3
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2answers
134 views

Handedness of Reference Frames?

I am developing a new derivation of the Lorentz transformation which I think and hope is more attractive to students than those I have seen in currently available texts. I am carefully defining and ...
12
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4answers
1k views

What problems with Electromagnetism led Einstein to the Special Theory of Relativity?

I have often heard it said that several problems in the theory of electromagnetism as described by Maxwell's equations led Einstein to his theory of Special Relativity. What exactly were these ...
1
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2answers
91 views

Inertial frames

I'm just starting my study of relativity, and I have a rough understanding of the connection between inertial frames, newton's laws, and galilean transformations, but I'd probably benefit more if ...
10
votes
2answers
201 views

Understanding the “$\pi$” of a rotating disk

Let us say you are in an inertial reference frame with a circular planar disk. If you take your meter measuring rods (or perhaps tape measure) you can find the diameter and circumference of the disk. ...
3
votes
2answers
98 views

Inertial Frames in Special Relativity

According to the postulates of special relativity, all inertial frames are equal in all respects. Then how does it follow from this, that the space is isotropic and homogenous for an inertial frame ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Does action really have to be Lorentz-invariant in SR?

From Landau & Lifshitz The Classical Theory Of Fields it is said: To determine the action integral for a free material particle (a particle not under the influence of any external force), we ...
4
votes
3answers
331 views

Does the Relativity Principle of Special Relativity imply homogeneity and isotropy of all the reference frames?

In Rindler's book: Relativity, Special, General and Cosmological, is stated on page 40 that the Relativity Principle (RP), when applied to just one Inertial Frame (IF), guarantees the homogeneity and ...
0
votes
1answer
167 views

What is the significance of Einsteins postulate on speed of light?

Einstein postulated that the speed of light in free space is the same for all observers, regardless of their motion relative to the light source, where we may think of an observer as an imaginary ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

Lorentz Transformation

I have specific questions about Lorentz transformations specifically about length contraction. Why does length contraction only occur in the direction of travel, (not in all directions) when ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

From the Poincare group to Minkowski space

In special relativity one assume that spacetime can be locally described by 4 coordinates, so it makes sense to model it as a 4-dimensional manifold. I had the impression that it is assumed that ...
1
vote
0answers
303 views

The definition of Lorentz transformation

I know that the Lorentz transformation, when two frames $\mathcal{S}$ and $\mathcal{S}'$ are in standard configuration (the axes are all parallel to their counterparts in the other inertial frame) is ...
0
votes
2answers
133 views

How big is an inertial frame?

How big is an inertial frame? Consider a huge rod which is rotating about a fixed point in a plane, its length is 1 light year. Thus light from its end closer to the fixed point to the end farther ...
0
votes
2answers
252 views

Inertial Frames of Reference - Description of an Inertial Frame of Reference

An inertial frame of reference is described as being a frame of reference in which the first law of Newton (the law of inertia) holds. This means that all events as described with respect to this ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

Why does isotropy principle require existence of inertial transformation when axes are reversed?

Assuming one spatial and one termporal dimension, let's assume an intertial transformation $A(v)$ as follows: $$ \begin{pmatrix} t' \\ x' \\ \end{pmatrix} = A(v) \begin{pmatrix} t \\ x \\ ...
12
votes
5answers
870 views

The definition of an inertial reference frame in Einstein's relativity

I'm reading Sean Carroll's book on general relativity, and I have a question about the definition of an inertial reference frame. In the first chapter that's dedicated to special relativity, the ...
1
vote
1answer
167 views

Accelerating expansion of universe - entire universe a non-inertial frame of reference?

If the expansion of the universe is accelerating, doesn't that mean that the entire universe is a non-inertial frame of reference? And if so, what implications does this have (if any)?
2
votes
1answer
84 views

Is it best to look at light as a particle when trying to understand special relativity?

So my course about special relativity explains time dilation using a moving train, where one sends up (i.e. perpendicular to the direction of movement) a light pulse which gets reflected etc. (a ...
0
votes
1answer
206 views

Galileo's dictum and how light cannot violate it

Okay. So I've been told that the speed of light is constant and cannot violate Galileo's dictum, but even if it weren't constant (in a vacuum), how would it violate it anyway? Say you are on a train ...
1
vote
2answers
591 views

Using Lorentz Invariance of Charge To Calculate Current Density

I'm attempting a problem from Zwiebach: A First Course in String Theory and am completely stuck. Could anyone give me a hint? The problem is as follows. Consider $S$, $S'$ two Lorentz frames with ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the speed of light vary in noninertial frames?

The speed of light is the same in all inertial frames. Does it change from a non-inertial frame to another? Can it be zero? If it is not constant in non-inertial frames, is it still bounded from ...
4
votes
3answers
177 views

In what subfields and how far can the naive limit $c\rightarrow\infty$ of special relativity be carried?

Even if many interesting similarities between the classical and the quantum mechanical framework have been worked out, e.g. in the subject of deformation quantization, in general, there are some ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is acceleration relative?

A while back in my Dynamics & Relativity lectures my lecturer mentioned that an object need not be accelerating relative to anything - he said it makes sense for an object to just be accelerating. ...
3
votes
5answers
180 views

Will a warm body naturally slowdown?

Suppose a warm body moving in an empty space with high speed. The body emits radiation based on its temperature. The protons emitted forwards of the body will have higher energy due to Doppler shift ...
-3
votes
2answers
231 views

Why is $c$ considered as the speed of the photons?

Maxwell equations brought $\ c_{o}=\frac{1}{\sqrt{\mu_{o}\varepsilon_{o}}}\ $. Since this is a constant, it made all physicists at that time wonder where was the frame of reference? They ended up with ...
-2
votes
2answers
151 views

frames of reference [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Help Me Gain an Intuitive Understanding of Lorentz Contraction Frames k and k' are inertial frames. Frame k' is moving at a velocity of magnitude v relative to frame k ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Inertial frames of reference

I'm struggling with the notion of an inertial frame of reference. I suspect my difficulty lies with the difference between Newtonian and relativistic inertial frames, but I can't see it. I've read ...
2
votes
2answers
629 views

Galilean transformation in relativity

Assume flat spacetime in a general relativistic framework (or special relativity for that matter) and two observers $A$ and $B$, with non-vanishing velocity relative to each other. We know that they ...
4
votes
2answers
678 views

Can an “absolute” frame of reference be determined by measuring the compression of light?

General relativity tells us that there is no absolute frame of reference (actually, it tells us that all frames are relative, which is close but not the same as there is no absolute frame). Special ...
2
votes
1answer
356 views

What happens to speed and frequency of a light beam moving in transparent medium when observed from different inertial frame of reference?

Suppose a transparent medium where speed of light is $c/n$, an inertial frame of reference $K$ which is stationary relatively to the medium and an inertial frame of reference $K'$ which is moving ...
14
votes
15answers
2k views

What are the mechanics by which Time Dilation and Length Contraction occur?

What are the mechanics of time dilation and length contraction? Going beyond the mathematical equations involving light and the "speed limit of the universe", what is observed is merely a phenomenon ...
5
votes
1answer
305 views

Is General Relativity applicable for all coordinate systems?

My understanding was that relativistic physics can be expressed in any inertial coordinate system, but not arbitrary systems. That is, no experiment can determine if we are "still" or "moving" at a ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What does a frame of reference mean in terms of manifolds?

Because of my mathematical background, I've been finding it hard to relate the physics-talk I've been reading, with mathematical objects. In (say special) relativity, we have a Lorentzian manifold, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Newton's Bucket

Newton's Bucket This thought experiment is originally due to Sir Isaac Newton. We have a sphere of water floating freely in an opaque box in intergalactic space, held together by surface tension and ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

What determines which frames are inertial frames?

I understand that you can (in principle) measure whether "free particles" (no forces) experience accelerations in order to tell whether a frame is inertial. But fundamentally, what determines which ...