# Chapter 7

Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity:
Can a human ever travel faster than the speed of light, at “warp speed”?
1. Einstein’s theories of relativity a. are a result of the contradiction between Newton’s laws of motion and Maxwell’s equations. b. proved the laws of nature are not universally applicable. c. indicated that Maxwell’s equations were in error. d. showed that the speed of light is not always a constant. e. none of the above Ans: a Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

2. Special relativity is applied to a. reference frames accelerating. b. reference frames that do not accelerate. c. very difficult mathematical problems. d. general cases of relativity. e. cases in which the object moves faster than the speed of light. Ans: b Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

3. According to the theory of relativity, a. as the speed of light is approached, time slows down and approaches zero. b. as the speed of light is approached, time speeds up and approaches infinity. c. as the speed of light is approached, distance shrinks and approaches zero. d. a & c e. none of the above Ans: d Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

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Chapter 7 4. Which scientist believed that planets move in a straight line along the curved surface of space? a. Einstein b. Kepler c. Galileo d. Newton e. Copernicus Ans: a Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

5. Which work established Einstein’s international reputation? a. early work at the patent office b. publication of the special relativity theory c. calculations for the general relativity theory d. prediction of light bending during a solar eclipse e. establishing the time dilation principles Ans: d Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

6. Which prediction of the theory of general relativity was the first to be tested by scientists? a. The Earth will experience a solar eclipse in June 1919. b. Mercury will advance in its orbit by 43 seconds of arc. c. The strong gravitational field of the Sun will bend light coming from a distant star. d. Newtonian physics applies only to large masses. e. Length contraction will occur in particle accelerators. Ans: c Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

7. Which of the following scientific instruments has been used to document time dilation? a. quartz crystals b. laser c. Hubble telescope d. NIMBUS satellite e. stopwatch

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Chapter 7 Ans: b Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

8. What is the difference between general and special relativity? a. General relativity applies to accelerating frames of reference and special relativity does not. b. Special relativity is a special case for two frames of reference accelerating in opposite directions. c. General relativity can only solve problems of time dilation and length contraction; special relativity can apply to problems of large mass and the speed of light. d. Special relativity is much more complex than general relativity, requiring rigorous mathematical calculations to explain. e. Two of the above choices are true. Ans: a Link To: Special Relativity, General Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

9. The Lorentz factor is a number a. more than one. b. showing the magnitude of change in time and scale. c. comparing the relative speed of two atomic clocks. d. representing the atomic mass of a type of oil. e that is used in Newtonian motion calculations. Ans: b Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

10. Approximately how many people today understand the special theory of relativity? a. a dozen b. hundreds c. thousands d. millions e. billions Ans: d Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

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11. Why is the speed of light special in Einstein’s theories? a. The speed of light is a constant built into Maxwell’s equations. b. The speed of light is relative to the observer’s frame of reference. c. All scientists agree that the speed of light can never be exceeded. d. In relativity the moving clocks slow down in time and light becomes dimmer. e. none of the above Ans: a Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

12. The speed of light is a constant across all reference frames. Ans: True Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

13. Intuition is always correct when dealing with objects moving near the speed of light. Ans: False Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

14. Time dilation has been demonstrated with atomic clocks on jet aircraft. Ans: True Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

15. The theory of relativity shows that our intuition and experience are wrong in explaining the universe. Ans: True Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

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16. According to the theory of relativity, some things in the universe must already be moving faster than the speed of light. Ans: True Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

17. Relativity says that objects approaching the speed of light are infinitely massive. Ans: True Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

18. What is a frame of reference? Give examples. Ans: A frame of reference is the physical surroundings from which a person observes and measures the world. Examples are a room, with all items and persons stationary; a train, in which one observer is moving as another watches from outside; and a spaceship, in which the observer is accelerating with respect to a person on Earth. Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Easy

19. Give a precise one-sentence definition of the principle of relativity. (Do not use E = mc2.) Ans: The theory of relativity states that all observers must see the universe operating according to the same laws; therefore, the speed of light is constant in all frames of reference. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

20. What does Einstein’s famous E = mc2 formula mean? Ans: This formula is the rest mass equation. It states that all objects have a rest energy, as well as kinetic and potential energy, which is equal to the rest mass of the object times the speed of light

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Chapter 7 squared. Moving objects become more massive than stationary ones. The formula also states that mass and energy can be exchanged. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

21. Name two places where the equivalence of mass and energy has been verified experimentally. Ans: Particle accelerators and nuclear reactors Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Easy

22. If you flipped a coin while going up an escalator, a person observing the motion of the coin would describe the motion as a. a circle. b. a straight line. c. an arc. d. random. e. an ellipse. Ans: c Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium

23. To a ground-based observer, what is the speed of a moving ball tossed backward at 30 km/hour on a train moving 90 km/hr? a. 150 km/hr b. 60 km/hr c. 30 km/hr d. 90 km/hr e. none of the above Ans: b Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium 24. The apple is to Isaac Newton as the _________ is to Albert Einstein. a. orange b. speed of light c. clock

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Chapter 7 d. patent office e. coin toss Ans: c Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium

25. The theory of relativity resolves the paradox between a. Newton’s laws of motion and gravity. b. time dilation and electromagnetism. c. Maxwell’s equations and time dilation. d. Newton’s laws of motion and Maxwell’s equations. e. gravity and time dilation. Ans: d Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium

26. Which of the following appears to be contradicted by the theory of relativity? a. conservation of energy b. the Lorentz factor c. time dilation d. length contraction e. none of the above Ans: a Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium

27. In which direction does the length contraction phenomenon apply? a. toward the center of the object b. along the axis of motion c. perpendicular to the axis of motion d. in all directions simultaneously e. in concentric circles Ans: b Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

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28. How is the mass of an object related to its energy? a. The object’s velocity is equal to the speed of light times the mass divided by the Lorentz number. b. The object’s rest mass is equal to the gravitational constant times the object’s rest mass times the speed of light squared. c. The object’s rest energy is equal to the object’s rest mass multiplied by the gravitational constant. d. The object’s rest mass is equal to the object’s rest energy multiplied by the speed of light squared. e. The object’s rest energy is equal to the object’s rest mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Ans: e Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

29. Gravitational red shift, one prediction of general relativity, a. has been confirmed by experiments using laser light. b. states that light coming from the Earth’s surface to space will appear slightly redder in space than they do on Earth. c. states that light coming to the Earth’s surface from space will appear slightly bluer on Earth than they do in space. d. can be explained using the Doppler effect. e. all of the above Ans: e Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

30. Newton’s laws of motion fail a. when dealing with our everyday world. b. at speeds significantly less than the speed of light. c. if Lorentz’s factor equals 1. d. for objects with mass large enough to warp space. e. when using atomic clocks. Ans: d Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

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31. Pick out the false statement, using relativity principles. a. The fact that mass and energy are equivalent can be verified in a nuclear power plant. b. Relativity states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. c. An object accelerated to the speed of light will appear to contract. d. Einstein’s relativity principles encompass Newton’s laws of motion rather than replace them. e. All the above are true. Ans: b Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

32. According to Einstein’s principle of relativity, the laws of nature a person observes depend on that person’s frame of reference. Ans: False Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium

33. Time measured on a clock is relative to one’s physical surroundings, according to the phenomenon of time dilation. Ans: True Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Medium

34. According to the theory of relativity, laws of nature are all relative to one’s frame of reference. Ans: False Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

35. Einstein demonstrated that moving yardsticks appear to be longer than stationary ones in the direction of motion. Ans: False

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Chapter 7 Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

36. For small velocities, time and distance problems can be solved either by using Newtonian laws of motion or relativity principles. Ans: True Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

37. In Einstein’s universe, objects move because they have been accelerated by a force. Ans: False Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

38. A compressed or stretched spring has a greater mass because it has elastic potential energy. Ans: True Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

39. How are time dilation and length contraction related? Ans: Time dilation and length contraction are both relativity phenomena that have been derived mathematically using the Lorentz factor and have been demonstrated by scientists working in particle physics. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

40. How would Newton and Einstein explain the movement of the solar system around the Sun? Ans: Newton would attribute the planetary motions to gravitational attraction between the bodies in a flat universe; Einstein would state that space warping in the vicinity of the Sun allows planets to follow the curvature of space. Link To: Special Relativity

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41. Describe an Earth-based field of study that must compensate for length contractions. Ans: Physicists who work with particle accelerators inject “bunches” of particles into their equipment. As the particles approach the speed of light, they are observed to contract. This phenomenon must be taken into consideration when planning the experiment. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

42. Why do the predictions of relativity not match up with our everyday experiences? Ans: The predictions of relativity apply to frames of reference moving at velocities much larger than our everyday experiences. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

43. How has Einstein’s theory been misinterpreted to mean, “Everything is relative?" Ans: Relativity references back to a specific frame of reference rather than all frames of reference. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

44. How do Einstein’s theories explain a black hole in space? Ans: Gravity warps space; the mass of a black hole creates a larger warp in space. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium 45. In Star Trek, the starships travel faster than the speed of light. Is this possible? Justify your answer. Ans: According to Einstein this is impossible, since at the speed of light they would turn into an infinite mass. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Medium

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46. Which law or theory did you use to answer the previous multiple-choice question? a. gravity b. theory of relativity c. Maxwell’s equations d. time dilation e. Newton’s laws of motion Ans: e Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Hard

47. In which of the following instances have the predictions of general relativity been confirmed? a. gravitational bending of light b. planetary orbits c. gravitational red shift d. a & c e. a, b & c Ans: e Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

48. Which of these follows from the theory of relativity? a. Mass is relative to one’s frame of reference. b. Time is relative to one’s frame of reference. c. Distance is relative to one’s frame of reference. d. all of the above e. none of the above Ans: d Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

49. Which of the following situations demonstrates an “experience” with the theory of relativity? a. feeling heavier then lighter as an elevator accelerates to the top floor of a building b. sensing that the parked car in which you are sitting is moving backward, when actually an adjacent car is moving forward

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Chapter 7 c. observing that atomic clocks in fast moving aircraft tick more slowly than clocks on the ground d. a & b & c e. Relativity cannot be demonstrated with actual experiences. Ans: d Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Hard

50. Events that appear simultaneous in one frame of reference will also be simultaneous in another frame of reference, according to principles of relativity. Ans: False Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Hard

51. The faster an object travels, the smaller its mass and the easier it is to deflect from its course. Ans: False Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

52. Use the Lorentz factor to show that our intuition about what we observe is correct in common circumstances. Ans: In an equation comparing time observed on moving and stationary clocks, the Lorentz factor, (1-[v/c]2)1/2, appears as a denominator in the fraction in which time observed on a stationary clock is the numerator. In this factor, v equals velocity and c is the speed of light. When the velocity of an object is small, with respect to the speed of light, (as in everyday circumstances), the Lorentz factor is very close to 1, and the times observed on the moving and stationary clocks are nearly equal. Only when velocity approaches the speed of light does the time of the moving clock become much slower. Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Hard

53. Use the central assumption of the theory of relativity to predict what will happen to each of the following as the speed of light is approached: (1) time; (2) distance; (3) mass.

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Ans: The speed of light is a constant in all reference frames; therefore, time, distance and mass are relative to an observer’s frame of reference. If an object is traveling at or near the speed of light, apparent time and distance will approach zero; apparent mass will approach infinity. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

54. How will relativistic travel impact societies in the distant future? Ans: Answers will vary but should include experiencing relativity as travel through space and time. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

55. Review the progress in scientific thought from Galileo and Kepler to Newton and Einstein. How did the latter build on the former? Ans: Galileo and Kepler were contemporaries; first to promote observation over philosophy, which leads to the scientific method, which leads to basing notions on facts rather than philosophy. Newton deduced that laws were universal in scope, and showed the unity. He thought of time and space as absolute; Einstein showed that they were relative based on one’s frame of reference. Einstein improved upon Newton’s description of the universe to include extreme situations of mass and time. Link To: Frames of Reference, Special Relativity, General Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

56. Use one of Einstein’s theories to explain how the Earth is losing mass from radioactivity. Use this same theory to explain how mass can be created artificially in particle accelerators. Ans: As radioactivity converts mass to energy, and eventually is lost into space, the planet loses mass. As the energy slows down, it converts back into mass; subatomic particles can be condensed out of the energy of subatomic particles. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

57. If you were battling space aliens and traveling at relavatistic speeds, you would always meet your enemy either in their future or in their past. Explain how this works.

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Chapter 7 Ans: Since you are both moving at relativistic speeds you would sometimes appear in their past or in their future, but you would never know which one. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

58. Explain how astronomers, when looking into the night sky are always looking into the past. Ans: Because of the time it takes light to reach earth, the light is ‘old’ bringing an ‘old’ image. Link To: Special Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

59. Based on Einstein’s work in special and general relativity, is time travel possible? Ans: Answers will vary but answers should include the notion that time and space are heads and tails of the same coin, so the only way to manipulate time is to manipulate space. Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

60. How would you make a gravitational telescope? Ans: Using mass instead of mirrors you could also bend the light to focus the image. Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard 61. If mass can warp space, what would be the ultimate distortion? Ans: The ultimate warping would be a sphere; therefore mass/energy would never be able to escape, not as in the capture of a black hole, but within a sphere. Link To: General Relativity Difficulty Level: Hard

62. If you were in an airplane with no windows, how could you tell if you were moving? Ans: You can’t feel any motion unless there is an acceleration so you would not know until the plane slowed down or sped up. Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Hard

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63. If the earth is spinning at 25k mph (at the equator), why don’t birds get left behind? Ans: The birds are within a rotating frame of reference. Link To: Frames of Reference Difficulty Level: Hard

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