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Q & A: doing chemistry via time dilation

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Most recent answer: 06/09/2011
Q:
Elements beyond Uranium are very unstable and most of them has an half-life less than a second. That makes them difficult to study their chemical properties. However, if we accelerate them, say at 99.9999999% of c, time dilation ratio is about 22,361. So if an element has an half-life of 1 second, at that velocity it will last 22,361 seconds in our inertial frame (relative to the moving particle). That would give us enough time to study the particle chemical properties wouldn't it?
- Anonymous
A:
Yes, the time dilation is real. You'd have to get all of the constituents of the chemical reaction moving together, however, so that in their frame things would look like normal chemistry. I won't say it's impossible, but don't expect to read this story in the next Science.

Mike W.

(published on 06/09/2011)

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