BELIEVE ME NOT! - - A SKEPTIC's GUIDE
Next: A Rotational Analogy
Up: The Special Theory of Relativity
Previous: Relativistic Travel
As I mentioned in the Chapter on UNITS AND DIMENSIONS,
in any context where the speed of travel is virtually
(or, in this case, exactly) a constant, people automatically
begin to express distances in time units.
[Q: "How far is is from New York to Boston?"
A: "Oh, about three hours."]
This is equivalent to defining the speed of travel
to be a dimensionless constant of magnitude 1.
Relativistic Physics is no different. Anyone who has to
discuss relativistic phenomena at any length will usually
slip into " NATURAL UNITS" where
and distance and time are measured in the same units.
You get to pick your favourite unit - seconds, meters,
light years or (as we shall see later) inverse masses!
The list is endless.
is just "the velocity" measured in natural units
and the calculations become much simpler.
But you have to convert all your other units accordingly,
and this can be interesting. It does take a little getting
used to, but the exercise is illuminating.
Jess H. Brewer -
Last modified: Mon Nov 23 11:02:31 PST 2015