not see how this relativity problem is explained. Its a variation of the barn pole paradox. Can you offer insights?

Replies:
Kwanalouie, Einstein’s special relativity theories apply to constant VELOCITY situations. This means no change of speed or direction. An observer on the ring is constantly changing direction. After half of a revolution, the observer’s direction has exactly reversed. Length contraction is much more complex in such a situation. General relativity is needed for this situation.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf Physics Instructor Illinois Central College


You are mixing relative effects with non-relative effects to create the paradox. In creating what you think is a paradox, you are placing unrealistic constraints on the system (e.g. how do you decouple this massively energetic ring from the silo?).

Hope this helps, Burr Zimmerman


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