A Misconception Regarding the Einstein Equivalence Principle and a Possible Cure Using the Twin Paradox

Pepino, Ron A.
Mabile, Risley W.
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Physics Teacher
It has long been suspected by general relativists that physicists who do not specialize in general relativity (GR) believe that special relativity (SR) is incapable of modeling dynamics within accelerated reference frames. Consequently, many physicists may conclude that certain phenomena, such as time dilation due to acceleration, can only be described with GR. The fact of the matter is, as long as spacetime is flat, SR is fully capable of describing the dynamics of accelerated reference frames. In the classic textbook Gravitation, the authors state that "special relativity was developed precisely to predict the physics of accelerated objects." To quote Sean Carroll in his textbook Spacetime and Geometry, "The notion of acceleration in special relativity has a bad reputation, for no good reason." Finally, in a quote that drives the main point of this article home, the late general relativist Alfred Schild once said, "A good many believe that [the twin] paradox can only be resolved by the general theory of relativity. They find great comfort in this because they don't know any general relativity." [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Physics Teacher is the property of American Institute of Physics and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Pepino, R. A., & Mabile, R. W. (2023). A Misconception Regarding the Einstein Equivalence Principle and a Possible Cure Using the Twin Paradox. Physics Teacher, 61(2), 118–121. https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0075153