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The Twin Paradox in Special and General Relativity.

27 Jan 2017, 17:16 UTC
The Twin Paradox in Special and General Relativity.
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Relativity is profoundly unintuitive to humans. Our brain seem hardwired to visualize geometry in at most 3 dimensions, and 3 Euclidean dimensions at that. This is probably because we evolved in an environment where objects move at non-relativistic speeds. Similarly since we evolved in an environment where actions were much larger than the Planck constant, our brains just do not think naturally in terms of quantum mechanics. We are, at our core, creatures who think in classical physics. And that is good enough if you're a naked ape looking to hit a gnu with a rock, or even an engineer building the Hoover Dam, but that physical intuition falls apart when you get to the physics of the very fast, the very big, or the very small. And since the Universe is really quantum and relativistic, those limits are where things get fun.But this disconnect between the physics of how things really are and the way that we can mentally model the Universe can cause apparent paradoxes. Perhaps the most famous paradox of this sort is the Twin Paradox of Special Relativity. If you're interested in physics, you've probably heard of this paradox, and probably know the solution. But recently ...

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