My Math Forum question - Einstein's theory of relativity
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 December 18th, 2016, 09:26 PM #1 Member     Joined: Oct 2016 From: labenon Posts: 33 Thanks: 4 question - Einstein's theory of relativity In the relativity theory, as I understand it, if a person went on a trip to space in a rocket that travelled close to the speed of light, when they returned to earth they would appear younger in relation to any observers, who in turn would have aged more. But what I don't get, is that you could look at it as though the earth was moving away from the space traveller at the same speed (relative velocities) - so who is really moving away from whom, and why does the space traveller age slower and not the observers in earth ?
 December 18th, 2016, 09:44 PM #2 Senior Member     Joined: Sep 2015 From: USA Posts: 1,931 Thanks: 999 Thanks from AshBox
 December 19th, 2016, 01:52 PM #3 Global Moderator   Joined: May 2007 Posts: 6,510 Thanks: 584 The essential difference is that the space traveler has to stop and turn around. It is not symmetric. Thanks from AshBox
 December 19th, 2016, 03:35 PM #4 Member   Joined: Dec 2016 From: - Posts: 62 Thanks: 10 Also, you need to be careful with the definition of EVENTS that take place. In this specific example (known as the "twin paradox", which results to be not at the end), the two EVENTS are located as: Event 1- First tick of the clock ON THE SPACE SHIP when it starts the travel from Earth, so you can imagine yourself staring at the clock in your ship and seconds will pass like seconds to you (logically) Event 2- Last tick of your SPACE SHIP CLOCK, when you have arrived back to Earth. Your total interval of time measured during these two events, known as proper time, is necessarily smaller than the one the others measured from Earth since you travelled. As someone has written above, the paradox is solved arguing that at some point the space ship needs to come back, which implies an acceleration at some point, and special relativity only works for uniform movements.
 December 19th, 2016, 08:24 PM #5 Member     Joined: Oct 2016 From: labenon Posts: 33 Thanks: 4 Thank you, Nietzsche for useful information.

 Tags einstein, einsteins, question, relativity, theory

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