Foundations of Physics

, Volume 10, Issue 3–4, pp 345–351 | Cite as

The light clock: Error and implications

  • Richard Schlegel
Article

Abstract

The light clock (a photon undergoing successive reflections between two particle mirrors a fixed distance apart) has commonly been used as a theoretical confirmation of the special-relativistic slowing of clock rates. In order to obtain that result one must describe the clock photon in a system moving relatively to the clock. However, contradictory frequency transformations for the photon, as observed from the mirrors, are then predicted by relatively moving observers. A correct and consistent analysis utilizes the Lorentz-invariant relative velocity and distance between the mirrors. An invariant time period is also then involved; a parallel is drawn between it and the invariance of cosmic time for internal processes in distant systems. Considering that space-time and momentum-energy are described by conjugate 4-vectors, it is conjectured that a time transformation occurs only in association with a transformation of energy.

Keywords

Reflection Relative Velocity Internal Process Frequency Transformation Fixed Distance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Schlegel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

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