Clocks and Foot Rulesby@bertrandrussell

Clocks and Foot Rules

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Until the advent of the special theory of relativity, no one had thought that there could be any ambiguity in the statement that two events in different places happened at the same time. It might be admitted that, if the places were very far apart, there might be difficulty in finding out for certain whether the events were simultaneous, but every one thought the meaning of the question perfectly definite. It turned out, however, that this was a mistake. Two events in distant places may appear simultaneous to one observer who has taken all due precautions to insure accuracy (and, in particular, has allowed for the velocity of light), while another equally careful observer may judge that the first event preceded the second, and still another may judge that the second preceded the first.
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