8 Answers

  1. If the aliens know in which direction the gravitational force is directed, then it is enough to explain along which axes you need to turn 90 degrees so that the direction of gravity is “to the right” and the opposite direction is “to the left”

  2. Provided that we understand each other, I would ask him to describe the environment and that super modern quantum steering wheel of the ship is left, and that thing that can transmit a signal to a neighboring galaxy in a matter of seconds in the quality of 1000000k is right. And why radio communication when it is possible and in telepathy ?

  3. If we assume (since the constraint is not set) that there is already mutual understanding with the alien in the language of mathematics, then we can use the vector product: let the vector A point up, and the vector B point forward, then the vector product AxB is directed to the left, and BxA-to the right.


    I also thought that with an alien, if you know its location and / or its stars, then it is easier to use the relative position of objects in space, the direction of rotation of orbits, etc.To calculate what the starry sky looks like from a particular point in space (at least not very far from Earth). The concepts of “top” and ” bottom “are explained in terms of gravity, and then”if you turn the picture of the starry sky when looking from you to us so that star A is on top and star B is on the bottom, then star B will be on the left, and star D-on the right.”

    I think this will require minimal agreement of concepts (compared to physics or higher mathematics), and these concepts will probably be at the top of the list of agreement in interstellar communication.

  4. If they speak the same language, then there is no need to explain anything, they already know the meaning of the words “right” and “left”, but if through translators, I am sure they will be able to translate.

  5. I think you've heard the answer to this question.

    Exactly the same formulation of the question is found in the famous Feynman lectures on physics. They also have the answer – �during beta decay of cobalt-60, an asymmetric emission of electrons occurs.


    “Listen,” we would say to him, ” make yourself a magnet, wind a wire around it, and run a current through it. Then take a piece of cobalt, cool it to a low temperature. Position the whole device so that the emitted electrons fly from your feet to your head, then the direction of the current in the coil will tell you which side we call right and which side we call left: current enters from the right side and exits from the left.”

    In general, this is quite a beautiful fact. Interestingly, before this discovery, made in 1956, it was believed that all physical phenomena are symmetrical.

    It is also interesting that in the English Wikipedia article on symmetry there is a paragraph about this, but in the Russian Wikipedia – �is not;)

  6. The concepts of “right” and “left” are relative, i.e. they are based on the agreement of people among themselves and are devoid of any physical meaning. Try, for example, explaining to an alien what “clockwise” or “counterclockwise”means.

  7. If humans and extraterrestrials do not share some common behavioral contexts (say, diplomatic relations and trade), then no way, since the meaning of language is determined by its use. Some kind of mutual understanding is possible only under the condition of common behavior. Wittgenstein famously said ,” If a lion could talk, we wouldn't understand it.” Quine wrote about the same thing in Word and Object.

    If there are common behavioral contexts and “language games” with extraterrestrials (that is, they are basically capable of rational communication from our point of view), then I think it will not be difficult to explain – for example, you can describe the coordinate system with the help of mathematics and establish the correspondence of directions.

  8. I came up with this method:

    1. It is necessary to define the concepts of “from yourself” and “on yourself” – quite simply, “from above” and “from below” – through gravitational attraction.

    2. Explain what a solenoid is, and the most difficult part is what an electron is. I think these objects can be explained without using the words “left” and”right”.

    3. Ask for an experiment. It is necessary to position the solenoid horizontally, powering it so that the current goes to us along the upper part of it, and from us along the lower part, then a magnetic field is formed in it (going from left to right). Then you need to put something negatively charged inside the solenoid, such as an electron. It will fly to the right.

    I hope I didn't mess up anything.

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