World Science Scholars

32.3 The Pole in the Barn Paradox

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    • Consider a version of the Pole-in-the-Barn ‘paradox’ in which a bundle of dynamite is hooked up to explode if the pole fits inside the barn. Does this complicate the proposed resolution? Do we now have to deal with a more urgent paradox in which observers at rest with respect to the barn say it’s been blown to pieces while those at rest with respect to the pole say it hasn’t?

    • This is actually a scenario I have a hard time to understand. Let’s consider the case used in this section’s problems where the lengths at rest are 10 feet for the barn and 15 feet for the pole and the relative speed 12/13 the speed of light. Each team arrives at a different conclusion as to whether the pole fits or not in the barn. However, as they must agree on events occurring or not, explosion or no explosion, how can they reconcile? Is it that each team has to compute a correction to consider what happens when both the barn and the pole are at rest? But then, each team must be living in a transformed world and must always make corrections to find what the motionless world is. Patrick

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