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Here is relativity in motion as Einstein so beautifully discovered.
Imagine that you are in the center of the circle's/waves on the left. Now imagine you have a friend from school driving in the car that is traveling from left to right. Further imagine that you have a family member at the center of the circles/waves on the right, and you both are watching and listening to the car driving from left to right.
You know how when you hear a car drive by you it goes vvvvrrrrooommmmmm and you hear the pitch change as it drives by you. This comes from something called the Doppler Effect. The Doppler effect is how have waves are observed to stretch and compress based on motion. Sound waves are interpreted by our brian, a long wavelength is a low pitch and short wavelengths are higher pitch.
As the car is driving towards you the sound waves leave it, moving towards you but since the car is moving towards you the waves get compressed (or squished together) which makes the wavelengths get shorter and you hear the pitch getting higher (because our brains interpret short wavelengths as higher pitch), but then the car passes you and is moving away from you and the pitch starts to get lower and lower. This is because the car is now moving away from you and the sound waves are getting stretched out longer (and our brain interprets longer wavelengths as lower pitch).
Now lets consider the drawing. You're in the circle on the left. Your school friend is in the car moving left to right and your family member is in the circle on the right.
Relative to you, the car is moving away from you, so you hear the pitch getting lower. But the car is moving towards your family member on the right, so relative to them, the car is moving towards them and the sound waves are compressing (getting shorter) and they hear the pitch of the car getting higher. The friend driving in the car is traveling with the wave so they hear a medium pitch and no sound change (because they are traveling with the wave). Now we stop right here and ask "What sound is the car making?" A low pitch reltive to you, a medium pitch relative to the person in the car, or a higher pitch relative to the person on the right. And the beautiful answer is that it is making all three. What sound is heard is relative to the oberver and the observed. Then you must ask the question, "If each persons reality is different then which one is the real universe". They are all real, just relative. This is what alternate realities are and this is why each persons 'reality is their own'. Now imagine an infinite number of people all moving at different velocities all looking at the car. Every one of them would hear something different but each reality is real and relative. As we approach the speed of light it is easy to imagine how you could indeed make the car sound like anything. So the sound is not so real as is the geometry of space time as interpreted by the observer and the observed. Pure, awesome relativity and geometry.
The quirky, beautiful, empowering and humbling infinte number of states the universe can be in. How can we not humbled and awed when we think of the universe and the pure geometry of space time.
January 2nd, 2012
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