Hoffman, Kenneth Paul
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. The apparent speed of light would depend on the relationship between the reference frames. Each would still find 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.
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