Question: Are time and motion relative to size? If you’re not a physicist or scientific reader you may not know that relative means somehow related or connected to or influenced by or dependent on. So, again the question is: Are time and motion relative to size?
Here’s the scenario: A race is about to take place. In fact, it is the well known hare and tortoise competition, but with one “big” difference. Well, actually two, but let’s start with the one. The hare is incredibly huge. In fact, he’s the size of small mountain, with feet each the size of a huge building. Now, you have to think about that. Visualize it. One foot the size of, say, a ten story building. A full city block at its base. Sounds bizarre I know, but you’ll see where I’m going with this in a second.
The tortoise, on the other hand, is equally disproportionate to what your or I would call normal in size – but in the opposite “direction.” He’s the size of a tiny mite. He’s so small, in fact, that he’d be just barely visible if he were sitting on your thumb nail right now. Look down at your thumb nail and take a second to visualize that. A tiny little tortoise, just barely visible.
Now you have to imagine the size difference between these two as they both step up to the starting line. A mountainous hare and a microscopic speck of a tortoise.
The race is a straight dirt track, exactly one hundred yards long.
A starter on the sidelines yells, “Ready…set…” and he fires his pistol.
Now let’s start with the hare.
Looking down, the tremendous hare sees that the hundred yard space between the Start and Finish line is way, way down below him (his head is perhaps up in the clouds) and it’s a tiny, short kind of a mini stamp looking thing which he knows he can cover with the slightest forward movement of one huge foot. Positive of his win, when the gun goes off, he simply lifts and barely moves a single foot in a very leisurely manner from the Start line across the Finish line. And it takes one second. Piece of cake, right Got it visualized?
Well, the microscopic tortoise, on the other hand, has looked at that same hundred yard stretch and he sees what appears to be an infinite distance in front of him. In fact just the starting line itself is an incredibly wide band of white powder in front of him. Again, you have to visualize his view! Picture how that Finish line is much too far out there to even be visible through the expanse of boulders (grains of sand) and huge white dunes (the starting line lie powder) in front of him. But this microscopic little tortoise is a scrapper. The instant the starting gun is fired, he takes off like a shot – literally like a shot!
And who wins? Who do you guess? The hare? Well, to everyone’s surprise, the race is a photo finish – an exact tie! And this is where the relativity comes in.
By the standard clock on the sidelines, the hare and the tortoise moved at exactly the same speed. They had to, right? Because they both started on the gun shot and crossed the finish line at exactly the same instant. But think about what that “same” speed was like in each of their “worlds.” And to get this you have to separate these worlds and look at each one individually.
In the hare’s huge world, the motion was a slow, easy movement of one foot. He just lifted it up and barely moved it. In the microscopic world of the mite sized tortoise, though, in order to get to the finish line at the same time, the motion was lightning fast, way faster than any speed he’d ever dreamed of in his normal world. To travel that far in such a short period of time, he had to literally blast down the track like a bullet. Just think about it. Imagine the view of something that small going a hundred yards in a one second.
So again, here’s the question: “Are these differences only perceptions? Or, is the speed of an object and the time involved in its movement somehow relative to it’s size?