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Relativity Isn’t Relative

Relativity Isn’t Relative


Relativity – the idea that everything is relative,
right? Relative to your perspective, your upbringing, your age, your place and orientation
in space and time? Except that plenty of things – in fact, perhaps most things – aren’t relative. For example, George Washington was the first
president of the United States, World War I happened before the movie Star Wars was
made, this picture shows three apples, and so on. It is true that certain things ARE relative
to one’s perspective – is the apple on your left, or my right? – is 50°F hot or cold?
– is a car fast or slow? big or small? – and that’s precisely what makes these concepts
less interesting to scientists. In physics (and in most science), anything that changes
if you change perspective can’t be a fundamental property of the universe – only things that
are absolute are considered ‘physical’ or ‘real’. And for a long time, physicists thought that
distances in space and intervals of time were absolute, fundamental properties in the universe. The special theory of relativity first described
by Albert Einstein was merely a statement of the realization that we were wrong: distances
in space and time are actually relative – they change depending on how fast you’re moving.
But more importantly, Einstein also described several quantities related to space and time
which *are* absolute: the distance between two events in spacetime, the energy-momentum
of an object, and of course, the speed of light. Similarly, the general theory of relativity
was essentially the recognition that in fact neither the acceleration nor the gravitational
force experienced by an object are absolute quantities. Accelerations can transform into
gravitational fields (and vice versa), depending on your perspective and the path you take
through spacetime. The more fundamental absolute quantity is the *curvature* of spacetime,
which you can think of as a kind of “underlying” or “absolute” gravity. Special and General relativity, are, at their
core, not about what’s relative – they’re about what’s real irrespective of perspective.
If everything were relative, then there could be no science, no laws, no justice – just
opinion. Science exists because it turns out there
*are* absolutes in the universe – truths which are the same regardless of your perspective.
You might even say that science is simply about finding the truths that will still be
true if you remove the scientist. So… goodbye!

100 comments on “Relativity Isn’t Relative

  1. I think the word absolute is not appropiate in this case, certain would much more accurate to what science explains.Science doesn't look for absolutes, it looks for certain ideas.

  2. Why does this blab on for 2 minutes and have nothing at all to do with physics? And 2 millions views with 20,000 likes? Lol, so you confused 2 million dumbshits for 2 minutes 40 seconds until they just agreed with you. Okay, let me break it down real real simple for you: the presence of mass dilates space-time; the phenomenon of gravitation can be 'explained away' as the curved trajectory a particle experiences while propagating through dilated space-time. Basically, a particles travels faster and farther in the direction of mass, due to warped space-time. And since all particles are experiencing Zitterbewegung (a German word meaning "trembling motion"), they are constantly in free-fall towards other matter.

  3. WWI happened before star wars was made, wouldn't that mean that WWI happened earlier relative to star wars, and star wars happened later relative to WWI?

  4. time is a tool man made at first to acknowledge seasons. then we need it for satellites for example GPS satellites have different clocks, do to the speed they have to stay on orbit 

  5. Thank you. So (relatively) many people think they can counter any argument they don't agree with simply by saying: Everything is relative.
    It annoys me because it makes them incredible (relatively) difficult to communicate with.
    Relative many people think it is an universal truth, but it is related to a theory about cosmos.

  6. it really pisses me off his "this is not relative" examples. all of them are indeed relative. Like the 3 apples: What if they are cut in half and we can't see the other half that is missing? your relative being relative makes it relative… haha

  7. Sorry for mi ignorance but I just want to know, how is it possible that acceleration can transform into a gravitational field?

  8. Okay, where to begin…

    Washington was our first president RELATIVE to our current understandings of time and space and whether or not time is linear. The same argument is for the WWI and Star Wars one.

    That picture shows "Three Apples" RELATIVE to your and I understanding of language and mathemtics. Hell, technically speaking, to a person who only speaks Japanese, "three apples" has NOTHING to do with that picture.

  9. Great show, this is. Guess I'm going to be nr. 2,5 mill subscriber. Almost. Close enough for an unmathematical cigar, me thinks. Oh, those are illegal. Yet.

  10. Nice video 🙂 north and south are constants but relative to how you look at earth. In space there is no up and down.

  11. Thanks @MinutePhysics. This video really hit the nail on the head. All your videos are great, but this one really had this essence to it. When people think about relativity, they usually take the word at face value. But scientists don't want to talk about and study things that we can't agree on but rather things that we can. I believe that the word you were alluding to but didn't mention was "invariance" (which is a word that almost seems to crop up on every page in some form or another in Hartle's, Gravity). It's great when you do that by the way, when it gets me to think about the vocabulary for the topic the video is about, it's a little bit of self discovery and it really ties everything I learn in and out of school together.

    "Time is relative" is often quoted amongst popular science. While that is true and fun to think about, what's not being said is "The space-time interval is invariant" which is, in my opinion, wildly more important. Things that are unchanging while everything else is is a really important concept in science. It's what holds everything in place. That's why physics is so keen on conservation laws. I guess "The Theory of Special Relativity" should be more aptly named "The Theory of Invariant Quantities for Observers with Relative Velocities".

  12. Thank you for this remarkable insight. Most people do not realize the profound difference this awareness makes. The basis of quantum over unity zero-point energy technology is overlooked by nearly all mainstream physicists. This is because they believe the "absolute" nature of their own applications, while being ignorant ot the greater reality around them. It is easier to destroy the genius work of ten pioneer researchers than to change your own world view even just a tiny bit.

  13. I dont know about the realativ about the apple. Yes sure, for you it is a apple, but for me (a german guy) it is a "Apfel" !
    Isnt this realativ ?

  14. Everything is relative – to the perspective of the observer!  – The New Standard Model – http://www.amazon.com/New-Standard-Model-Introduction-Dimensional-ebook/dp/B00JXW7KGI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410802981&sr=8-1&keywords=the+new+standard+model

  15. @MinutePhysics  Point A is moving to the left at 0.75c, point B is moving from the same origin to the right at  0.75c.   An observer is positioned at point C which is on the path that point B is traveling and the observer has a stopwatch that is synchronized  and adjusted for relativistic effects with a clock at point A.  At some point B travels past the observer at C and the observer records the time and sends a radio signal to A with this information…When A receives this information A then has confirmation that point B is traveling at a speed equal to 1.5c with respect to A's frame of reference…Relativity has been violated…explain this please!!!

  16. According to special relativity, the order of events are relative. So in a certain object's reference frame, perhaps this comment happened before 1985

  17. At 1:10, you said distances in space and time change depends on how fast you are moving. Does it REALLY ACTUALLY change or a stationary observer sees it as changing? I mean "is the change in distance and time a fact or just an illusion?"

  18. "it turns out that there are… truths that are the same regardless of your perspective"
    Is there really an absolute truth to the following situation?
    You may recognize it from certain physics textbooks;
    A train is moving down a track at high speed. One car of the train has a light bulb exactly in the middle of it. There are two people standing equidistant at opposite sides of the train car. You turn the light on, and the light reaches each person simultaneously, from the perspective of the people on the train. However another observer outside of the train sees the light reach the person in the rear of the train first, because that person is approaching the spot where the light bulb was originally turned on (at the speed of the train) while the person in the front of the train is moving away from that spot (also at the speed of the train). 

  19. If all motion is relative and nothing can travel faster than light, then how can two beams of light travel in opposite directions? After all, the photons are moving TWICE the speed of light relative to each other.

  20. In the real world, the speed of light is relative (variable) – it does depend on the speed of the light source, as predicted by Newton's emission theory of light. Unfortunately we all live in Einstein's world where the speed of light is, by postulation, constant (independent of the speed of the light source), and space and time are disfigured so as to form an efficient "protecive belt" around the false postulate:

    http://bertie.ccsu.edu/naturesci/PhilSci/Lakatos.html 
     "Lakatos distinguished between two parts of a scientific theory: its "hard core" which contains its basic assumptions (or axioms, when set out formally and explicitly), and its "protective belt", a surrounding defensive set of "ad hoc" (produced for the occasion) hypotheses. (…) In Lakatos' model, we have to explicitly take into account the "ad hoc hypotheses" which serve as the protective belt. The protective belt serves to deflect "refuting" propositions from the core assumptions…" 

    http://philosophy.ru/edu/ref/sci/lakatos.html 
     Imre Lakatos, Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: "All scientific research programmes may be characterized by their 'hard core'. The negative heuristic of the programme forbids us to direct the modus tollens at this 'hard core'. Instead, we must use our ingenuity to articulate or even invent 'auxiliary hypotheses', which form a protective belt around this core, and we must redirect the modus tollens to these. It is this protective belt of auxiliary hypotheses which has to bear the brunt of tests and get adjusted and readjusted, or even completely replaced, to defend the thus-hardened core."

    Banesh Hoffmann is quite clear: the Michelson-Morley experiment confirms the variable speed of light predicted by Newton's emission theory of light unless there is a protective belt ("contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations") that deflects the refuting experimental evidence from the false constant-speed-of-light postulate:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=JokgnS1JtmMC 
     "Relativity and Its Roots", Banesh Hoffmann, p.92: "Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether."

  21. The narrator doesn't need to speak so quickly.  At 1:30, he says "field" and the subtitles say "force."  It's hard for a novice to keep up, and that's the point isn't it?

  22. @TheLeftLibertarianAtheist Numbers are invented to denote reality. So it is absolute of You consider what it represents. But you're right that 1 plus 1 being equal to 0 isn't true, absolute or otherwise.

  23. does relativity imply that an object with 0 internal kinetic energy or in other words 'at a complete rest state' has 0 mass relative to objects that do?

  24. Big doubt here, i would aprecciate if somebody could answer it. If a person goes in a spacetrip at a speed near to the speed of light time is going to pass slower for him. But relativity says that there is no way to know if that person is moving through space at a high speed or of we accompanied with eartg are moving away from that person ata a high speed. So why does time passes slower for him and is it not the other way? What determines who is moving and in consequences whos time passes slower? Pleaaase help me with this because its driving me crazy. Thanks

  25. what if everything was relative, and the universe would not exist, but is that beyond your understanding so i might as well as talk to the sun or eat my leg or something unproductive.

  26. everything in the universe is relative (of course we dont know that, because if we know that maybe that is the only absolute thing in the universe), but we need to think somethings are absolutes, it is a human reasoning

  27. Great video, summarising complex ideas in a couple of minutes. But I most liked your observation that Relativity is really about that which is non-relative. I've never thought of it in those terms before: like the very ancient philosophical ambition of Platonists throughout history. What a gem, thanks!

  28. Can someone please answer me this question..
    Lets say " Me and my sister are twins and I got the chance to visit the universe for one month in light speed.. after one month I came back home and I found out that 20 years has passed in earth while for me it has been 1 month, and my sister now is 20 years older and i'm still same age.."
    My question is, its true me and my sister are not same age anymore, BUT biological are we same age? like she have a wrinkles i will have one too etc?
    THANKS x

  29. Small error in the picture at 1:08, 1 meter goes to 0,9 meter (length contraction) and the 1 second SHOULD go to 1,1 second, not 0,9 second (time dilation).

  30. Einstein's theories of relativity are some of the most beautiful pieces of math ever devised. To me anyway, that is, if I correctly understand how it works. Having a train travel at .5 c would mean the light on board would travel at 1.5 c for an observer standing outside the train, but the time factor aboard the train corrects that back to 1 c for that observer because of time slowing down on board. It's brilliant! Or the way Einstein shows gravitational distortion with geodetic lines changing the path of mass-less particles. That too seems to work.

  31. If you dip your left hand in hot water and your right hand in ice water,then,you dipped both hands in water that is 20*C,left hand will feel cold while right hand will feel warm.
    And 20*C is an absolute.

  32. Why 1 ÷ 0 ≠ ∞
    1. ∞ is an idea, not a number
    2. if 1 ÷ 0 = ∞, 2 ÷ 0 = ∞. 3 ÷ 0 = ∞, so on. But 1 ≠ 2. If 1 = 2, that is absolute nonsense.

  33. In reality, I'm not sure anything is not relative? I'm not sure the apple holds up, nor anything else. It may only depend on the referential frame's boundaries. Even the constants of our universe may just be "randomly" situated by the inception of this particular universe. That is, if the multiverse exists.

    Anyone have a clarification that might counter this perspective?

  34. 130k px/s and speeding up, wonder where the speed limit of your simulator is. The mooving picture of rocket stopped rendering a while ago.
    140k px/s : it's back but it seems to be much smaller, about half the original size.
    200k px/s : nothing special happened. I thought you should know 🙂
    250k px/s : rendering of the moving rocked stopped, again.
    300k px/s : No changes.
    450k px/s : still speeding up, the physics is broken [or the speed scale is.. nah, it's broken]

  35. When my physics professor asked me to define what is moving, I said: It's changing your three-dimensional coordinates in space), just simply changing places in space. But she said that it's wrong, and that moving is actually: Changing your place relative to other object. Was she right?

  36. Relativity calculation arise from 2 inertial frames, but all inertial frames are equally valid. if relativity is not relative then what about the third, fourth…. inertial frames

  37. REAL- RELATIVE – real relative then quatnify most stuff are STILL on the surface uf the earth

    Reagan should've got us the opposite uf quality not quality how the hell he l°se such an important argument

  38. 0:51 Wait "ARROW" is 'physical' or 'real'?
    Wait.. ignoring that fact that this is impossible, What would happen if you went FASTER than light?

  39. As a non-mathematician and non-physicist, this seems like… the wrong answer.
    Mathematics helps us understand the universe, but how can we assume that the universe is based on the same principles when we know so little about it? Saying that the universe is mathematical simply because that's the way we observe it is a lot like Christopher Hitchens' reaction to his schoolteacher when she said "[God] has made all the trees and grass to be green, which is exactly the color that is most restful to our eyes."
    The eyes were adjusted to nature, and not the other way about.

  40. The kind of relativism referenced at the start of the video is not about truth claims, though this is such the conventional wisdom that faux-proponents as well as adversaries believe it to be so. Indeed all facts are relative…to something else (wittgenstein's "grounding", in the very least). The meaning and content of our maths is relative to the mathmatical objects we determine and the base-counting systems we choose to employ. Washington being president of the US, depends on who's history you employ, and which legal arguments you wish to make. The relationship is always rational in these cases as well. The number of people at a political rally; while the action of counting itself might be relative to the observer, the numbers might be relative to the base system and numeric system you want to use, but once all of that is accounted for the only other relativity is that of credulity and relative delusion. Burn the strawmen! 😉

  41. And what happens to Einsteinian relativity if we discover that space and time are "absolute" and that the velocity of light is not? The Einsteinian relativity "true believers" are betting that can never happen. Losing that bet will, no doubt, be very upsetting to them…

  42. you haven't proven your gravity concoction or any of your pseudo-science any more than your fraud, liar, and charlatan, albert einstein. Most of the perversion that you deem as "science" is not ANY MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF YOUR ROMAN CATHOLIC greek mythology and Egyptology. Hence, your jesuit propagandist for the roman church "father", pun intended , big bank Georges Lemaître.

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