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Danny Heil & Justin GaetzProf. DalSantoAstronomy: Stars and Galaxies10/6/2017Einstein’s Theories on Special and General Relativity EssayIntroductionThis paper will thoroughly discuss everything one should know to understand thebasics of relativity.To do so, this paper will explain Einstein’s theories which are used tounderstand a lot about the universe, and importantly, used to understand how and why spaceand time go hand in hand.There are two main theories of Einstein’s discussed in this paperwhich are important to know in order to understand relativity.These two theories areEinstein’s special theory of relativity, and Einstein’s general theory of relativity.This paperwill also show where these theories apply, as well as why they are important and how weknow that they are true.After reading this paper, one will be able to understand theconcepts of special and general relativity, know that these theories are true, and know whythey are important.Theory of Special RelativityIn 1905, Einstein published his theory of Special Relativity. His theory is “special”because it only applies to bodies moving in the absence of a gravitational field. The theoryreshaped the world of physics and contradicted the previous laws of motion established bySir Isaac Newton and Galilei Galileo. The two main ideas of Special Relativity are that the
laws of physics apply the same for everyone and that the speed of light is the same foreveryone too. Most of Einstein’s conclusions are quite shocking, but they have been testedto be correct, and have forced physicists to completely rethink about how the universeworks.An important concept that Einstein formed is that motion is not absolute, butrelative. This means that events which are simultaneous in one person’s reference frame willnot be simultaneous in a second person’s reference frame. For example, if you’re standingon a road, watching a train travel past you from left to right at 50 m/s, you would consideryourself in a stationary frame of reference. Someone on the train, however, would considerthemselves stationary, and see you move past at 50 m/s. It all depends on what the frame ofreference is. There really is no right answer, it all depends on where you are located.Another important concept is that the velocity of light is constant for everyone, nomatter the reference frame. Light travels at a finite speed, which is about three hundredthousand kilometers per second, and nothing in the universe will ever exceed that speed.Einstein theorized that if an object were to travel near the speed of light, very strange thingswould happen to it. Time would slow down, the mass of the object would increase, and itslength would contract. The length doesn’t physically contract but the measurement betweentwo points occurs at different times for two separate observers. Through rigorous tests andexperiments, we have confirmed that these theories are in fact all true. For example,scientists have shown that an atomic clock travelling at high speed in a jet will tick slower