So Discover magazine has a special “Einstein Issue” this month which I bought at the airport. I don’t normally read Discover, but found this issue unclear - it was a superficial lauding of the man and genius, but any attempts to explain relativity were thin at best. But it got me thinking about two questions:
Why does time slow when one approaches the speed of light? - so, I am driving a car at, say, 95% the speed of light. I know that, to my eye, light beams that I am racing will still be moving away from me at the speed of light relative to my point of observation and that time for me is slowing to enable that. But how does that work - if I am moving at a fixed percentage less than light, then at time x, I will only be 95% as far along (95 miles vs. 100 miles) and so on. How does time slowing down for me reconcile with the mathematical distance separating us and enable light to still be observably moving at c?
the Speed of light as a universal constant - it’s weird, but I am wondering if this analogy works: As a musician and music fan, I started with rock music. With rock, the bass drum (and sometimes snare) keep time; listen to them and you have the “constant” to focus on and figure out the rhythm. When I first heard jazz, I couldn’t “find” it, until I realized that (usually) the hi-hat cymbols were used by jazz drummers to keep time. Hi-hats are the constant for jazz I could fix on to “find” how jazz makes rhythmic sense. I wonder - is that similar to how scientists had to re-calibrate their thinking for relativity? Did Newtonian physicists key on time as the constant and then have to fix on light as the constant instead?