For over a century people have expressed concerns that relativity theory is illogical in some ways. One of the illogical consequences of the theory is demonstrated by the so-called Twins (or Clocks) Paradox. Over the years, some proponents of relativity claimed that this paradox is not a consequence of relativity theory because special relativity applies only to constant velocity reference frames and the traditional explanation of the paradox involves accelerations. Traditionally, one twin or clock travels outbound and then back inbound relative to the non-traveling twin or clock, and this requires accelerations.

The following describes a conductible experiment that avoids accelerations, and it shows that relativity theory results in virtual or false observations that must be wrong because they disagree with the outcome of the experiment. The experiment does not need to be conducted to be confident of the outcome because the quantum medium view (a.k.a. qm view) and relativity theory predict the same experimental results. Therefore, the predicted outcome of the experiment and actual outcome are very likely to be in close agreement. In contrast to relativity theory, the qm view explains physical causes for the experimental results and it does not result in paradoxical predictions and observations.

Experiment procedure
Atomic clock, B, and an observer with B are located atop a high mountain (e.g. 6000 m), and they are moving through the cosmos with an absolute velocity, vBa, due to the motions of Earth, sun, galaxy, etc. Traveling atomic clock, E, and an observer are aboard a jet aircraft moving eastward at a constant altitude (e.g. 8000 m above MSL) along a circle around Earth and with a constant speed of 600 m/s or 2160 km/hr or Mach 1.76 relative to clock B, which is under E's flight path.

When E is directly above B, E sends a radio and/or laser signal to B, and when the signal is received, clocks B and E are automatically set to zero seconds, as shown. Clock E is set to zero seconds at the known time duration after sending the signal to B. This time duration depends on the signal travel distance, which is determined via radio/laser ranging. For example, if E determines that B is 1982.16 m away when E sends the signal, then E will wait 6607.2 ns (nanoseconds) before automatically setting to zero. (For convenience, the 299 792 458 m/s speed of light, c, is rounded to 3E+8 m/s for calculations.)

Clock E continues in the same direction and at about the same elevation above MSL for about 750 km or 1250 s when it passes close to atomic clock W aboard a second jet aircraft (blue) moving westward along approximately the same path E is following and with the same 600 m/s observed speed relative to B. As E and W pass, E transmits its time to W via radio/laser signals. When this time is received, clock W is set to this time plus the signal travel time duration. Therefore, immediately after clock W is set, the two clocks are very close to being absolutely synchronized. This transfer of time between E and W has the effect of reversing the direction of clock travel without accelerations.

About 1250 s later, as clock W passes directly over B, W transmits its arrival time to B. When B receives this clock W arrival time, B automatically adds the transmission time duration to get the current time on W, which is compared with the current time on B. According to classical physics (unmodified for quantum medium effects), the current time on clock B should be the same as the current time on clock W except for the small errors that occur during the transfers of time between the clocks.

Explanations and predictions of the qm view and relativity theory
The qm view explains why clock W time is about 4.5 ns behind clock B time. The explanation of the physical causes is not simple, and it involves two facts. First, the rate at which energy can be exchanged in any system (and the resulting rate of atomic clocks) depends on the system's speed through the quantum medium. Second, a round trip by any system always causes the system to age less than an identical system that does not make the round trip, all other factors affecting aging (e.g. proximity to massive bodies) being equal.

All other factors affecting E, W, and B are not equal. Clocks E and W are at a higher elevation than B, which would cause them to evolve slightly faster than B if they all had the same speed through the quantum medium. An atomic clock near Earth will run faster by about 1.08E−16 s/s for every 1 m of elevation increase. Therefore, if clocks E and W are about 2000 m above clock B during the experiment, the combined times on E and W will be increased relative to B by about 0.5 ns during the 2500 seconds between E passing B and W passing B.

The Equations page contains the simple equations and rationale for calculating the elapsed seconds on the three clocks during the experiment. If you do the calculations, you will find that the combined elapsed seconds on clocks E and W due to their absolute velocities during their respective legs of the east-west round trip are 5 ns less than the elapsed time on clock B. The Equations page also explains in greater detail why the higher elevation of E and W causes their combined elapsed times to be about .5 ns more than if they were flying at B's elevation. The net result of the 5 ns combined slowing of E and W (due to their absolute velocities) and their combined .5 ns gain (due to their higher elevation) is the 4.5 ns slowing relative to B, as shown in the above figure.

The calculated difference between B time and W time when W arrives at B is independent of the absolute velocity of B, vBa, as you can verify by trying different values for vBa. The equations specify what observers B, E, and W will predict and observe during the experiment. The predictions and observations will depend on whether an observer is using the qm view equations (where the velocities of B, E, and W are absolute velocities), or the relativity theory equations (where the velocities are observed, virtual relative velocities based on assuming light speed, c).

Relativity theory causes contradictory and incorrect predictions and observations as follows. On one hand, observer B predicts and observes clocks E and W advancing less than clock B during the experiment. On the other hand, observers E and W both predict and observe their clock advancing more than clock B during the experiment. Therefore, we know from the above experimental results that observer E and/or observer W make incorrect predictions and observations. We also know that sound scientific theories should not cause incorrect predictions and observations.

The contradictory observations and predictions that are inherent in relativity theory are explained by the qm view. It distinguishes between real changes in clock rates caused by changes in the speeds of clocks through the qm and virtual changes in clock rates caused by changes in the speeds of observers through the qm. Relativity theory obscures these two different causes of observed changes in clock rates.

If observers B, E, and W assume that the law of constant light speed, c, and relativity theory are correct, they will all disagree on the clock rates of all the clocks during the experiment. Due to their different speeds through the quantum medium, they will all predict and observe different virtual phenomena during the experiment. But if the observers understand the qm view and agree on an estimated vBa, all their predictions and observations will agree exactly with one another and with the results of the experiment. Is this not evidence that the qm view is a realistic representation of nature?

An objective of the above discussion of a conductible clock paradox experiment and other information on this website is to encourage people to compare the characteristics of the qm view and relativity theory and determine for themselves which theory is the more plausible representation of nature.

 1 For a more extensive discussion of the Twins Paradox and a typical attempt to dismiss it, see the Modern Physics Fallacies page. 2 In fact, relativity theory results in multiple, conflicting predictions and observations by the observers in the experiment. Some of the observations and predictions agree with the outcome of the experiment, and some do not. The experiment is to investigate why. 3 The General Dynamics F-111 and the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle can fly at Mach 2.5. 4 Assuming that the transfer of time from one clock to another is likely to be in error by .3 ns. 5 An exact 1250 s travel time between the transfers of times is not important and the ±1 s range only indicates what might be expected. 6 These two consequences of the quantum medium are explained in the two "Introduction..." videos and elsewhere on the qm view website.