• Wolfgang Fobo

Einstein and me

Hanging around at home during the Covid pandemia, not being able to live my passion, which is traveling, I keep my mind busy with learning languages and also to try to get a grasp of astrophysics, watching YouTube videos. Not that I understand a lot, but at least I get a feeling for the wonders of the world.

So, in the course of browsing through YouTube for lectures in astrophysics, I ended up in a very informative and understandable lecture of Brian Greene, who explained the time dilatation. In short, this theory (part of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity) states that the faster you are on the move, the slower the time will pass for you. Put to the extreme, if you would travel close to speed of light for a certain time, then coming back to earth, much more time would have passed on mother earth.

That struck my curiosity. As a frequent flyer, over the course of my more than 20 years flying around the world on business, I figured that adding up all my flight time in the past 20 years, I must have spent more than 1 year in the air, at a speed of around 250 m/sec. Using the formula that Einstein developed (very simple, you just need to know how the theorem of Pythagoras works), the formula delivers that my accumulated time „savings“ up in the air was around the 11th part of one millionth of a second! This is what I have aged less than the „earthlings“ down there!

Incredible, no? (With humility I accept lectures should I have made a mistake in calculation, or assumption).

On the other side of the beam balance of these „savings“ might be the health implications of perhaps 400 jet lags that my body had to digest, so far, knock on wood, without known consequences of my health.

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