A Luddite’s View of Space

I have just finished reading two books by Stephen Hawking, “A Brief History of Time”, first published in 1988 and updated in 1996, and “The Universe in a Nutshell”, published in 2001.  It was finally time to unravel the Relatively, Nothing Can Go Faster Than the Speed of Light and Space is Curved esoterics for my average brain.

I have run into these thoughts often over the years and passed them off with an, “if you say so”, attitude, but now I chose to absorb and understand.  Lotsa luck!

I should tell you that I have a degree in engineering which included a year of physics classes but the ‘Space is Full of Dark Matter folks’ say that apples falling from trees explains gravity is confined to this tiny little spec in the universe called earth.

Paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter, it said that’s the way it is because.  Einstein’s declaration that e=mc2, which everyone has taken as gospel, leading to another sacrosanct pronouncement that nothing can go faster than the speed of light because m, mass, would become infinitely large was my, wait a minute, what’s going on here moment?

Instead of merely chalking it off to a personal deficiency in intellectual capacity (which may be true), I decided to browse the internet and see if anyone else found the concept confusing.  The most succinct opinion I found was at; http://sasuke.econ.hc.keio.ac.jp/~ken/physics-faq/mass.html which says;

“In a 1948 letter to Lincoln Barnett Einstein wrote

“It is not good to introduce the concept of the mass M = m/(1-v2/c2)1/2 of a body for which no clear definition can be given. It is better to introduce no other mass than ‘the rest mass’ m. Instead of introducing M, it is better to mention the expression for the momentum and energy of a body in motion.”

The viewpoint above, emphasising the distinction between mass, momentum, and energy, is certainly the “modern” view. Fifty years later, can relativistic mass be laid to rest?

Arguments against the term “relativistic mass” are given in the classic relativity text book “Space-Time Physics” by Taylor and Wheeler, 2nd edition, Freeman Press (1992).
The article “Does mass really depend on velocity, dad?” by Carl E Adler, American Journal of Physics 55, 739 (1987) also discusses this subject and includes the above quote from Einstein against the use of relativistic mass”
Basic Physics
That having been said, I decided to see what kind of force, F, would be required to move a mass, m, to the speed of light in a year.

A most basic equation in Newtonian physics is F = ma

Using the English system of pounds, feet, inches etc, the equation says that Force required to move a Mass (m) equals the mass times acceleration.

Definition of terms

  1. a is acceleration in feet per second. As long as acceleration occurs, velocity increases.
  2. m is mass. It is the property of a body in a weightless environment.  The unit is slugs. For example, it is the acceleration by gravity that gives mass weight.  On earth that acceleration is 32 feet per second meaning that a 160 pound man on earth has a mass of 6 slugs here or anyplace else in the universe.
  3. F is a force applied in pounds.

Therefore, as long as the force F is applied to the mass m, its velocity V will increase.

Using that formula, let us determine the amount of thrust required to bring a mass, m, say in the form of a space ship, up to the speed of light in one year.

V = at where t is time in seconds.

Solving first for the required acceleration:

a = V/t

= (186000)(5280)/(365)(24)(60)(60) = 31.14155251 ft per second per second

Therefore the force required using F=ma would be 31.14 lbs. for every unit of mass.

For every thousand pounds of space ship (weight measured on earth), mass would be 1000/32.2 = 31.06 slugs

Force required would be 31.12 x 31.06 = 967 lbs.

Rounding off, you could say that a pound of thrust for every pound of space ship, as measured on earth, applied for one year would take it to the speed of light.

By way of comparison, the space shuttle launch rocket systems generated in excess of one million pounds of thrust.

Einstein was passed over for an academic position he sought as a young man in Switzerland.  Could curved space, time warps and mass re-configurations be his way of getting even?  How do you test e=mc2?  You can’t. Our fastest satellite launches don’t come within one percent of light speed.

If it is a hoax, it wasn’t to be the last science gobbledegook to be perpetrated on academia and the public for the benefit of a few.  Man-made global warming involving much less esoteric science, is a grand hoax that has cost billions.  This bogus science is transparently bad yet influence peddlers like celebrities and the mass media continue to spew their nonsense.

Is it inconceivable that Einstein and his tribe of followers have ridden his coat tails to prestigious and well paying positions in science and academia?

I’m just sayin’,

Return to Culture – 


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