Einstein's thought experiments
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See more Best Yo winners. Two Passengers and the conductor discover that a person has passed away on their Night Train cabin. They come across valuable diamonds on his person, that they wish to keep for themselves.
So, to make it look like the man never boarded the train, they conspire to dump his body in a river that the train passes. Their scheme to get rid of the corpse escalates to the point where they have to chop up his body just to fit him into a small trunk.
They then become paranoid, as they might turn on each other. Written by StripedTiger. Made at a low budget which actually works to its benefitsthe film uses glowing lights. This adds to the tense atmosphere and mystery element and the bright colours used within the train compartments bring a feeling of illusion.
The story starts off interesting but is downright predictable not to forget the typical Hollywood ending which brings the film down by a huge notch. Acting is okay. Danny Glover is restrained which is quite unexpected of such films. Steve Zahn's Pete is a caricature but the actor infuses some humour and provides comic hwo. Leelee Sobieski is good in the beginning but her performance heads towards 'cliched psychopath' as the film proceeds.
Overall, in terms of story it doesn't offer anything new and there are plenty of plot holes but what I liked about it was the atmosphere within the train compartments.
It sort of looks like a noire film in colour. The use of bright colours, the strange passengers, the characters: salesman, med student and ticket conductor and music create contribute to this bizarre atmosphere. I also liked how the wooden box was symbolically used.
Pandora's box is the first thing that comes to mind and the writer could have done so much with it, but lf Sign In. Get a sneak peek of the new version of this page. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Full Cast and Conducttor. Release Dates. Official Sites. Company Credits. Technical Specs. Plot Summary. Plot Keywords. Parents Guide. External Sites. User Reviews. User Ratings. External Reviews. Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions.
Rate This. Two passengers and the conductor discover conduxtor a man has passed away on their night train cabin. They come across a mysterious object in a box the dead man was carrying and they all wish to keep for themselves. Director: Brian How to remove dark rings around neck. Writer: Brian King. How to make my cpu usage lower to Watchlist.
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A hallmark of Albert Einstein 's career was his use of visualized thought experiments German : Gedankenexperiment  as a fundamental tool for understanding physical issues and for elucidating his concepts to others.
Einstein's thought experiments took diverse forms. In his youth, he mentally chased beams of light. For special relativity , he employed moving trains and flashes of lightning to explain his most penetrating insights.
For general relativity , he considered a person falling off a roof, accelerating elevators, blind beetles crawling on curved surfaces and the like. In his debates with Niels Bohr on the nature of reality, he proposed imaginary devices intended to show, at least in concept, how the Heisenberg uncertainty principle might be evaded. In a profound contribution to the literature on quantum mechanics , Einstein considered two particles briefly interacting and then flying apart so that their states are correlated, anticipating the phenomenon known as quantum entanglement.
A thought experiment is a logical argument or mental model cast within the context of an imaginary hypothetical or even counterfactual scenario. They describe experiments that, except for some specific and necessary idealizations, could conceivably be performed in the real world. As opposed to physical experiments, thought experiments do not report new empirical data.
They can only provide conclusions based on deductive or inductive reasoning from their starting assumptions. Thought experiments invoke particulars that are irrelevant to the generality of their conclusions. It is the invocation of these particulars that give thought experiments their experiment-like appearance.
A thought experiment can always be reconstructed as a straightforward argument, without the irrelevant particulars. John D. Norton , a well-known philosopher of science, has noted that "a good thought experiment is a good argument; a bad thought experiment is a bad argument.
When effectively used, the irrelevant particulars that convert a straightforward argument into a thought experiment can act as "intuition pumps" that stimulate readers' ability to apply their intuitions to their understanding of a scenario. Perhaps the best known in the history of modern science is Galileo 's demonstration that falling objects must fall at the same rate regardless of their masses.
This has sometimes been taken to be an actual physical demonstration, involving his climbing up the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropping two heavy weights off it. In fact, it was a logical demonstration described by Galileo in Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche Einstein had a highly visual understanding of physics. His work in the patent office "stimulated [him] to see the physical ramifications of theoretical concepts.
This included his use of thought experiments. There seems to be no such thing, however, neither on the basis of experience nor according to Maxwell's equations. From the very beginning it appeared to me intuitively clear that, judged from the standpoint of such an observer, everything would have to happen according to the same laws as for an observer who, relative to the earth, was at rest. For how should the first observer know or be able to determine, that he is in a state of fast uniform motion?
One sees in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained. Einstein's recollections of his youthful musings are widely cited because of the hints they provide of his later great discovery. However, Norton has noted that Einstein's reminiscences were probably colored by a half-century of hindsight. Norton lists several problems with Einstein's recounting, both historical and scientific: . Rather than the thought experiment being at all incompatible with aether theories which it is not , the youthful Einstein appears to have reacted to the scenario out of an intuitive sense of wrongness.
He felt that the laws of optics should obey the principle of relativity. As he grew older, his early thought experiment acquired deeper levels of significance: Einstein felt that Maxwell's equations should be the same for all observers in inertial motion. From Maxwell's equations, one can deduce a single speed of light, and there is nothing in this computation that depends on an observer's speed. Einstein sensed a conflict between Newtonian mechanics and the constant speed of light determined by Maxwell's equations.
Regardless of the historical and scientific issues described above, Einstein's early thought experiment was part of the repertoire of test cases that he used to check on the viability of physical theories. Norton suggests that the real importance of the thought experiment was that it provided a powerful objection to emission theories of light, which Einstein had worked on for several years prior to In the very first paragraph of Einstein's seminal work introducing special relativity, he writes:.
It is well known that Maxwell's electrodynamics—as usually understood at present—when applied to moving bodies, leads to asymmetries that do not seem to attach to the phenomena.
Let us recall, for example, the electrodynamic interaction between a magnet and a conductor. The observable phenomenon depends here only on the relative motion of conductor and magnet, while according to the customary conception the two cases, in which, respectively, either the one or the other of the two bodies is the one in motion, are to be strictly differentiated from each other. For if the magnet is in motion and the conductor is at rest, there arises in the surroundings of the magnet an electric field endowed with a certain energy value that produces a current in the places where parts of the conductor are located.
But if the magnet is at rest and the conductor is in motion, no electric field arises in the surroundings of the magnet, while in the conductor an electromotive force will arise, to which in itself there does not correspond any energy, but which, provided that the relative motion in the two cases considered is the same, gives rise to electrical currents that have the same magnitude and the same course as those produced by the electric forces in the first-mentioned case.
This opening paragraph recounts well-known experimental results obtained by Michael Faraday in The experiments describe what appeared to be two different phenomena: the motional EMF generated when a wire moves through a magnetic field see Lorentz force , and the transformer EMF generated by a changing magnetic field due to the Maxwell—Faraday equation.
In the latter half of Part II of that paper, Maxwell gave a separate physical explanation for each of the two phenomena. Although Einstein calls the asymmetry "well-known", there is no evidence that any of Einstein's contemporaries considered the distinction between motional EMF and transformer EMF to be in any way odd or pointing to a lack of understanding of the underlying physics. Maxwell, for instance, had repeatedly discussed Faraday's laws of induction, stressing that the magnitude and direction of the induced current was a function only of the relative motion of the magnet and the conductor, without being bothered by the clear distinction between conductor-in-motion and magnet-in-motion in the underlying theoretical treatment.
Yet Einstein's reflection on this experiment represented the decisive moment in his long and tortuous path to special relativity. Although the equations describing the two scenarios are entirely different, there is no measurement that can distinguish whether the magnet is moving, the conductor is moving, or both.
In a review on the Fundamental Ideas and Methods of the Theory of Relativity unpublished , Einstein related how disturbing he found this asymmetry:. The idea that these two cases should essentially be different was unbearable to me.
Einstein needed to extend the relativity of motion that he perceived between magnet and conductor in the above thought experiment to a full theory. For years, however, he did not know how this might be done. The exact path that Einstein took to resolve this issue is unknown. We do know, however, that Einstein spent several years pursuing an emission theory of light, encountering difficulties that eventually led him to give up the attempt.
Gradually I despaired of the possibility of discovering the true laws by means of constructive efforts based on known facts. The longer and more desperately I tried, the more I came to the conviction that only the discovery of a universal formal principle could lead us to assured results. That decision ultimately led to his development of special relativity as a theory founded on two postulates of which he could be sure. Einstein's wording of the second postulate was one with which nearly all theorists of his day could agree.
His wording is a far more intuitive form of the second postulate than the stronger version frequently encountered in popular writings and college textbooks. The topic of how Einstein arrived at special relativity has been a fascinating one to many scholars: A lowly, twenty-six year old patent officer third class , largely self-taught in physics [note 3] and completely divorced from mainstream research, nevertheless in the year produced four extraordinary works Annus Mirabilis papers , only one of which his paper on Brownian motion appeared related to anything that he had ever published before.
Einstein's paper, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies , is a polished work that bears few traces of its gestation. Documentary evidence concerning the development of the ideas that went into it consist of, quite literally, only two sentences in a handful of preserved early letters, and various later historical remarks by Einstein himself, some of them known only second-hand and at times contradictory.
In regards to the relativity of simultaneity , Einstein's paper develops the concept vividly by carefully considering the basics of how time may be disseminated through the exchange of signals between clocks. The essence of the thought experiment is as follows:.
A routine supposition among historians of science is that, in accordance with the analysis given in his special relativity paper and in his popular writings, Einstein discovered the relativity of simultaneity by thinking about how clocks could be synchronized by light signals.
The dissemination of precise time was an increasingly important topic during this period. Trains needed accurate time to schedule use of track, cartographers needed accurate time to determine longitude, while astronomers and surveyors dared to consider the worldwide dissemination of time to accuracies of thousandths of a second.
However, all of the above is supposition. In later recollections, when Einstein was asked about what inspired him to develop special relativity, he would mention his riding a light beam and his magnet and conductor thought experiments. He would also mention the importance of the Fizeau experiment and the observation of stellar aberration. The routine analyses of the Fizeau experiment and of stellar aberration, that treat light as Newtonian corpuscles, do not require relativity.
But problems arise if one considers light as waves traveling through an aether, which are resolved by applying the relativity of simultaneity. It is entirely possible, therefore, that Einstein arrived at special relativity through a different path than that commonly assumed, through Einstein's examination of Fizeau's experiment and stellar aberration.
We therefore do not know just how important clock synchronization and the train and embankment thought experiment were to Einstein's development of the concept of the relativity of simultaneity. We do know, however, that the train and embankment thought experiment was the preferred means whereby he chose to teach this concept to the general public.
In , Einstein noted that from the composition law for velocities , one could deduce that there cannot exist an effect that allows faster-than-light signaling.
A uses the strip to send a signal to B. In other words, given the existence of a means of transmitting signals faster-than-light, scenarios can be envisioned whereby the recipient of a signal will receive the signal before the transmitter has transmitted it.
In his unpublished review, Einstein related the genesis of his thoughts on the equivalence principle:. While attempts in this direction showed the practicability of this enterprise, they did not satisfy me because they would have had to be based upon unfounded physical hypotheses.
At that moment I got the happiest thought of my life in the following form: In an example worth considering, the gravitational field has a relative existence only in a manner similar to the electric field generated by magneto-electric induction. Because for an observer in free-fall from the roof of a house there is during the fall —at least in his immediate vicinity— no gravitational field.
Namely, if the observer lets go of any bodies, they remain relative to him, in a state of rest or uniform motion, independent of their special chemical or physical nature.
The observer, therefore, is justified in interpreting his state as being "at rest. The realization "startled" Einstein, and inspired him to begin an eight-year quest that led to what is considered to be his greatest work, the theory of general relativity. Over the years, the story of the falling man has become an iconic one, much embellished by other writers.
In most retellings of Einstein's story, the falling man is identified as a painter. In some accounts, Einstein was inspired after he witnessed a painter falling from the roof of a building adjacent to the patent office where he worked.
This version of the story leaves unanswered the question of why Einstein might consider his observation of such an unfortunate accident to represent the happiest thought in his life. Einstein later refined his thought experiment to consider a man inside a large enclosed chest or elevator falling freely in space.
While in free fall, the man would consider himself weightless, and any loose objects that he emptied from his pockets would float alongside him. Then Einstein imagined a rope attached to the roof of the chamber. A powerful "being" of some sort begins pulling on the rope with constant force. The chamber begins to move "upwards" with a uniformly accelerated motion.
Within the chamber, all of the man's perceptions are consistent with his being in a uniform gravitational field. Einstein asked, "Ought we to smile at the man and say that he errs in his conclusion? Rather, the thought experiment provided "good grounds for extending the principle of relativity to include bodies of reference which are accelerated with respect to each other, and as a result we have gained a powerful argument for a generalised postulate of relativity.