Fizz: A young woman's quest to unravel the universe
A young woman's quest
to unravel the universe
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Fizz - deleted scene

Read this after chapter The Gedankenexperiment. Einstein has proposed the outlandish hypothesis that two people moving off in different directions will always find themselves at the center of the same circle of light. Using the thought experiment of Fizz flying in a spaceship at half the speed of light, Fizz and Einstein have already discovered that her time must be running slower relative to him and her space contracted. Fizz is still skeptical...


He's not going to get the better of me so easily. If he thinks my world is contracted and I think his world is contracted we just need to arrange an encounter between the two worlds to prove there is a contradiction. "But... we're not done yet. Care for another round?"

 

"Fizz to Albert. Am back at 0.5c (half the speed of light). Confirm length of my ship. Over."

"Just under two meters, relative to me. Over."

"Very well. Prepare a garage just under two meters long for my arrival. Say one meter ninety. And Albert, place the garage adjacent to your own house. Over." I smile.

"Garage just under two meters long prepared. Over."

"Fizz to Albert, confirm garage is longer than ship. Oh and confirm you're wearing a safety helmet. Over."

"Affirmative."

"Very good." Of course, he thinks my ship is contracted to less than two meters long but I know that my ship is still two meters and if this space contraction is real then relative to me it is that garage which will be contracted by 12% to less than one meter ninety, shorter than my vehicle. So this will be fun. "Spaceship to Albert, standby for parking maneuver. Over."

"Standing by. Your ship is shorter than the garage but please apply your um, instant hyper-breaks as soon as the back of the ship is inside the garage to avoid damage to my home. Over."

I swoop down and align the ship perfectly with the garage that I can view through my forward-looking telescope. Albert is standing outside his garage smiling and waving enthusiastically, his frizzy hair shimmering in the wind as I approach at astronomical speed. I'll be wiping that smile off his face soon... Without a moment's hesitation I shoot directly at the garage at 0.5c.

Then, at the precise moment when the back of the ship reaches inside I apply the brakes. Nothing quite prepares you for such a shock. The hyper-break brings the ship to an instant stop and my body splats against the front wind-shield a few billionths of a second later at the speed of 0.5c. I'm barely alive but I am pleased to hear some bricks bouncing off the meteor-proof crystal sky-roof of the spaceship. At least I made my point - the ship is two meters long and did not fit in the garage. I may have damaged Albert's home but next time he will think twice before assaulting space and time.

When the brick shower ends I slide open the hatch, climb out, and whip off the goggles giving my red hair a swirl for good measure. "Well Albert, there you are, as you see my ship is two meters long and your garage is just one meter ninety. So I'm sorry about breaking through the wall to your living room, but, well, you asked for it. So then, what happened to my ship being shorter than the garage, heh?"

"Your ship was shorter than the garage, at least relative to me. But you cheated, I do believe I told you very clearly to apply the brakes instantly."

"I did too."

"At those speeds you need to stop both the front and the back of the vehicle at the same moment to avoid it stretching."

"OK, let's say I did, in fact, yes, I sent a light signal simultaneously to the front hyper-breaks and the back hyper-breaks. The circle of light expanded around me to reach the front and back in perfect unison guaranteeing that both brakes activated simultaneously."

"So that is what you did. That explains it. Perhaps you didn't hear but I was screaming on the communications 'Fizz you maniac you've applied the back brake but you haven't yet applied the front-brake - you're causing the ship to stretch! Apply the front-brake quickly before you smash through to my home.' "

"Oh, you were shouting that?"

"Yes, at least I wanted to shout that, but it all happened kind of quickly."

"Stuff happens fast in that ship. But I assure you I dispatched light signals to the front and back brakes so that they would activate at the same time."

"At the same time relative to you," Albert corrects. "Say I was standing above the middle of the garage. I saw your light circle going out towards the brakes but I was the center of that circle. Relative to me, the light circle was centered but your ship was moving! The back of the ship was moving towards the light. The front of the ship was moving away from the light. The back brakes were applied before the front brakes. Then because the back brakes were applied and the front brakes were not, the ship got stretched causing..." he glances sadly at the imaginary pile of rubble.

"What? You're saying both brakes were applied simultaneously relative to me but at different times relative to you? So now you want to abandon even the concept of simultaneity. Two events can be simultaneous relative to me, but one after the other relative to you?!"

"Ja, that is another consequence of the hypothesis - not only is time faster or slower depending on the observer but even the order of events is relative to the observer."