Twins Paradox and Special Relativity

This post is a bit off topic to my blog, but there are some things in popular science that really bother me. One of the groups that I follow on Facebook posted a clip on Twins Paradox in Special Relativity. Again! There is no such thing as Twins Paradox in Special Relativity. In order to compare the ages of the twins, you need to return them to the same point.  You have to accelerate (decelerate) at least one of them, making his/her frame of reference a non-inertial one. This means we cannot longer use Special Relativity. Only General Relativity has non-inertial frames of reference. For detailed explanations one can look at the famous Landau & Lifshitz book.

To me, it was always a criterium of a good vs bad book on Special Relativity: if there is a chapter on Twins Paradox, I would never buy a book.

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4 thoughts on “Twins Paradox and Special Relativity

  1. I remember how long it took me to really grasp what was happening during the non-inertial frame as the symmetry of special relativity was broken. From the perspective of the traveler in space, the earthling was aging less than he was. Once the traveler decelerated, turned around, accelerated, and was back at an inertial frame, the traveler immediately sees that the earthling has aged more than he has! I had to use a Minkowski diagram to understand what was happening during the non-inertial frame moments.

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  2. Artemis, what course were you doing it for: classical mechanics, astrophysics, or something else? I will not be surprised if you have done it on your own just out of curiosity 🙂

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