Frames of Reference

I recall my physics teacher (of years past) stating you cannot accelerate a frame of reference, IIRC. Please help me refresh my memory as to what he meant by this and/or in what context he may have “couched” such a statement. Let’s say I’m on an accelerating passenger train, and I throw a ball forward…isn’t the ball’s speed (although changing) still relative to either the train or the ground at any one instance?

What is it I’m forgetting, misapplying, or misunderstanding? Thanks!

  • Jinx

I’m not sure what he meant by that… The closest I can guess is that what he said, or meant to say, is that you cannot apply Newton’s laws as-is in an accelerating reference frame. If you’re working in an accelerated frame, then you have to introduce so-called fictitious forces, that is to say forces which are not exerted by anything, in order to make everything work.

I don’t get it either, but here’s a piece of a Stewed Mulligan song about Albert Einstein:

"Had a frame of reference,
Laid it on a fence.
Showed it relativity,
Ain’t seen the damn thing since.

Albert, dance around.
Albert, be profound.
Albert, let your hair stick out,
And your socks fall down."