Special Relativity 12 - Einstein's Rotating Disk Thought Experiment

Recording Details

PIRSA Number: 


Introduction to Einstein's famous rotating disk thought experiment, which he used to help him understand the true nature of gravity.
Learning Outcomes:

• Understanding that an observer placed at the edge of a rotating disk (or inside a rotating cylinder) experiences an artificial gravitational field related to his centripetal acceleration.

• Appreciating the ways in which this artificial gravitational field exactly mimics the real gravitational field we experience near the Earth's surface.
• How Einstein realized Newton's model of gravity must be wrong: it does not correctly predict the observed motions of the planets, and it does not respect the speed limit of the universe.