It's All Relative: Background information when reading When You Reach Me

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When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2009, 208 pages
    Dec 2010, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Pam Watts

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
It's All Relative

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is, at its heart, about frames of reference. If I were in a dark, windowless train with no bumps that was going in one direction at a constant speed, then I would think I was standing still, but my sister on the train platform would see me speeding away from her. According to Einstein, if I then looked out the window, I would have every right to believe, in fact, that the world was speeding away behind me while I stood still. My sister, of course, would also be right that she was standing still. Hence, reality becomes relative to the frame of reference of the observer.

Time, as well, becomes relative to the observer’s frame of reference. This has been proven both mathematically and experimentally. One bizarre outcome of this "relativity" of time is known as "The Twin Paradox:" If I leave my sister behind on that platform while I travel far out through the universe going near the speed of light, I may age forty years in the trip out and back,...

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