Writing Assignment 8

# Writing Assignment 8 - The paradox then is whether or not...

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Rabbit Troop Steve Beckley, Seta Degann, Andrew Dixon Writing Assignment 8 The pole in the barn paradox has to do with the concepts of simultaneity and length contraction in different reference frames. The setup for the thought experiment is as follows. There is a barn and a pole, and when both are at rest with respect to each other, the pole is longer than the barn. Now let’s say we put the pole in motion at a significant fraction of the speed of light, so that it is now moving at a constant velocity. From the perspective of the barn, the pole has now shortened, and if the pole is traveling fast enough (let’s say it is), the pole appears short enough to fit in the barn. From the perspective of the pole, however (since the pole is “moving” at a constant velocity, it appears to be motionless in its reference frame) the barn is shorter.
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Unformatted text preview: The paradox, then, is whether or not the pole “fits” in the barn. When the pole enters the barn, it will look like it fits from the point of view of the barn, but according to the pole’s reference frame it won’t fit. What if we try to close the doors of the barn as the pole passes through? From the barn it should be possible to trap the pole, from the point of view of the pole it is not. The paradox can be resolved by putting clocks on both ends of the pole. The clocks, in the reference frame of the pole, are in synch. But, from the point of view of the barn, the clocks show different times (the one in front shows an earlier time than the one at the back). So while the pole appears shorter from the point of view of the barn, one is really observing the pole in different points in time so it appears shorter....
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