The twin paradox: the role of acceleration

J. Gamboa, F. Mendez, M. B. Paranjape, Benoit Sirois
The twin paradox, which evokes from the the idea that two twins may age differently because of their relative motion, has been studied and explained ever since it was first described in 1906, the year after special relativity was invented. The question can be asked: “Is there anything more to say?” It seems evident that acceleration has a role to play, however this role has largely been brushed aside since it is not required in calculating, in a preferred reference frame, the relative age difference of the twins. Indeed, if one tries to calculate the age difference from the point of the view of the twin that undergoes the acceleration, then the role of the acceleration is crucial and cannot be dismissed. In the resolution of the twin paradox, the role of the acceleration has been denigrated to the extent that it has been treated as a red-herring. This is a mistake and shows a clear misunderstanding of the twin paradox.

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