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#1
Hi

I was recently reading an article on the 'pole in the barn paradox', and I don't understand it at all. How is it possible for both observers to be right?

0
5 years ago
#2
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5 years ago
#3
(Original post by Sock Amoeba)
HiI was recently reading an article on the 'pole in the barn paradox', and I don't understand it at all. How is it possible for both observers to be right?(Here's the wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladder_paradox )Thanks in advance
The Wikipedia article is not very clear at the moment. Are you referring to the version with two doors to the garage?
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#4
(Original post by Martin Hogbin)
The Wikipedia article is not very clear at the moment. Are you referring to the version with two doors to the garage?
Yeah, one at each end.
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5 years ago
#5

don't really understand the explanation tho'
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#6
Yh, ik, it's awesome xD
Just wish I understood....
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5 years ago
#7
(Original post by Sock Amoeba)
Yeah, one at each end.
OK, let us start with the experimental setup. The ladder, in its own rest frame, is 20 m long and the garage in its own rest frame is 10 m long. We arrange for the ladder to travel through the garage at sufficient speed for it to be contracted to be just under 10 m long. We fit the garage with two doors which will close and open simultaneously. For possible future explanation, let us say that we do this by setting up a flashbulb in the centre of the garage and having an optical receiver at each end which controls the doors. In the reference frame of the garage, the ladder is contracted to 10m so that just as it is passing through the garage we briefly simultaneously close both doors whilst the ladder is inside the garage then open them again before the ladder hits them. OK so far?
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#8
(Original post by Martin Hogbin)
OK, let us start with the experimental setup. The ladder, in its own rest frame, is 20 m long and the garage in its own rest frame is 10 m long. We arrange for the ladder to travel through the garage at sufficient speed for it to be contracted to be just under 10 m long. We fit the garage with two doors which will close and open simultaneously. For possible future explanation, let us say that we do this by setting up a flashbulb in the centre of the garage and having an optical receiver at each end which controls the doors. In the reference frame of the garage, the ladder is contracted to 10m so that just as it is passing through the garage we briefly simultaneously close both doors whilst the ladder is inside the garage then open them again before the ladder hits them. OK so far?
Yep ^_^
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5 years ago
#9
(Original post by Sock Amoeba)
Yep ^_^
From the reference frame of the ladder, the garage is in motion and thus its length is contracted to 5 m whilst the ladder is stationary and has a length of 20m. Clearly the ladder will not fit in the garage. The problem is that we know that the doors must close whilst the ladder is passing through the garage. Of they do, it would appear that they must hit the ladder. This would cause a massive explosion.The paradox is that the doors do not hit the ladder, and there is no explosion when the experiment is considered in the garage frame. Thus, at first sight it would appear that, depending on which frame of reference you consider, the experiment will have a different outcome. Do you understand the paradox?At this stage, can I ask if you are studying physics.
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5 years ago
#10
Just to be clear, by 'Do you understand the paradox?' I mean, 'Do you see what the problem to be solved is?', not, 'Do you understand the solution'; I am coming to that.
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#11
(Original post by Martin Hogbin)
Just to be clear, by 'Do you understand the paradox?' I mean, 'Do you see what the problem to be solved is?', not, 'Do you understand the solution'; I am coming to that.
Yes, I understand the paradox. I am sort of studying physics.
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5 years ago
#12
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#13
Yes, that makes sense thanks!
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5 years ago
#14
Do you want me to explain how the relativity of simultaneity follows from Einstein's two postulates?
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#15
(Original post by Martin Hogbin)
Do you want me to explain how the relativity of simultaneity follows from Einstein's two postulates?
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5 years ago
#16
First the two postulates. Towards the end of the 1800s, scientists were doing many experiments with light, which they assumed to travel through some hypothetical aether. These experiments produced some unexpected results which Einstein was able to explain by making two postulates. The postulates were basically starting points from which if assumed lead to a number of startling conclusions (such as the equivalence of mass and energy). Since then experiments have verified these results.Einstein's two postulates may be stated (see Wikipedia) as: 1) The laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames of reference, and 2) The speed of light in free space has the same value c in all inertial frames of reference.The first postulate is really quite simple and natural to understand. It basically says that no reference frame is the stationary one and that all inertial (non-accelerated) motion is relative. There is nothing new about this, it was stated by Galileo in 1632 but Einstein needed to restate it because, at the time, there was generally believed to be an aether which specified a true stationery frame. In the context of the ladder paradox, this postulate just tells us that the garage frame and the ladder frame are equally valid The second postulate is truly weird though. It states that, in an inertial frame, the speed of light will always be measured to have the value c. This is clearly impossible if space and time are how they were once thought to be. It means that, if you run towards someone at c/2 and shine a laser at them, they will still measure the speed if light from your laser to be c. If they run towards you at a speed of c/2 (relative to their original rest frame) they will still measure the speed of light to be c! In the ladder paradox it means that regarless of what the source is or how it is moving, the speed if light will always be measured as c, in both frames. OK so far?
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#17
...yep
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5 years ago
#18
We used a flashbulb in the centre of the garage with optical sensors to operate the doors. In the garage frame, the light travels at speed c equal distances to the two door sensors so the doors close simultaneously.In the ladder frame, the garage, flashbulb, and sensors are allmoving but the light from the flashbulb still travels at speed c in our frame. The rear door sensor is moving towards the light at c/2 and the front door sensor is moving away from the light at the same speed. As the light moves the sensors move so the rear door sensor will meet the light first. In this particular case, we can just add up the speeds, so the rear door sensor is meeting the light at 3c/2 and the front door sensor at c/2. These are known as closing speeds and, as they do not represent the speed of a single object in an inertial frame, they can be more then c, in fact up to 2c. A single object, energy, or information though can never travel faster than c in an inertial frame. So by applying the second postulate we see that events that are simultaneous in the garage frame cannot be simultaneous in the ladder frame. This is a version of Einstein's famous train gedanken experiment.
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#19
Oh, right! Thanks!
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5 years ago
#20
You do not sound too convinced about that last bit. Do you see why I just added two speeds? Do you see how Einstein's second postulate leads inevitably to simultaneity being different in different frames?
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