Monday, November 21, 2005

Research for Last Project

Time has been my enemy all semester. So I will embrace it.

"To know your enemy, you must become your enemy ... Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." -The Art of War, Sun Tzu (400 BC)

A water clock or clepsydra is a device for measuring time by letting water regularly flow out of a container usually by a tiny aperture. These devices are one of the oldest time keeping apparatuses independent on observation of celestial bodies. The earliest examples are found in use in Egypt around 1500 BC. The artifacts appear in Greece around 350 BC who termed the appliance: clepsydra or "water thief". Intricacy and complexity continued to develop with some of the most complex of these structures built by the Greek and Roman peoples between 100 BC and 500 CE. Chief amongst the complex clepsydra is the Horlogion, a tower was built in the first half of the 1st century BC by the astronomer Andronicos, from Kyrrhos in Macedonia.

The Flexibility of the Space -Time Continuum

"Newton's dissection of the rainbow into light of different wavelengths led on to Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and thence to Einstein's theory of special relativity. If you think the rainbow has poetic mystery, you should try relativity." -Bar Codes in the Stars,Richard Dawkins

Known as the special theory of relativity, Einstein's master equation energy equals mass time the square of the speed of light has become a cult icon in the contemporary period. I tend to believe the popularity is due to the metaphysical implications of the this very physical theory. If you take that all things in the universe are made from the same fundamental stuff this theory implies the interconnectedness of all things in our universe. Matter, energy, space and time become irreversibly intertwined in this theory and a conceptual web becomes very real.

The Special Theory of Relativity
1. First postulate (principle of relativity)
The laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference in which the laws of mechanics hold good (non-accelerating frames).
In other words: Every physical theory should look the same mathematically to every inertial observer; the laws of physics are independent of the state of inertial motion.
2. Second postulate (invariance of c)
Light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c that is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body; here the velocity of light c is defined as the two-way velocity, determined with a single clock.

Implications: Since the velocity of light can never vary in a non-accelerating frame, time must slow in a frame of reference for the observer moving at a significant percentage of the speed of light.

A link to a webapp that calculates the time space interaction: Relativistic Star Ship Calculator

1 comment:

  1. Art of war quote, nice touch and that time keeping thing is interesting. I guess people always need to know when there favorite sports is happening (small joke very small). Nice flash back to physic class your giving me here by the way. You are doing research into the theor of relativity? I'd like to see what film that makes out to be.