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On The Speed of Light in the Theory of Special Relativity


Hoffman, Kenneth Paul




Relativity Theory



Date Published:

December 25, 2017




Special Relativity, Constant Speed of Light, Time Dilation, Inertial Reference Frames


The standard thought experiment used to validate the argument for time dilation is flawed. It is widely accepted in the physics of Special Relativity (SR) that the velocity of light is a constant at speed ‘c’ even when one Inertial Reference Frame (IRF) observes another. Where there is no acceleration or gravity the velocity of light is the same for all IRFs regardless of the velocity of the IRF or the light source. That Postulate is used in the standard argument of physics to justify time dilation; if 'c' is constant, then time must be varying. However, Einstein never provided any proof for the establishment of this Special Relativity (SR) axiom or postulate that has become a foundation for the theories of physics. An alternative original thought experiment given here, using light itself as the time keeper and at the same constant speed for both observers, shows that time cannot be varying, and the relative light speed must change in viewing another IRF in SR with a different velocity vector. The apparent speed of light would depend on the relationship between the reference frames. If there is no acceleration or the presence of a gravitational field, each would still find the light speed as 'c' in their own IRF just as Maxwell's equations predict. Also, this thought experiment shows that, contrary to what is currently accepted, observers who are in relative motion, could, in principle, synchronize their clocks.


J. Zwarts:
You have: (tLC = tTLP and dLC # dTLP) ==> dLC/dt # dTLP/dt (Q.E.D.)
What do you mean by Q.E.D.?
You have assumed c is NOT constant and then you conclude c is NOT constant.

SR has: (tLC = tTLP and dLC # dTLP and c is constant) ==> dLC/dt = dTLP/dt

Posted: January 15, 2018 @ 6:39:13 am
1 Replies

Ken(United States):
QED is an abbreviation of the Latin words "Quod Erat Demonstrandum" which loosely translated means "that which was to be demonstrated".

In this thought experiment I did not accept the SR given that 'c' is a constant. I simply found that the measured times in this set up must all be equal, but the distance light travels in the Light Clock is different from the distance light travels in the Triangle Light Path. If the times are equal and the distances are different, then the rates must also be different. Thus 'c' is not a constant for one Inertial Reference Frame viewing another IRF. SR insists that 'c' is a constant and then it is forced to conclude that the times must be different.

Posted: January 17, 2018 @ 2:23:23 am

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