Porcelain sculpture, under glaze painted and glazed
From the exhibition A Season for Everything – a Journey Through Time and Space (Gardiner Museum, Toronto)
This piece in the story represents Einstein’s most famous thought experiment about lightning strikes as seen from a moving train that shows how two observers can understand space and time in different ways. To an observer watching the train as it passes, the lightning strikes at each end of the train occur simultaneously.
But to an observer on the train, from their perspective, the light from the two lightning strikes also has to travel equal distances, and they will measure the speed of light to be the same in either direction. But because the train is moving, the light coming from the lightning in the rear has to travel farther to catch up, so it reaches them a few instants later than the light coming from the front. Since the light pulses arrived at different times, one can only conclude the strikes were notsimultaneous - that the one in front actually happened first. In short, Einstein realized, simultaneity is what’s relative.
55 x 30 x 25 cm
Please note, this work is currently on display at the Gardiner Museum until July 2018
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