You are here:

Relativity/inertial frames moving frames

Advertisement


Question
Dear Uncle Ben,

This is a silly question.  Thank you for your patience.

Is every single existing entity from the huge to the molecular   in its' own frame of reference?  In other words and for example--- is it that  every time a person or an ant or an H2O molecule  moves--
he or it  is in his   own realm of length  shortening, time dilation and mass increase as the moving frame relative to the inertial frame of-----
say a table or a grass blade or another molecule  he passes?
If so ---this would mean that the universe is a collection of overlapping frames of reference with individual clocks and lengths all over the place?
Thanks for reading.
Joan

Answer
Joan, thanks for asking an easy question!

A frame of reference is a tool for analyzing a problem.  Suppose a firecracker explodes somewhere at some time.  How would you tell someone what happened?  You need a frame of reference.

You could use anything handy to tell where it happened and when.  It might be the city street system and the town clock:  Maybe it happened at the corner of Main and Church at noon. There! I chose a frame of reference. Any other one would do as well.

Does that help?  

Relativity

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Uncle Ben

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding Einstein's Theory of Relativity, particularly in Special Relativity. I will not answer homework questions or mathematical problems that require special symbols.

Experience

I have taught physics at the college level, undergraduate and graduate, for many years including Special Relativity. I have taught at Johns Hopkins, Case-Western, and MIT. I have also served as a staff member of the Commission on College Physics, which was supported by the National Science Foundation to recommend improvements in the curriculum of college physics departments in the US. I am also the author of a textbook titled Vector Calculus, which was used at MIT in the teaching of electromagnetic theory and relativity. My research interests were mainly in solid state physics, especially the properties of metals at low temperatures. I am listed in the publication known as American Men of Science.

Publications
I have dozens of papers published in the Physical Review and in the American Journal of Physics.

Education/Credentials
I hold a Ph.D. degree in physics from the Johns Hopkins University.

Past/Present Clients
Johns Hopkins University, Case-Western Reserve University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Empire State College, Georgetown University, Commission on College Physics, and UNESCO.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.