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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 ...
17
votes
10answers
3k views

Is Mach's Principle Wrong?

This question was prompted by another question about a paper by Woodward (not mine). IMO Mach's principle is very problematic (?wrong) thinking. Mach was obviously influenced by Leibniz. Empty space ...
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 ...
6
votes
5answers
363 views

Inertia in an empty universe

I was reading a recent article on Mach's Principle. In it, the author talks about inertia in an empty universe. I'll quote some lines from the article: Imagine a single body in an otherwise empty ...
28
votes
10answers
3k views

What is the Earth truly rotating about/revolving around?

Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun, the sun revolves around the galaxy, the galaxy is also moving. So Earth's net rotation as observed from a fixed inertial frame consists of all ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

What's the deal with the gyroscope?

In this article ("The problem with physics", Tony Rothman, ABC science) the author says in the 5$^\textrm{th}$ paragraph: For example, one needs only first-semester equations to describe ...