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  • Writer's pictureMartin Scarratt

How to fit a ladder in your handbag (Relativity Ch2: The Pole-Barn Paradox)

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Length Contraction, Simultaneity and the Pole-Barn Paradox


In the first article on Relativity I looked at time dilation and the Twin Paradox. There is another popular paradox that muddles the mind, called the pole-barn paradox. In this, the second relativity article, I shall take a detailed look at what this paradox is, how it works and why it isn't really a paradox after all. On the way I'll explain length contraction and issues with simultaneity (ie disagreements about which of two events happened first). If you havent read the first article on the twin paradox I recommend you do that first, as this one relies on the fact that you understand time dilation and how to use it.


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