Einstein's thought experiments and evidence

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yew_315
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:18 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW

Einstein's thought experiments and evidence

Postby yew_315 » Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:43 pm

Hi,
I was wondering if u would be able to provide help or assist in finding information about the two dot points on space. the first one is about "analysing and interpreting einstein's thought experiments involving mirrors and trains and discuss the relationship between thought and reality". And also the second one is to "analyse information to discuss the relationship between theory and the evidence supporting it, using einstein's predictions based on relativity". if u could provide me with some information about these two, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks

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joe
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:57 am
Location: Sydney

Postby joe » Tue Nov 23, 2004 11:09 am

I have put an analysis of some of this at
www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/time.html

You might also look at the HSC Physics FAQ at
www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/FAQ.html

Best
Joe

yew_315
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:18 pm
Location: Central Coast, NSW

Postby yew_315 » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:43 pm

thanks a lot joe

Luke

gustus
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: cas

Postby gustus » Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:14 pm

hey thanx too joe thats a lot better example of reletivety etc. than the old chalk drawings on the blackboard :D 8)
REMEMBER: Dowatchyalike or you'll end up a DrunkenMonkey

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joe
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:57 am
Location: Sydney

Postby joe » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:01 pm

Thanks. Because it's the centenary of Special Relativity, we shall soon update this. Keep watching.

Joe

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joe
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Location: Sydney

Happy birthday Relativity!

Postby joe » Wed Jun 22, 2005 9:29 am

I mentioned that we would update our sites on Special Relativity - to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Einstein's paper.

The site is "Einstein Light: Relativity in 10 minutes... or 10 hours". It is now live at

http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/

Best
Joe

mikitoru
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:29 am

Postby mikitoru » Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:33 am

At www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/time.html, it says:
"The relationship between thought and reality is the province of philosophers and, enjoyable though it be, I'd rather not trespass."


Is there a better explanation for the relationship between thought experiments and reality? I know it's wanky but my teacher loves to ask wanky questions.

I appreciate any help :)

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joe
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:57 am
Location: Sydney

Postby joe » Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:14 pm

A real experiment can test a theory: theory predicts A, experiment shows B, is B = A?

A thought experiment is one that cannot be done. Theory predicts C, experiment shows nothing. So the simple answer is that it doesn't relate to reality.

So what is the purpose of thought experiment? It can test the consistency of a theory or theories: e.g. is C consistent with the assumptions of the theory/theories? Some of Einstein's 'thought experiments' combine the laws of electromagnetism with Galilean relativity. Are they consistent?

Joe

PS Sometimes a 'thought experiment' doesn't test anything at all: e.g. if it assumes something that is already inconsistent with experiments.


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