Wonder Project

(The following is a project on a question that I wondered about)

What is time dilation?

Time dilation was predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of special relativity. Time dilation is an effect of special relativity that causes time to move at slower speeds for an object that is moving at high speeds. Einstein’s theory states 3 postulates (rules) relating to time dilation; 1 “the measured length of time between two events depends upon the frame of reference of the observer.”, 2 “the speed of light is a constant and never changes”, and 3 “the laws of physics must be identical for all observers who are either stationary or in constant motion.”

The first postulate means that time can appear slower for moving objects. One example of the first postulate is: The time between a clock changing from 1:00 to 2:00. This is different depending on the frame of reference. Someone standing still will measure the proper time between the clock changing from 1:00 to 2:00; 1 hour. Where as someone moving will measure the time of the clock changing from 1:00 to 2:00 to be longer. Meaning that in the space they are in, time is moving slower for them and faster for the other person. The second postulate means that even if you are experiencing time moving slower because of time dilation you and someone that is stationary will both measure the speed of light to be the same speed. Lastly The third postulate looks something like this example: if you were sitting in a windowless vehicle moving at a constant speed you will have no way of telling if you’re moving or not Because all physics experiments would turn out the same if the vehicle was moving at a constant speed or if it was not moving at all.

(Here is a video with more information on time dilation)

The twin paradox is a thought experiment that involves special relativity. In this thought experiment one twin, twin A stays on earth and the other twin, twin B rides a space ship away from earth and back close to the speed of light. Time on twin B’s watch moves slower than twin A’s watch because of time dilation. When B returns A has aged quite a bit and B has aged very little. One rule of special relativity that explains this is: “time dilation should be symmetrical (relativity of uniform motion)” Neither A or B is in a privileged frame of reference so A sees B move so B’s clock should slow but, B travels at a constant speed so from B’s perspective A is moving away so A must be slower. So how is A older when B gets back? A ages because A and B were not in constant motion relative to each other. B’s ship turns around midway to go back to earth. This introduces a 3rd reference frame which breaks the time symmetry. There’s gap in B’s timeline which A doesn’t see as B changes direction and changes reference frames at the midway point. This gap is why A is older when B returns to Earth.

(Here is a video with more information on the twin paradox)

The effects of special relativity aren’t really a big deal since us humans can only move at slow speeds. People moving high speeds like the people in the international space station experience time a bit slower. If you spent some time in the space station, when you return to earth you would be younger than you would have been if you had stayed on earth. The bad news in you would only be younger by a few milliseconds (1/1,000ths of a second). Peggy Whitson has the longest time dilation out of any woman. She is a whopping 0.0092 seconds younger! To do this she spent 377 days orbiting earth. Coming in first place for longest time dilation ever is Sergei K. Krikalov with a time dilation of 0.02 seconds! He got this from 803 days orbiting earth.

So in conclusion time travel is possible if you have a super fast space ship but, we don’t have that yet so we cannot time travel into the far future but, we can time travel a few milliseconds into the future. I’m happy I was able to learn about this topic that I have had on my mind ever since watching the interstellar move. I wondered why time in that movie was all messed up with some astronauts having aged quite a bit, while others only having aged a day but now I understand. It was because of time dilation. Now that I think about it time dilation was about the only scientific thing about that movie. Thanks for giving me the time to research about a topic that I’m interested in Mrs. Jackson. I’ve really learned a lot from this project.


• “Time dilation.” World of Physics, Gale, 2001. Science in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2434500533/SCIC?u=43riss&xid=02e16fb5. Accessed 7 Feb. 2018.

• Szokan, Nancy. “A benefit of space travel: It makes you younger.” Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2014. Science in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A392963907/SCIC?u=43riss&xid=a8a8e353. Accessed 7 Feb. 2018.

• “Twin paradox.” World of Physics, Gale, 2001. Science in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2434500543/SCIC?u=43riss&xid=16e94ab8. Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.

Information fluency reflection

1. What questions did you need to research in order to research your topic?

The first question I came up with was: “why is time different on other planets” but, this question was a bit too broad so I started googling things relaying my topic. After I wile I realized that my question was a very hard to answer question so I asked Mrs. Jackson about in class and she recommended I do the project on time dilation and the twin paradox instead. So I searched up questions about the twin theory and time dilation.

2. What new or familiar digital tools did you try to use as you worked through this project?

I used Google and Youtube to get some background info, Pages to write down my sources and notes, EasyBib to write a bibliography and Edublogs to post my project. These were familiar digital tools. To get the information that I used in the project I used some new tools: Destiny Discover and Gale Engaged Learning.

3. What was the process you used to investigate the topic?

To investigate the topic, I first used Google and Youtube to learn some background information on my project. Second, I used Destiny Discover and Gale Engaged Learning to get some reliable information on the topic. Third, I used Pages to make some notes and Lastly I put my notes together into full sentences and paragraphs.

4. How did you verify and cite the information you found?

I verified the information I found because it was on a reputable site: Gale Engaged Learning and it had all the authors publishing dates and companies all laid out for me to see. (Bad sites don’t do this.) To cite my information I used an easy and free bibliography making site: EasyBib. I just had to write in all the information and EasyBib made a bibliography for me.

5. How did the process of completing this challenge go? What could you have done better?

The process to complete this challenge was kind of a bumpy road. I found lots of info on gale engaged learning but most of it was too complex to understand. Eventually I found some easier to understand info and took some notes. The second hard part was really putting my newly learned info into my own words. This was hard because there was a lot of information and I had to make easy to understand for my classmates. I think next time I couldn’t do better I really put a lot of my hard work into this project because I was passionate about what I was learning.


5 thoughts on “Wonder Project

  1. I think your question is a very hard but also good question because its hard to find an answer. I also like how you chose something that no one else in this class either did not know or know very little about. Overall good job.

  2. That’s actually pretty interesting . I thought that the twin going to space and coming back being younger than his twin was really weird but really cool at the same time

  3. Thanks for your science wonder post. I appreciate how you have successfully asked and answered good questions and acquired and analyzed key information. I like the media you included as it gives a great picture of your wonder topic. Great work citing your sources with embedded links.

  4. I’m so glad you stuck with this challenging topic Liam! Your ability to so clearly explain such a difficult concept demonstrates a very good understanding of time dilation. I’m glad you enjoyed the project so much; I am loving reading what you all have learned!

  5. This is a very challenging topic Liam. Good work challenging yourself like this. You can explore the boundaries of how you define yourself, and, the boundaries of space-time at the same time. I find that topics like this only open more questions than answers, but, that that is a good thing. I hope you find it the same way.

Leave a Reply to Sean Byrne Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.