Monday, November 24, 2008

Space, time and relativity - Part 2

Last time we discussed, Einstein concluded that space and time are not absolute, thus throwing away long held and cherished results of Sir Isaac Newton. 

Light was studied in detail by Maxwell who established the speed of light as 300,000 km/sec. But this speed is with respect to whom (or what)? Whatever the reference point is, light's speed is always same! 

Speed is defined as distance travelled divided by time. Since light's speed is constant irrespective of the speed of the observer, Einstein concluded that notion of time and space is different for different observers!

To explain this further, let us use an example. 

You ask your dear friend to moderate an experiment. You decide to race with light using your super vehicle (let's call it 'Viman') - You get on your vehicle and rush at 100,000 km/s and the light rushes out at 300,000 km/s

Your friend sees light moving 300,000 km every second, while you move 100,000 km every second. So, he thinks you must be seeing light moving at 200,000 km/second. When the race is stopped after some time, your friend checks with you, and you are totally disappointed. Howmuch ever you try, even reaching a speed of 200,000 km /s, light continues at the same 300,000 km/s

This is because, your notion of distance and time is different from the notion of distance and time from the point of view of the stationary observer. 

Since speed of light is constant irrespective of the speed of the observer, the great Einstein concluded that space and time are not fixed but are relative to that of the observer.

The speeds that we move in this world are not comparable to speed of light at all. The fastest rocket, EVER had a top speed of 3km/s. So, in this world, we are not able to observe the difference in  space and time. If you were able to move in speeds that are comparable to speed of light, then you'll be able to see the difference in space and time. 

For e.g., if you take a stop-clock in your hand and rush out at say 1/10 the speed of light. Your friend is standing in the same place and uses a different stop-clock. When you return and check your time, you'll be surprised that your clock shows less time has passed compared to your friend's!!!

Who is correct? The answer is both are! This is because space and time are relative. 

Contrary to popular opinion, Einstein did not want his theory to be called 'Theory of Relativity' - He wanted it to be called 'Theory of Invariance (of space-time)'

I think by the next installment, I'll be able to conclude with my paradox - It is not a paradox really! Just to whet your appetite, I am going to describe how the whole creation stuff would appear to God, and why he is Omniscient and why He *HAS* to travel at light speed only. (Any thing less, he loses his Omniscience!)

It has been a great feeling to imagine how God sees the whole stuff happening. It should be an exhilarating feeling for God! And, I can relate to numerous texts (Mandukya Upanishad, Sri Yoga Vashishta, A New Earth, Tripura Rahasyam etc) - I'll quote from these on Installment 3 or 4 and compare to this theory of relativity. 

It also explains why I like speed :-) - Any point of time, I put all my money in the fastest possible vehicle that I can afford at that time (comfort next!) - Getting to higher speeds, means I am getting closer to God!

People who don't like philosophy please skip the postscript!
(1) I don't mean to be arrogant when I say if God travels at speed less than light, he cannot be Omniscient. It is just a side effect of the conditions that I have spoken about. Someone said 'God Defined is God Defiled' - God cannot be defined by words, thoughts, pictures or any other human medium of communication. 
(2) People who want to get closer to God are advised to buy their own R-15 and not borrow mine. :-) [By meaning closer to God does not mean or imply getting closer to Mr. Yama Dharmaraj :-D

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