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Relativity/Has Special Relativity Been Proved Wrong In The Following?


QUESTION: 1. The physical time is the displayed time of a physical clock.
2. The displayed time of a physical clock is an invariant of inertial reference frames.
3. If all clocks are set to have the same displayed time and same frequency in one inertial reference frame no matter whether the clocks are stationary or not, their displayed times will be the same observed on all inertial reference frames all the time.
    3.1 Can we set all clocks (moving or stationary) to have the same displayed time in one inertial reference frame?
    3.2 Can we set all these clocks to have the same frequency in this inertial reference frame?
    3.3 If #3.1 and #3.2 are true, these clocks will have the same displayed time all the time in this inertial reference frame.
    3.4 Because of #2, these clocks will have the same displayed time in all inertial reference frames.
4. Therefore, the physical time is unique, universal and independent from any inertial reference frame.
5. The time of Special Relativity is not unique, universal but depends on the inertial reference frame.
6. Therefore, the time of Special Relativity is not the physical time.
7. Therefore, Special Relativity is wrong.

Note: the displayed time here is the time shown on a clock such as the angles of the arms of a rotating clock or the digital display of the time of an atomic clock. The displayed time is different from the time of the inertial reference frame attached to the clock. The displayed time is the multiplication of the time and the frequency of its oscillation. In Special Relativity, the frequency of oscillation is not an invariant of inertial reference frames. Therefore, the displayed time is very different from the time of the reference frame. But the displayed time of a clock is equivalent to the time in Newton's mechanics because of the invariance of the frequency of the oscillation on all inertial reference frames.

About Twin Clocks
The twin clocks case is the most typical case Einstein used to demonstrate time dilation caused by relativity. Actually it just proves the opposite. Let's see two clocks: clock A (stationary) and clock B (moving at speed v). If they were synchronized when they met. After a time of T' observed on the moving reference frame, clock B would display a time for example 3 o'clock. After Lorentz Transformation to the stationary frame, clock B would be still 3 o'clock, but Einstein said, clock A would show a faster time for example 4 o'clock. Therefore, he confirmed that there was a time dilation.

OK, now let us observe these two clocks on the moving frame again. Due to the invariance of the displayed time of a clock (i.e. #2 in the above), clock A would still show 4 o'clock and clock B would still show 3 o'clock. Actually, you can observe these two clocks on any inertial reference frame, they would still be 4 o'clock on clock A and 3 o'clock on clock B. There was no relativity caused time dilation at all. That is, clock B was set to be slower than clock A. It's just a street-magic show.

About the clocks on GPS satellites
Many people think that the corrections of the clocks are the proof of time dilation, but actually it proves the opposite. If the clocks are corrected to be synchronized with the clock on the earth, then according to Special Relativity, they can never be synchronized relative to each other because the relative speeds between them are changing so dramatically. Everything becomes chaotic. Then there is no way that these satellites can do their positioning work at all. Therefore, it proves that Special Relativity is wrong.

According to #3, if these clocks are once synchronized on one inertial reference frame at the observing moment attached to the earth, then they will be synchronized on all inertial reference frames at any time attached to any satellite. Then GPS satellites can work.

For more detail, please check

ANSWER: Kinhang, the short answer to your question is no, and the proof is experimental.

Go to and search for Haefele and Keating or Time Dilation experiment.  These physicists tried
to disprove time dilation by carrying an atomic clock around the world by air and comparing the time required with the time registered by a stationary clock.

To their surprise, the atomic clock that flew around the world registered a shorter time than the stationary clock by an amount consistent with Einstein's theory. They tried it again going around the other way, which gives a different  speed because of the earth's rotation.  The result was different but consistent with the theory.

It would take a book to explain all this, but you can read other wikipedia articles if you want more.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Have you actually read my question? Do you agree that the atomic clocks record the number of cycles of oscillation which is the multiplication of time and frequency? Do you agree that the frequency will change after Lorentz Transformation like Transverse Doppler effect? Therefore, do you agree that the displayed time of a clock is an invariant of LT? Once it is an invariant of LT, how can you use experiments to disapprove the fact in Special Relativity?

It's so clear that the Haefele and Keating's experiments can only say that they have found there is a difference between the clocks after the flights, but never meant that this difference is a time dilation caused by speed. It may be caused by acceleration or gravitation or other environmental factors.

ANSWER: Yes, I read your question.  You have an argument that you believe is valid. But experiment trumps argument. When you argue with Mother Nature, you must lose. She doesn't care whether we understand her or not.

Haefele and Keating said explicitly that they were testing the existence of time dilation. There is no other reason to do the experiment.

1. Acceleration is known to have no particular effect on time dilation.

2. Gravitation has an effect, but the gravitational effect depends only on the altitude, which is the same going east as west.

3. The amount of time difference between the air-borne clock and the earth-bound clock coincides precisely within experimental error with what relativity predicts.

4. Not only does the effect have the right magnitude, but it differs according to direction, east vs west, by the expected amount. One way adds to the angular velocity of the earth; the other way subtracts.

In the 1970s, these factors persuaded the physics community, and even the skeptical authors, that time dilation is real.

There are many more tests of relativity, including atomic bombs, all of which have passed scrutiny of skeptics.  For example, the Large Hadron Collider in Europe would not work at all if relativity were not taken into account in its design. Classical physics gives a much different prediction of the trajectory of the particles. Yet the LHC works beautifully.

So I applaud your courage in attempting an argument against time dilation, but the question is settled.

I cannot afford the time to analyze your argument for the error, but the answer is well established theoretically and experimentally. I will just advise you to study the existing literature.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I just want to ask you whether you agree that the displayed time of a physical clock is an invariant of Lorentz Transformation. If it is, then you should never see time dilation on physical clocks within the theory of Special Relativity. The Lorentz invariance of the displayed time of a physical clock can be directly concluded from the definition of the clock: the number of cycles of oscillation is the multiplication of time and frequency. Time expands by a factor gamma and frequency decreases by the same factor gamma which makes the multiplication an invariant of Lorentz Transformation.

Therefore, the results of Haefele and Keating can never be interpreted as time dilation caused by speed.

No, the displayed time of a physical clock is not Lorentz invariant.  A clock travelling at the speed of light would be stopped with respect to the frame of reference in which the speed is c.

Certain neutrinos undergo type transformation with time. When neutrinos from the sun are detected on earth, the transformation is stopped.  This is a direct example of what you are asking about.



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Uncle Ben


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.


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.

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

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

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