Pole and Barn Paradox

Initializing live version
Download to Desktop

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Interact on desktop, mobile and cloud with the free Wolfram Player or other Wolfram Language products.

This Demonstration shows spacetime diagrams and illustrations for the pole and barn paradox. Flashes are set to go off as soon as the right edge of the pole is inside the rightmost edge of the barn. In the barn's frame, the pole is shorter than the barn, and both sides of the pole are within the barn when the flashes go off. In the pole's frame, the barn is shorter than the pole, and when the edge of the pole reaches the rightmost edge of the barn, only one flash goes off—the next appears to come at a later time, after the back edge has entered the barn.

Contributed by: Lauren Cooper (June 2020)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



This Demonstration was created as an Introduction to Special Relativity final project during Independent Activities Period 2020 under the instruction of Professor Markus Klute at MIT.

Feedback (field required)
Email (field required) Name
Occupation Organization
Note: Your message & contact information may be shared with the author of any specific Demonstration for which you give feedback.