“WHAT IS THEORY OF RELATIVITY?” (Concluding part):
“The theory of Relativity resembles a building, consisting of two separate stories, the Special Theory and the General Theory. The Special Theory, on which the General Theory rests, applies to all physical phenomena with the exception of Gravitation; The General Theory provides the law of Gravitation and its relation to the other forces of Nature”
- Albert Einstein thus consolidates the principle behind the General Theory of Relativity which forms the basis of this article.
First let us see how the General theory is an extension of special theory and some of its applications.
Special theory deals with the frames of reference moving with uniform velocity. Bodies moving under the sole influence of a gravitational field acquire an acceleration that does not depend upon the material or the physical state of the body. Einstein realised that this property of gravitational field implied equivalence, which became the basis of his General theory of Relativity.
Two Time measuring devices, if placed at the centre and at the edge of the rotating disc will show a remarkable result. With respect to K(disc at centre) the devices would be both at rest. But with respect to K’ (edge) the motion of the disc will show a TIME DILATION at the edge with respect to time measured at the centre. The clock at the periphery runs permanently at a slower rate than that at the centre. As observed from K. Hence, in a gravitational field, a timing device will run at different rates depending on where it is situated. Standard measuring rods placed tangentially around the circumference C of the disc will all be contracted in length due to the relativistic length contraction. Measuring such rods from K across the diameter will not show any such contraction (as against the contraction in tangential position). Hence the value of ‘Pi’ i.e. C/D will be more. (Because C, the circumference increases and D, diameter remains the same). This is an extension of the concept of of elongation of length in special theory to curved space in general theory.
Normally the value of Pi, that is Circumference/diameter will be 3.14159. but in the case of above circular motion it is larger. Euclidean geometry does not hold good in an accelerating frame, by the principle of relativity within a gravitational field. Spaces in which propositions of Euclid are not valid are sometimes called CURVED SPACES. For example, the sum of the internal angles of a triangle drawn on a flat sheet of paper will be 180 degrees, but a triangle drawn on a curved surface of a sphere will not follow this Euclidean rule. Einstein realised that rays of light would be perceived as curving in an accelerated frame. So, the final conclusion was, rays of light are propagated curvilinearly in gravitational fields. Experimental proof for this was available by means of photographs taken of stars during the solar eclipse on 29th May, 1919. The deflection of starlight around the Sun’s mass was confirmed.
In General Relativity, material bodies follow lines of shortest distance called GEODESICS. The motions of the material bodies are therefore determined by the curvature of space in the region through which they pass. This is the essence of general theory of relativity. The curvature of space and bending of light had been proved in all the cases of observed stellar activities.
Application to Super-string theory: The proposal of Curvature of Space and Time has both Scientific and Philosophical significance. When any object or observable event enters from non observable Universe to observable Universe it enters the field of Space and time which is curved. Einstein’s this observation is a fore runner for the super string theory, which leads to spin 2 particles, which are known as ‘ GRAVITONS ‘. Also the super string theory contains a quantum theory of the gravitational interactions, which is the domain of General Theory.
The important difference between the special and general theories, as explained above is that in special theory, movements of bodies are with uniform velocity and without involving acceleration whereas General theory deals with bodies moving with acceleration, especially under the influence of accelaration due to gravity. Let us see how this gives rise to new concepts of inertial and gravitational masses having great Philosophical significance too, explaining the concept of LIFE itself.Let us imagine an elevator, so far removed from stars and other large masses that there is no appreciable gravitational field. The observer will feel weightless. If a rope attached to the top of the elevator were to be pulled with a constant acceleration of 981 m/sec2 the observer would detect this acceleration as a force reaction on the floor. The experiences of the observer in an elevator are equivalent to the experiences of an observer in an elevator in the Earth’s gravitational field of strength 9.81 N/ kg. The force reaction at the feet of the observer in the accelerating frame is due to the observer’s INERTIAL MASS (the mass that represents the reluctance of the observer’s body to accelerate under the influence of a force) which is exactly equal to gravitational mass.
The equivalence of inert mass and gravitational mass has significant implications for the nature of space and time under the influence of a gravitational field. This, in fact, relates to circular motions and so connected with centrifugal forces. Suppose an observer A takes measurements from a Galilean (non-relativistic) frame K of non-Galilean (relativistic) frame K’ which is a rotating disc inhabited by an observer B. A notes that B is in circular motion and experiences a centrifugal acceleration. This acceleration is produced by a force, which may be interpreted as an effect of B’s inertial mass. But as per the above results of experiment 1, B may contend that he is actually at rest under the influence of a radially directed gravitational field which once again proves the equivalence of the two.
Let us see how Gravitation is connected to LIFE.
The theory that INERT MASS is equal and opposite to GRAVITATIONAL MASS is in itself an explanation to life on Earth. The inert mass is LIFE ENERGY and the Gravitational mass is the Earthly challenges it faces. Till the time they are equal, the life manages to exist. But, as explained in the article ” What is life? “, the ENTROPY i.e. disorder goes on increasing which is compensated by NEGATIVE-ENTROPY supplied by medicine etc. But once entropy overpowers the body i.e. inert mass, the body is unable to fight the gravitation in the negative side, and this process is called death.
Thus, a beautiful co-relation is brought between LIFE and GRAVITATION. Life contains all the forces of Nature in the body, on one hand they are used for Life and on the other they are used to conquer Nature itself as Maxwell’s electromagnetic forces do in fighting the original e.m.f which created them. Life contains several matter like carbon, Iron,sulphur, Iodine etc and forms of energy such as Heat, Electricity. Magnetism, Sound etc. But the most fundamental force life uses is Gravitation.
All the above forces are building blocks of a living being. The same forces help in opposing and conquering the Physical world.
Hence, life is essentially a balancing act with Gravitation. Thoughts inscribed in the brain cells come to the fore one after the other in series as per the energy supplied to them. The most important thing is the feeling of “I”. This comes when the embryo starts movement inside the ovary i.e. when it FEELS the Gravitation. From that moment onward the process of struggle for subsistence starts (against the force of gravitation) as surviving the challenges put forward by the surroundings.
In part I, we saw how Special theory of Relativity explained Light as the Universal energy connecting matter and energy. On the Philosophical side, we saw that there is another Light inside the body known as ‘Inner Light” which is the guiding force and replica of the Master Intelligent Plan which is beyond Space, Time and conservation laws. Intelligence is the capacity to throw light in the fields of Space, time conservation laws and beyond.
In this II part, the special theory has been extended to the General Theory. The basis of the argument was Inert mass is equal to the Gravitational mass. In a relative motion nearly at speed of light, the acceleration gives raise to increase in mass and the time dilation which results in curvature in space. Objects move in a four dimensional curved space. On the Philosophical side, it was discussed that life is a negating force to gravitation, and that force too is nothing but gravitation as proved in the equality of Inert and Gravitational mass. Also a reference has been given to curvature of Space and time relating it to Super string theory.
Advantages of this article:
Various aspects of relativity, including various technical terms are explained in a very simple manner. The contents of these two articles are scarcely available in school/college text books. Any student of Science when he goes through these articles would be able to understand the rudiments thoroughly and able to follow difficult aspects thoroughly and easily. Philosophers, not accustomed to technical terms also can understand and apply them to relativistic Philosophy.
Wishing the readers all success.
Dr B.Sathyanarayanan (65) is an experienced administrator, teacher and writer. He is M.Sc(Physics) from Annamalai University with spectroscopy as special subject. He worked as a PHYSICS LECTURER for 2 years (1969-1971). Later, due to family circumstances, he had to take up the lucrative bank job and continued Physics and Philosophy research privately. At the age of 50, he got voluntary retirement from banking service with pension benefits. Now he finds more time to spend for social,educational and research activities. He returned to teaching profession and taught SPOKEN ENGLISH and GRAMMAR as adult education to several students. In 2005, he took up Physics teaching once again and is continuously teaching for the past 8 years as a regular professor of Physics.
He got his PhD in Psychological counselling in 2000 and is counselling on HIV/AIDS matters. He conducted several intervention programmes. He is a well known writer in English in fiction and article writing. His writing is recognised internationally by listing in the directory of World Philosophers, Bowling Green State University, U.S.A.
All along his life so far, he remained a scientific philosopher in thought and deeds. He considers Albert Einstein as his role model in Science and J.Krishnamurti, in Philosophy. His first book ‘The Simple Truth”, a comparative study of Religion and Science, was published in 1987. He published the annual magazine ‘Philosophy of Science’ for five years. He founded Holistic Philosophy Society for the study of Physics and Philosophy. His latest book ‘Glimpses of Holistic Philosophy’ has been widely acclaimed. He recently conducted a “Two days seminar on Religion, Science and Social Services” in Chennai, India which was attended by senior Professors of Physics and Philosophy. Important topics covered in this inter-disciplinary meet will be sent soon under a different title.