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Relativity and Time Dilation September 17, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, Computer and Technology, Educational Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
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Albert-Einstein-007Some days just seem slower than others. Perhaps there is a reason for this beyond a lack of patience.  During a recent physics lecture I was introduced to the idea of Time Dilation with respect to differences in velocity between two objects.  Albert Einstein, the distinguished gentleman to our left, initially described the effect in his work on special relativity.

For the better part of human history we have considered time to be invariant.  One second is one second no matter who or where you are.  In his paper, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies“, Albert Einstein proposed and supported the idea that time was, for the most part, based upon one’s frame of reference.  Galileo and others had suggested the idea many years before but Einstein’s work provided the math to support the observation.

An event, any occurrence that can be plotted according to time and position in space, can be observed relative to a frame of reference in Space-Time.  Einstein also defined space and time as two sides of the same coin.  Both are inextricably connected.  Thus an event may be located in reference to it’s location along the X, Y, and Z axis as well as a point along the time line.  Within it’s frame of reference, the velocity of a moving object may be accurately measured and known.

However, if the event is viewed from a different frame of reference it is possible for the coordinates to appear different to the observer.  In effect, the position, translation, and location in the time line may appear quite different.  Time is not a constant.  The new positions in space time may be calculated through a modestly complicated series of equations called the Lorentz Transformations.  Using these equations it is possible to take the X, Y, and Z coordinates and the time line position of an event in one frame of reference and determine the new position in space and time in another frame of reference.  Does anyone else need a Tylenol?

For a practical example, imagine two space vehicles traveling past each other in opposite directions, passing close enough so that both crews have a view of the interior of each other’s craft.  As they pass each other and both crews observe, the clock in each of their respective ships would appear to be keeping correct time while the clock in the ship across the way would appear to be going slower as it passed.  It turns out that not only do the clocks appear to be going slower but they indeed are moving at different speeds with respect to each other according to the frame of reference of the observer.  The difference in time (Δt) for both frames of reference may be calculated using the Lorentz Translations.  Time is not a constant.

There are many consequences to this strange behavior of time.  One of the most interesting is the idea of “Time Dilation”.  As an object moves away from the Earth, for example, and its attendant frame of reference, time for the object remains constant but the time stream on the Earth moves much faster.  One popular example is the “Twin Paradox”  One identical twin leaves Earth on a space ship and returns, for him, a few years later only to find that his or her identical twin is now very elderly.  As the velocity with which the frames of reference separates, the difference in the two time streams increases.

2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

God is not bound by our conventions.  We are not able to observe from His frame of reference.  In a real sense He is just beginning creation and, at the same time, ending it. He moves through time just as we move through space. In a sense we really are “already over on the other side.” If you are saved you are as sure for heaven as though you were already there. We have to read the book from front to back but God can see both ends at once. There is a lesson here somewhere but I am just not smart enough to bring it out.



1. Laurel Scales - September 18, 2013

Oh, so great a crowd of witnesses! We push for God to do things in our time because we fail to realize that God moves in His time. Great lesson! Well, said.

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