• Who am I?

    I am Qrystal; or at least, that's my dot-name! Har har. (My name is really Crystal, but that's not as internet-searchable; hence, switching the C for the little-used letter Q.)

    I am here because I enjoy writing. I do this mostly for myself, but I also have a passion for helping others learn things from the things I write. Now that I am done my Ph.D. in Physics, I am stepping away from academic research so that I can indulge in some creative ways to share my knowledge and inspire the appreciation of scientific thinking in others. I am also working as a tutor, which is one of the jobs I've most enjoyed doing in my life so far.

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  • Boldly trying to explain spacetime

    Posted by Qrystal on February 20, 2009 at 2:12.
    Category: Concepts. Tags: light, physics, relativity, space, spacetime, teaching, time.

    There seems to be some confusion [among the students in my Physics and Society class] about spacetime, which is completely understandable because it’s difficult to visualize. I’m going to review some of the main ideas of it here, hopefully clearing up some confusion along the way.

    The main quote many people gave in their summaries [of the lecture on Special Relativity] is that “space and time are no longer separate”. But what does this mean?

    This does NOT mean that space and time are the same thing: each observer can always tell the difference between space and time, within each one’s own inertial frame!

    So although the idea of spacetime seems weird compared to our normal intuitive way of looking at things, keep in mind that there is a bigger framework that allows the two parts to be mixed together. The only time that this bigger framework is needed is:

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