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458 km/s, relative to all frames of reference, a fact that was confirmed experimentally for light. This conclusion makes no sense in the Newtonian picture. How can something travel at the same speed relative to two frames of reference that are in relative motion? ” Einstein showed that this was entirely incorrect. ” It is intimately tied with space and is affected by the motion of observers. The result is relativistic spacetime, which is beyond the scope of this book. It is, however, interesting to point out that Einstein’s spacetime, like Newton’s absolute space is something.

The almost spiritual nature of this medium is apparent. Here we have an invisible thing that cannot be seen or sensed in any way and yet it has a profound effect on our every day experiences since it determines the acceleration upon which the physical laws of motion depend. Newton was strongly criticized for this aspect of his work by philosophers of science. For example, Ernst Mach stated: “With respect to the monstrous conceptions of absolute space and absolute time I can retract nothing. Here I have only shown more clearly than hitherto that Newton indeed spoke much about these things, but throughout made no serious application of them” [Mac60]; or according to Hans Reichenbach: “Newton begins with precisely formulated empirical statements, but adds a mystical philosophical superstructure .

The unwinding rope will cause the bucket to begin spinning. Initially, the water will remain still even though the bucket is spinning, but then slowly due to the friction between the walls of the bucket and the water, the water will begin to spin as well until it is rotating in unison with the bucket. When the 3 The story of this experiment and how it inspired later thinkers such as Ernst Mach and Albert Einstein is eloquently told in Brian Greene’s popular science book on modern physics [Gre04].

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