Śrīdhara Brāhmaṇa: Pythagoras Theorem and Time Dilation

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Strictly speaking, this is not a commentary on Quantum Integer Programming (QuIP), but rather a prequel.

And an exemplar of the interplay of elementary mathematics and unusual insights in physics.

You may recall an earlier post of mine on Wicked Problems.

I introduced my concept of maximally inverse in my talk at the Collective Intelligence conference.

In the context of inertial frames of reference (“constant velocity” frames):

Newton: Time is the same; Speed is relative.

Einstein: Speed (of light) is the same; Time is relative.

As you can see from the simple math I worked out at the top of the post:

A Ferrari passes a standing observer, and at that instant of passing, the Ferrari driver shoots a pellet of light towards the ceiling of the car.

Newton would have analyzed the situation with the light pellet (he called it corpuscle) assuming that its x-velocity in the Ferrari is v larger than it would have been if it was instead shot by the standing observer.

Not so, says Einstein. It is just c, not c+v. It does not matter what v is.

So, if c is the same as v changes, something else has to give. What?


This is Special Relativity in a nutshell.

Everything else that follows (including E = mc2) is a straightforward consequence of this unusual insight by Einstein.

If you want to see the steps to get to the most famous equation ever, I have also included it in the gallery at the top of the post (scroll right).

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