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A Time Warp, Doctor Dahesh Style!

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  • A Time Warp, Doctor Dahesh Style!

    The Miracle I about to describe is perhaps the most elegant proof of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, and it didn't require a massive mobilization of machines and measuring equipment.

    But first, and for the uninitiated, let's talk a little about that theory using basic everyday concepts (by the way, those seeking a more sophisticated description can check out this link

    This all started when scientists noticed (oddly enough) that the speed of light appeared to have the same speed relative to the observer, regardless of the observer's speed and direction of movement relative to light.

    In other words, imagine you see an oncoming car traveling at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour. If you walk TOWARDS the car, say at a speed of 4 Kilometers per hour, the car will seem as if it is traveling at a speed of 54 kilometers per hour.
    If on the other other hand, you decide to walk AWAY from the car at a speed of 4 Kilometers per hour, then the car will have a relative speed of 46 Kilometers per hour. All logical.

    Now, if the car becomes a beam of light, and regardless of your speed and direction, it will always appear as if it is going at the same speed.

    "So what" you might say. Well, that anomaly suggests the following problem:

    Imagine you have a passenger inside the car that is traveling at (now) the speed of light.
    Now, imagine that the passenger, inside the car (now traveling without acceleration) feels as if nothing is moving... you know what I am talking about, right? You've seen that as well, either in a car or a train. Once the acceleration stops, you feel nothing. (See Galileo's law of inertia

    Now, imagine that you (sitting in the back of the car) decide to throw a ping pong ball at the driver, and that the ping pong ball hits the driver's head at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour.

    Hold that thought.

    Now, let's observe the same "act" from the outside. Someone watching you do this FROM THE OUTSIDE, should see the ping pong ball travel at 10 Kilometers per hour PLUS (very important) the speed of the car itself. Right?

    In other words, both you (who is throwing the ball) and the observer watching you throw the ball must see the same event.


    If your car happened to be traveling at the speed of light (and because NOTHING in our observed universe CAN travel faster than the speed of light) then the observer would see you as well as the ball FROZEN in time. Whereas, YOU would see the ball bounce off the driver's head, the observer would see a totally different REALITY.

    How COULD that be? It took (supposedly) Einstein 10 years to figure out the simple (HA!) solution which was: Time, which was ONCE thought of as being ABSOLUTE (meaning, wherever we are, regardless of how fast we are traveling, and our distance from the surface of the planet and its gravitational pull, the measure of time was the same) is now RELATIVE. Which means, really, that even the act of accelerating in your Porsche to 120 Kilometers per hour in a few seconds, causes you to experience a different reality than someone riding a bicycle! Of course, the difference is so minute, you can't see it...

    Now that I have bored you with all that, I can tell you what I saw:

    It might have been 1983. Doctor Dahesh was staying with me. At that time, he was suffering from many physical ailments, one of which was a very bad back. And I mean BAD! He was in constant pain. When I would tuck him in bed every night, it was a delicate operation.

    Because of his bad back, he could no longer put on his pants as one with the ability to bend down and lift his legs would.

    instead, what he would do is this: he would hold the pair of pants with one hand and extend his arm as far down as he could reach, then try the bend a little bit his back, so that the pant can reach as far down towards the floor as possible. Once that first part of the maneuver was finished, he would then lift one of his legs enough to be able to place his foot inside the pants. Success! Now he would lift the pants a little, and try to maneuver the second leg...

    In all, putting his pants on took at least a minute (I never clocked him... let's just say that it took a while).

    Here is what happened one day (and no, I didn't take drugs, nor consume alcohol... nor was I in a trance...):

    He was in the bedroom and he had removed his pajamas (or pyjamas for you Brits!) and he asked me to hand him over his pants, which I did.
    He was still holding them when I made my way to the other side of the bedroom where the dresser was (and he was still holding the pants way above the floor) and I turned my head for a fraction of a second (okay, maybe a second TOPS!) and what do you think I saw when I turned my head back facing his direction?!

    Not only did he have his pants on, but he was buckling his belt and he had a look on his face I will never forget: he was looking down at the belt buckle, and an ever so subtle smile wedged in the corner of his mouth was almost teasing me with an "what do you think of THAT?" expression.
    Last edited by Mario; 07-30-2006, 02:44 AM.
    "Fail, to succeed."