The Light Clock Simulation



The classic "light clock" is simulated. A monochromatic light beam is bouncing up and down in a tube with a mirror at both ends. The mirrors are perfect, so the light beam will keep bouncing forever. A detector at both ends of the tube detects the front of the beam, and increments a counter. Two views of the light clock are shown: one where the light clock is stationary, the "static frame", and one where the light clock is moving, the "moving frame". In the moving frame are the paths of the centre of the planes of zero phase shown.


The time unit is the time it takes for the light to traverse the length of the tube. The frame time is shown in these units. A display box is below the tube, where the number of counts is shown. This number is the proper time of the light clock in said units, but the resolution is obviously one unit.



Choice box "Theory":
     Select the theory of physics to simulate: the "Special Theory of Relativity", or "Ritz Emission Theory".

Note that when the former is selected, the planes of equal phase will always be perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the light.


Button "Start/Pause/Resume":
Start, pause or resume the run

Button "Reset":
Abort a run, and make ready for a new.


Scrollbar "Horizontal speed":
        Choose the horizontal speed of the moving frame, in fractions of the speed of light c.


You can run the simulation either as an Applet or as an Application, se how here

Run as Applet

Download Application

Enjoy !

Best regards Paul B. Andersen