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Appendix E: The Absolute Reference Frame Within Special Relativity

The Augustus Barto O'Barr and Lola May Peppers Family

HTML Version 2.0

copyright 1995 by Gerald L. O'Barr


Special Relativity (SR) is simple. It is simple in its mathematics. It is simple in its results. But it is not always simple to understand. In fact, it is my belief that no one, as yet, fully understands relativity. This understanding is important and we will have to understand relativity before we can make any further meaningful progress.

To me, the first thing to understand about SR is that it has very little physics. In fact, it ought to even be said that SR is not physics. We certainly must recognize that relativity does not provide us with all the physics we need to understand it.

Special Relativity is mainly a measurement science. It tells us how to make our measurements. We must work within one or more inertial reference frames. We must use ruler grids within these frames. We must set up local clocks along these grids. We must synchronize these clocks in a particular way. The measurements made with these tools, used in the right way, will then give us the results as predicted by relativity. And what are the results predicted by relativity: The measured lengths of rulers and the measured rates of clocks will change with their relative velocities.

Please note, relativity at no time tells us why any of this is true, or even if any changes actually occur. Relativity does not tell us that dimensions actually change with velocity, or clocks change their rates. In fact, relativity does not state anything about what actually happens. It only tells us what is measured. Since the tools that are used in relativity appear to be able to change in their properties, then the results obtained in measurements using these tools might be a combination of real changes on top of the changes in the tools. To have real physics, we must know both. The physics must know what real changes occur in the thing being measured and the changes in the tools. Just knowing the final readings on changeable tools does not tell us the full story. Again, there is almost no physics in SR. It is only a measurement science. It only tells us final measurement results. It never tells us what actually happens.

Now of course a measurement science is important. No advancement can be made without a valid measurement system. But a measurement system is not necessarily the physics. The physics in SR is really very minimal, and this point should not be unappreciated or underrated.


Well, what is the physics? The physics is as simple as relativity itself. There is an absolute reference frame. In this absolute reference frame, the length, L, of all rulers, in the direction of their velocity, changes with their absolute velocity, v. The ratio of this length, L, with respect to the length at absolute rest, Lo, is:

                       ( 1 - v^2/c^2) ^.5

Here, c is the absolute velocity of light as measured in the absolute frame. The rates of all clocks follow this same ratio.\

This is it. This is all the physics that is needed.

But one might be tempted to say that this is no different than the relativity now taught. But no. This understanding of relativity clearly and directly separates out real changes from that which is measured. At no time is anyone confused as to which clock slows down, and as to which one does not. For the paradox of the twins, there is never a question as to which twin gets old, and why. All questions immediately disappear. There are no more paradoxes for any known problem.

All of this is important, important enough to consider this scary re-introduction of an absolute reference frame.

In this absolute reference frame, any moving inertia reference frame can set up a measurement system of rulers and clocks that will measure exactly what relativity predicts. The speed of all photons, in this moving frame, will be measured to be exactly c. It will do this not because that is the real velocity, but because it will be the measured velocity. It will happen because the rulers and clocks that are being used in this moving frame will have changed sufficiently to exactly cancel out all components of the absolute velocity.

Knowing all this, we immediately see that there are no time problems. No one can go backwards or forward in time. Any of these affects are merely changes in the settings of clocks as they are readjusted to meet simultaneity requirements for certain situations. By keeping tract of real changes verses measured changes, we never see any real loss of time or continuity. for all you space nuts, I am sorry. All you "back in time" travel nuts are left with absolutely nothing.

I am sure that all this is simple enough that everyone should understand it. Still, no one probably will believe it. But it does work. The At theory provides the explanation as to what this absolute frame consists of, and how it allows particles to appear to move through space without hinderance. I encourage all to study the At theory. It also is simple. It merely uses the second set of solutions to the collision equation, where changes in mass can be experienced in a Newtonian way.

This allows the introduction of a new variable, a non-linear variable at that, and with all this, the first introduction of forces in a conservative system. Isn't this all great? How could anyone not want to see all this work?


The absolute frame of reference is not a new subject. Before relativity, and even during the early days of relativity, it was given a great deal of consideration. Today, however, it is no longer considered to be a scientific subject. The Theory of Relativity is assumed to have "answered" this problem in that no absolute reference frame appears to be necessary, and so it is no longer of a scientific concern. Any reference frame appears to be equal to any other reference frame, and so it is felt that there is no longer any meaning to the concept of an absolute reference. This is all true, but it is true only on a mathematical level. On the physical level, there can only be one reference frame upon which all things are controlled or governed

It must be made clear that there was no proof that there was no absolute frame, the situation was only that there was no proof that there was one. At least no proof of the particular type of absolute reference frame for which they were looking. Therefore, to find or assume that there is an absolute reference frame would not really change any known data or scientific experiment if the absolute reference frame perfectly mimic these presently assumed changes in rates of clocks and lengths of rulers.

For some time, some individuals were of a mind to believe that no real changes in lengths of rulers and rates of clocks occurred. They were only "tricks" being played on us. However, I believe that we now have proof that there are real changes that occur.

This information is found in the "paradox of the twins." This "paradox" is now stated to be true, and if true, it becomes a real paradox. It proves, for its particular situation, that velocity is not always totally relative and it proves that real changes occur with clocks, changes which are different for one clock than another even when they have identical, relative velocities. If real changes occur with clocks, then real changes must also occur with rulers. If clocks or rulers are really changing, it becomes imperative that a cause be sought for these changes, not only to account for these changes, but why these changes can be different for clocks that have identical, relative velocities.

To be very clear, the paradox of the twins does not in any way disprove relativity, it in fact proves relativity since it was relativity that predicted this paradox. What the paradox of the twins does is prove that relativity requires an absolute reference frame in order for it to physically work.

To repeat: The normal assumption assumed by most people is that relativity requires all velocity to be totally relative. We now have data that shows that velocity is not always relative for all situations.


What is this paradox? Simply stated, you take two twins who are exactly the same age. One is sent on a very fast trip to a distant point, and as soon as he arrives at this point he returns home. When he returns, he will be biologically younger than the twin who remained at home.

What is the paradox? In special relativity, the biological age, the rate of the "local" clock of a person, must be independent of the motions of all other objects. It is acceptable that if an object moved relative to another, that they might each see the other's clock change in their rates, but if every thing is relative, if their velocities are truly relative, then the changes in rates that they each observe must be identical.

When only two objects are involved, such as would be for two twins, then the relative velocity of one twin will always be the exact same magnitude as the other. This relationship is absolute. Therefore, if velocities are truly relative, and the rates of clocks are dependent only on these relative velocities, then the rates of their clocks cannot deviate under any condition, and their ages can never differ. Yet, the mathematics show that their ages will differ, and this has in fact been found to be true.

Something must give. You cannot continue to say that velocity, and thus time, are totally relative, and yet have twins who do not remain the same years of age.


Historically, this problem has been considered many times. Many claimed that this was not a special relativity problem, and the real answer would be found in General Relativity. Of course, none of these people could explained it by General Relativity. It was only a hope that it would eventually be explained. This was now been fully discredited. Some claimed that the end points, where acceleration is present, would provide the answer.

Again, it has been shown that this provides no solution. Every attempt to explain this paradox has failed. Today it is simply accepted as a paradox and, apparently, not to be understood by man. It is no longer worried about. But we cannot hide our heads in the sand and ignore what is obvious. It is a true paradox: there is something that is amiss in our assumptions or understandings that should be answered.


In the absolute reference frame concept, the answer is clear. If these two twins start out at rest in the absolute reference frame, it is obvious that the twin that made the trip would age less than the one who stayed at absolute rest. But to speak more generally, the two twins can start out in any moving frame. The twin who "remains at home" merely keeps a constant absolute velocity. The twin that moves out to some distant point, may either increase his absolute velocity, or stay the same, or even decrease his absolute velocity, it would totally depend on the original absolute motion of his original reference frame and in the direction and magnitude he takes relative to that original motion.

The point that can be made, however, is that no matter what these original relationships might be, in either the outgoing trip, or in the return trip, in one or the other or both, the twin who "makes the trip," in at least one of these legs of his trip, has to have a faster absolute velocity than the twin that does not make the trip. Any quick mathematical check will show, because of the non-linearity of the clock rate function, that that twin will be younger than the one that did not change his velocity. The absolute "math" is the exact same as the non- absolute math, but now we have intellectual understanding of why it occurs. It is important to make our mathematical facts match with our intellectual understandings.

To restate the logic or proof one more time: In the relativity where velocity is accepted to be purely relative, there are no fundamental explanations why one twin ages differently than the other. The math tells us which twin ages and the math tells us how much, but the "why" does not exist. When we consider an absolute reference, then and only then do we have a full answer. With the absolute reference, we know which twin ages, we know how much it ages, and we know why it is that twin and not the other. The paradox has been totally removed.


There is an absolute reference frame. In hindsight, it is necessary that there is a reference upon which the motions of all photons are based. It is necessary to have a reference upon which the lengths of all rulers are based. It is necessary to have a reference upon which the rates of all clocks are governed. To believe in anything else is to believe in some kind of impossible inter-relationship that occurs by no possible means. It would be mindless to not consider the absolute reference approach.

Restatement of required assumptions:

Let there be an absolute reference frame in which:

  1. All photons, from any and all moving or stationary sources, have the absolute velocity, c.

  2. The lengths of all "rulers," in the direction of their absolute motion, v, contract by a ratio of
                                  2  - 
                                 v   2
                           ( 1 - - )   .


  3. The rates of all clocks are governed by the same ratio factor as the contraction of rulers.

If the above laws were followed, the physics would be exactly the same as in special relativity, both in the absolute frame, and in all inertial frames within it. This assumes. of course, that each inertial frame sets up a ruler grid and uses local clocks and synchronize these clocks as required by the rules of relativity.

Is there anything hard to accept in the above set of assumptions? No! They are essentially the assumptions that we already make. In the absolute frame, we just assign these functions to be governed by one reference frame only. The number of functions and the nature of these function remain identical. Therefore, no real problems are introduced by assuming that an absolute reference exists.

In terms of the math, the above equations are not the only possible choices, but so far the results of the tests that have been made do not yet suggest changing any of these original choices.

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