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Flying Scotsman express 2547 Doncaster CJ Allen Steel Highway 1928Special Relativity: If you're stood on a pavement watching a train go by and somebody on the train is throwing a ball, the speed of the ball is its speed plus the speed of the train, but, if you are on the train watching the ball you see it travelling at just its speed. If the ball changes to a torchlight the light from the torch is the same whether you are on the train or the pavement because we cannot travel faster than the speed of light.

What’s so special about special relativity and can we use it to stay younger for longer? That’s the intriguing question posed in the last of the free Edmund Lectures at the University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College on Wednesday 13 June at 6pm.

This highly successful and popular series will conclude with a lecture from Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright from the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

Explaining special relativity Dr Jardine-Wright said; “To account for situations where we need to consider the speed of light, for example in astronomy, we need to modify our understanding.”

She gives an example of being stood on a pavement watching a train go by and somebody on the train is throwing a ball, the speed of the ball is its speed plus the speed of the train, but, if you are on the train watching the ball you see it travelling at just its speed.

If the ball changes to a torchlight the light from the torch is the same whether you are on the train or the pavement because we cannot travel faster than the speed of light.

Special relativity is the physical difference between those two examples of how we take account of this effect and also the effects as a consequence.

Tegan Locke, head of higher education said: “We are delighted that this first series of Edmund Lectures has been a huge success which the community has embraced. We are already planning an exciting variety of subjects for the next academic year and hope this will become a long term regular event. “