A layman’s view of the great scientific discoveries of last century.
Of all the discoveries of the last century a few are mind boggling and have turned upside down the common perceptions and general understanding of physical phenomenon we humans experience ; for example, our understanding of space and time.
Common and every day experience make us believe that events that we see happen at the same time and in the same way for two observers regardless of the motion of the observers. But Science has shown us that it is not the case, though our day to day and ordinary experience show the other way.
Intrigued by such discoveries, I have tried to read as many books as possible to understand these new discoveries and I must say I am yet to understand it fully. For example, every time I read about Time Dilation, I feel like understanding a bit better than my earlier reading and so I try to read again and again.
So I thought I would write about these concepts as I understand it. However, I must admit that I am neither a scientist nor I claim whatever I write here are my original ideas. I am a lay man and I want to share what I understand when I read books on these concepts.
I also must admit that there is no guarantee that what I write here is absolutely right but only a written exposition of my own understanding. I encourage readers to add to it or correct any errors to enrich the content and the understanding of the readers.
So, I emphasize what I write here is nothing but how my mind processed step by step what I read in the process of understanding it.
So, let’s begin with how we understand space. The use of space in our daily life usually happens in the form of locating some object or event.
For example, we say the table is in the right corner of the room. In this case we refer to the location right corner with the reference to the room. So, pointing to any location (in space) requires a reference frame.
Mathematically you can point to any location in a room by saying, for example, 5 feet along the wall from one corner, 4 feet across the room towards the opposite wall and 3 feet up off the floor.
As we refer three sides to locate the point (first the side (pink) wall ‘x’, then along the adjacent (blue) wall ‘y’ and then above the (green) floor ‘z’), we call this the three spatial dimensions. The same can be used when you measure, say a box, as Length, Width and Height.
In our daily life, usually we use the spatial measure Distance; For example, we say my office is 30 miles from my home. Or for example, we say the nearest Gas Station (Petrol Bunk) is 2 Kilometers from where we are now.
Speed helps us measure the motion of an object. For example, we say the car runs at 60KM an hour. Speed is basically a measure of how far an object, for example, in this case a car, can travel in a given duration.
Looking at Speed in terms of Distance and Duration, we are indirectly referring to space and time; Space in terms of the distance between two points and Time in terms of duration between two events.
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