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How does Einstein's Relativity affect our everyday lives?What are strong arguments to...

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:57 PM via web

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How does Einstein's Relativity affect our everyday lives?

What are strong arguments to show that Relativity is relevant? (To phylosophy, Ethics, etc) How does it affect our everyday lives?

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:43 PM (Answer #2)

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As you have stated, the Theory of Relativity, as developed by Albert Einstein (1872-1955) altered the study of Physics in the early part of last century, by incorporating and developing the theories of Quantum Mechanics.

Although Relativity has brought to light a number of fascinating philosophical questions specifically regarding the structure of the physical Universe, there's a bit of danger in attempting to apply it to ethics and everyday experiences.  

The attempt is analogous to applying Charles Darwin's (1809-1882) theories, notably the "survival of the fittest," which was strictly describing the evolution of species as a purely scientific endeavor, to social conditions of his day, which people started describing as "Social" Darwinism. 

Perhaps there's some applicability, but theories that are congruent in one field of study may be inapplicable or absurd in another.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:20 PM (Answer #3)

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I guess the honest answer is that this theory has a very limited impact on the lives of most individuals. What is so fascinating about science is that laws of motion, whether we are aware of them or understand them or not, seek to describe what is already happening in the natural world around us. As a result, such theories are really quite abstruse pieces of knowledge that do not impact th lives of most people.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM (Answer #4)

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The broad concept of relativity is applicable to many situations, but probably not in the Einsteinian sense. As a theory of the mechanics of time, there is no easy way to apply relativity to everyday situations. 

Using the concept of relativity on an every day level, we rely on the notion of "comparitive paradigms", not necessarily physical ones though.

Ex: For a ten day old baby, day's are relatively longer than they are for a ten year old child. For the baby, every day is one tenth of its entire life. For the ten year old, each day is 1/3650th of its life. Days will seem longer to the baby than they will to the 10 year old. That's relativity, but it doesn't have much to do with Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:53 AM (Answer #5)

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What about the GPS that helps us find our ways all the time. That is relativity. How is that not part of our everyday life?

The satelites that our GPS get its signal from has a time that is faster than the time we have here on earth. If scientists would not adjust the ticks of the satelite before sending it to space our time on earth would not match the time of the satelites and therefore the signal would be delayed and concequently GPS would not be accurate. it would not work.

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:54 AM (Answer #6)

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If two observers are experiencing the same event, but one of them is in motion, both will have different experiences of time. How can two observers that are simoltaneously experiencing the same event have different experiences of time. For example, a person in an airplane that is flying at 900 miles per hour does not see the plane or the other people in it move at 900 mile per hour, but if he/she looks outside then he/she can tell the plane is in motion. And howcome people inside the plane are not all squeezed against the back of the plane if the plane is moving at 900 miles per hour? people inside the plane are even sitting down drinking water. if someone jumps inside the moving plane they will land on the same place that they jumped from. They will not land farther towards the back of the plane. Why not if the plane is moving? When someone walks from the the back of the plane towards the front is he/she is able to reach the front of the plane at maybe five miles an hour when the plane is moving forward 900 miles an hour? wouldn't this person have to be walking faster than 900 mph to be able to reach the front of the plane?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:32 AM (Answer #7)

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Relativity today has a more subtle effect on daily life. We don't think about the thousands of calculations and electrical signals that allow us to access the Internet, but none of it would be possible without an understanding of relativity. Despite the (contested) faster-than-light experiment, relativity is also something that appears to be immutable, and we have not truly surmounted it.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM (Answer #8)

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If two observers are experiencing the same event, but one of them is in motion, both will have different experiences of time. How can two observers that are simoltaneously experiencing the same event have different experiences of time. For example, a person in an airplane that is flying at 900 miles per hour does not see the plane or the other people in it move at 900 mile per hour, but if he/she looks outside then he/she can tell the plane is in motion. And howcome people inside the plane are not all squeezed against the back of the plane if the plane is moving at 900 miles per hour? people inside the plane are even sitting down drinking water. if someone jumps inside the moving plane they will land on the same place that they jumped from. They will not land farther towards the back of the plane. Why not if the plane is moving? When someone walks from the the back of the plane towards the front is he/she is able to reach the front of the plane at maybe five miles an hour when the plane is moving forward 900 miles an hour? wouldn't this person have to be walking faster than 900 mph to be able to reach the front of the plane?

This is only true after take-off. During take-off, gravity holds sway over the confined space that has its own and consistent physical properties. This same thing can be experienced anytime you drive in a car and try to take a drink of water or some such. If you do it while the car is accelerating from a stop, hope you are wearing something that won't stain because the force of the gravity and momentum will make itself felt with backward thrust.  

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