By Lance Eliot, the AI Trends Insider
Are you familiar with the famous twin’s paradox that was proffered by Einstein?
It’s quite a hoot.
The topic focuses on the foundational nature of time and clocks. Einstein brought up the topic while conceiving the theories of relativity, though historians point out that the thought experiment can be traced to a 1911 paper from scientist Paul Langevin. In any case, let’s jump into the details and put aside the historical origins.
Imagine that you are standing here on earth, which I assume most of you are, and you happen to have been born with an identical twin. Your beloved twin has decided to become an astronaut and venture into the far reaches of outer space. You are both the age of 25, let’s say.
You wave goodbye as your twin rockets away. Pretend that the spaceship is incredibly fast, so fast that it moves at nearly the speed of light. Marking the days on your calendar here on earth, your twin flies for 25 years to a far point in the universe, turns around, and for another 25 years flies back to earth.
Upon arriving here on earth, you greet your long traveling twin, embracing with a firm hug.
I’ll ask you a seemingly simple and innocent question: What is your age and what is the age of your twin upon meeting each other at the end of your twin’s voyage?
Well, we know that you marked the days and believe that the trip took 50 years. The trip started when you both were 25 years old. Therefore, the rote math suggests that you are now both 75 years old. Suppose I told you that your twin is now actually only 30 years old, having aged a mere 5 years while you have aged fifty years.
Is that shocking to you or does it comport with what you would have expected?
If you’ve ever watched any science fiction movies about space travel, you’ve undoubtedly seen story after story that involves a space traveler experiencing time more slowly than those of us on earth. When they get back to earth, their children are older than they are, and the peers that they left on earth are now long deceased.
But not everyone would agree with that premise.
You believe that your twin aged more slowly because they traveled at a fast speed and therefore approached our fundamental unit of time per the speed of light.
The paradox aspect is that we could turn the situation around and say that instead of looking at the twin that flew away from you, suppose we look at things in the eyes of your twin, and they would perceive that you essentially flew away from them. You might say that the twin was “stationary” and you here on earth were moving away from the twin.
In that case, maybe you ought to have aged only five years and your twin should have aged fifty years.
That is the crux of the paradox. Which is it? Did you age
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