A semi-humorous song about Einstein's special relativity (travel near the speed of light) and general relativity (strong gravity). Written for science students but fun for all sentient beings in the cosmos!
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Charts #2 in subgenre today
Previous peak charts position #5
2001 by Alan Marscher
March 17, 2008
Story behind the song
The "gamma" referred to is the Lorentz factor, which measures how strong the effects of special relativity are. For example, at a speed of 98% light speed, the Lorentz factor is 5, so distances in the forward direction are 5 times shorter than if your space ship were at rest. And people/beings on planets will measure your time to pass 5 times more slowly than theirs. So, if you can go places almost as fast as light, you won't age as much as your friends on earth.
1. Is this high or low? It's just comparative
Is it fast or slow? It's simply relative
The distance to another star is not always the same
Even the passage of time depends on your reference frame
2. Is it energy or mass? Well, E = mc-squared.
And if it goes really fast, put a gamma in there
This is the principle behind all bombs nuclear
It even describes why each star shines from reactions at the core
Well, Einstein figured all this out, replaced ideas from the past
At first no one else knew what it was about
'Cause they'd never gone so fast
As 98% the speed of light, Lorentz factor of 5
Accelerate into the night, and if you can survive . . .
Your friends on Earth will not [rot]
3. Do you want to take a trip, zip 'round the Galaxy
Hop in my super spaceship, accelerate at 2g
We'll travel around together, visit exotic worlds
Nothing lasts forever, but we'll have time for a grand tour
General Relativity bends my mind, just as mass does space
How does a black hole slow down time as viewed from a distant place?
Gravitational redshift . . . event horizon . . . infinite Doppler shift . . . I'm falling iiiiiinnnnn