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The theory of relativity and its use in Sci-Fi.

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The Theory of Relativity and its use in Sci-Fi Abstract This investigation looks in to the different aspects of general and special relativity that has been used in science fiction movies. This report talks about the difficulties and possibilities of travelling at the speed of light (c), the different propulsion systems that could be used and how trecknology has changed the boundaries of physics in Hollywood features. Time travel also features looking at different theories behind it with a number of new ideas. The Foundations of relativity were set out in detail by Albert Einstein. The 'special' version of the theory, which applies to observers in a uniform relative motion, has led to a number of successful conclusions of a variety of effects. Newton's laws of motion give us a complete description of the behaviour of moving objects at low speeds (speed of objects much less than the speed of light). These laws being thought up in the 17th century, when the classical laws of dynamics where being formulated by other early physicists, these classical laws are themselves subject to a relativity principle. Einstein's special theory of relativity gives the motion of particles moving at close to the speed of light. It actually gives the motion of any particle. This does not however prove Newton wrong; his equations are within Einstein's relativistic equations. Einstein's theory of special relativity is based on two assumptions: 1. All inertial (i.e. non-accelerating) frames of reference are equally valid (i.e. any observations or experiments performed will produce equally valid results). 2. The speed of light is constant for all inertial frames of reference. Given these two statements, Einstein showed how definitions of momentum and energy must be refined and how quantities such as length and time must change from one observer to another in order to get consistent results for physical quantities. ...read more.


It's all a question of energy if we can find enough than this drive is possible but where can we get it from? Wormholes Travelling through worm holes is not an uncommon idea and even the most unscientific person has toyed with the idea while down the local. The common concept is to make the distance between two points shorter so not dissimilar to the idea discussed above. We do not how ever have any worm holes at the macroscopic level. Quantum theory predicts them at the microscopic level although they will not be much bigger than 10 x 10-33, if we can feed it with some kind of energy to stop it collapsing under the huge gravitational forces that it will impose on itself. But there are still some problems: we can't predict where a wormhole will end. And it is also possible that travelling through a wormhole will take you back in time, causing causality paradoxes and if we can predict where wormholes will end, and if we even know how to create a wormhole to the place where we want to be, we need still very huge amounts of energy. Subspace We have this space which is a hypothetical continuum surrounding our universe, the 'rocket science' world has labelled it subspace. In star trek this hypothetical space doesn't limit you to light speed, but we don't know how to get in to it and most bizarrely even if it exists at all?? Warp drive The famous star trek warp drive is discussed regularly in the field of physics. It's powered by a tuned plasma stream from a matter/antimatter reactor. ...read more.


There are however some difficulties firstly negative energy must often be confined to small spaces, now with most methods a lot of energy is used so need to be confined to a small space. The negative energy cannot exist independently, after appearing it will be counteracted by the large amounts of positive energy. Unfortunately the chances of getting this amount of negative energy before it is 'neutralised' by the positive energy is extremely low. Now unfortunately for the moment the only way to travel in time is to star in a Hollywood movie. The theory of relativity has been subject to expansion by British astronomers, who have tried to extend the theory to include electromagnetic phenomena; The Unified field Theory has tried to link together the Four Known interactions 1.Strong, which is a short range force that holds atomic nuclei together. 2. Electromagnetic 3. Gravitational. 4. Weak, which is responsible for slow nuclear processes e.g. Beta decay. They are believed to have one common factor or unity that will link all four forces that are none to cause all interactions together. There are still breakthroughs happening all the time that are always testing and rendering the theory of relativity. We have seen a number of aspects of physics that have been clumsily portrayed in the media typical, exaggerated fashion that we have all come to enjoy when we visit the cinema, but who am I to put a stop to this enjoyment, for who knows what the future has to offer in terms of space travel, for years the top minds in the world agreed that the word was flat and the atom was the smallest thing that makes up matter, maybe this is another thing, the media has labelled 'rocket science', we can also change. ...read more.

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