Elevator Pitch for Special Relativity

by Asher Kay

Physics is a way of looking at the world around us, with a unique perspective on how things move and interact with one another. It defines everyday phenomena through the conceptual lens of precise and unchangable “laws” — a sort of destiny that affects everything from how your dinner cooks to how the universe was formed. For Newtonian physicists, time and space are absolute — you are where you are. Special Relativity changes all that. With Special Relativity, the car speeding past you is actually shorter than a car at rest. And if you live on a mountain, time actually moves slower for you than it does for the people in the valley. Special Relativity frees us from the constraints of being nailed down to a boring and unchanging place in the cosmos.

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6 Comments to “Elevator Pitch for Special Relativity”

  1. Asher (if that is your real name), it’s all too common for amateur ‘physics’ enthusiasts to have a quasi-religious orientation toward the hard sciences, and you are no exception. I suggest that you reconsider smuggling your naive folk-beliefs into serious discussion via the rhetoric of “destiny,” and from “the universe” restrict your scope to the more manageable confines of your own skull. All the best.

  2. OK, that really helps. So if I understand you correctly, this explains how Hitler’s Body disappeared from the Bunker and later appeared in a Cloning lab run by Josef Mengele in the Wine Country of the Argentine Andes foothills? Because I was wondering about how they could get ahead of the Official work on Sheep and Mengele could Still Be Alive, but obviously if Time runs slower Up There it all MAKES SENSE.

  3. “Special Relativity frees us from the constraints of being nailed down to a boring and unchanging place in the cosmos.”

    I KNOW, that’s SO DEEP. So Few people actually get this and understand how Special they Truly ARE.

  4. Asher, I have perused your ‘elevator pitch’ with great care, and I believe I can be of some assistance in rendering your prose more immediately intelligible to the broader reading public. Please allow me to take the liberty of offering the following revision of the first sentence as a sample, subject of course to your own reciprocal perusal and acquiescence before I proceed to redact the subsequent lines.

    You said: “Physics is a way of looking at the world around us, with a unique perspective on how things move and interact with one another.”

    Whilst this is technically correct, consider the following alternative formulation: “Physics offers the most compelling extant modality of investigation of our material environmental conditions, containing a distinctive standpoint on how objects speak and translate one another.”

    Asher, I am cognizant that this rendition is moderately more lengthy, however I believe the advantages in both clarity and accessibility are well worth it. Please do inform me of your judgment re: this sample and I will be delighted to develop further improvements.

  5. Nihils: I think you are misunderstanding the whole point.

    Krista: Kung Pao!

    Winston: Too dogmatic. You have to make the customer feel like they have a choice — that they’re smarter for choosing as they have, and that they’re taking the reasonable course, unlike the intransigent Newtonians.

  6. “unlike the intransigent Newtonians”

    Well if there’s anything Newtonians are good for it’s predictable trajectories.

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