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Some Consequences of the Equivalence Principle

# Some Consequences of the Equivalence Principle - Some...

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Some Consequences of the Equivalence Principle Consider a freely falling elevator near the surface of the earth, and suppose a laser fixed in one wall of the elevator sends a pulse of light horizontally across to the corresponding point on the opposite wall of the elevator. Inside the elevator, where there are no fields present, the environment is that of an inertial frame, and the light will certainly be observed to proceed directly across the elevator. Imagine now that the elevator has windows, and an outsider at rest relative to the earth observes the light. As the light crosses the elevator, the elevator is of course accelerating downwards at g , so since the flash of light will hit the opposite elevator wall at precisely the height relative to the elevator at which it began, the outside observer will conclude that the flash of light also accelerates downwards at g . In fact, the light could have been emitted at the instant the elevator was released from rest, so we must conclude that light falls in an initially parabolic path in a constant gravitational field. Of course, the light is traveling very fast, so the curvature of the path is small! Nevertheless, the Equivalence Principle forces us to the

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Some Consequences of the Equivalence Principle - Some...

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