- Relativity for Dummies -
Welcome to the tutorial Relativity for Dummies.
This tutorial introduces you to the essence of Einstein's Special Relativity: Relativity of Simultaneity, and what it means for our concept of past, present and future. The moment you understand the real significance of relativity of simultaneity, you will never forget that the future -also your future- already exists.
In 2001 I wrote a book about Special Relativity (in dutch; "Uw toekomst bestaat reeds"/Your future already exists) only to find out how difficult it is avoiding ambiguous phrasing. I used a lot of diagram sketches to make it visually more atractive, but most people had problems reading them. I then went through revisions and updates but the book remained unaccessible to the layman. I had to cut more corners to make it accessible to the unititiated. The following tutorial concentrates on the Relativity of Simultaneity and how this automatically leads to 4D Spacetime Block Universe. Other topics of Special Relativity are omitted or only loosly mentioned.
For the uninitiated Special Relativity uses some very technical terminology. Open a book about relativity and you read about inertial reference frames, Lorentz tranformations, gamma factors, time dilation, length contraction, etc. In the tutorial I do not use any of these wording and do not deal with these topics. I also avoid all mathematics. In simple words I take you step by step to the Relativity of Simultaneity: the past, present and future exist.
The most difficult part will probably be the speed of light. Unfortunately I can not cut that part out. Without the speed of light there is no Special Relativity, no Relativity of Simultaneity, no proof that the future exists.
Relativity of Simultaneity follows from the constant speed of light.
First I will explain what simultaneity means.
Then follows the significance of the 'constant speed of light' and its implications for the simultaneity of events.
Finally I show you why and how relativity of simultaneity leads to Einstein's famous quote about the illusion of past, present and future.
There are about 40 sketches to go through, most of them very easy to understand, but some need a little extra concentration and perseverence.
If you find my sketches too small, click on the images to enlarge.
Zoom in by pushing [CTRL ][+] on the keyboard. Zoom out by pushing [CTRL][-]
=> Go to ....
- Relativity for Dummies
- 4D Spacetime Block Universe
- Reciprocal time dilation
- Reciprocal length contraction
- Lengths do not 'appear' contracted!
- Measuring the contracted train
- Constant light speed
- Where is the bullet?
- Train experiment
- Slower and shorter - case study
- Minkowski vs Loedel
- Spacetime video
- Further reading