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Einstein's clock. Astronomy and thought

Einstein's clock. Astronomy and thought

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According to tradition, the Bern tower clock is the one that inspired Albert Einstein to formulate his theory of relativity. Interestingly, it is called the Zytglogge, which means "the bell of time."

Einstein lived in Bern between 1902 and 1909. Every day he passed the clock tower to go to work at the patent office. He wondered if time would pass at the same speed in the tower clock, which remained fixed, which, in his own clock, which moved with him.

This mental experiment led him to the idea that time was not absolute but relative, and that it does not run the same at rest or in motion. In addition, the time varies according to the position of each observer and, what is more surprising, no observer has a privileged position: all observations are true, even if they are contradictory. He concluded that space and time were the same thing. Time contracts or expands, depending on the speed at which we move through space.

The new ideas contravened common sense. They changed the nature of the universe. Newton's laws of gravitation and his concept of the world were no longer valid. Space and time are no longer independent or absolute. Only the speed of light is constant. Our way of seeing time in everyday life is just an illusion.

Again, thinking and all our conception of reality were revolutionized.

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