The union of special (SR) and general (GR) relativity. Use this tag if both SR and GR apply.

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Cooling of atomic clocks

I have read of cooling atoms to one-quarter of one-thousandth of a degree above absolutely zero. According to Physicist William Phillips, this improves the measurement of the ticking frequency. I have ...
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How are accelerated reference frames non-symmetrical?

As in, if I'm accelerating away from the Earth, then does the Earth also appear to be accelerating away from me at the same rate? Or is there something to "break" this type of symmetry? My question ...
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What is the intuition behind the Lorentz factor from Special Relativity

Time Dilation = $1/\sqrt{ 1-v^2/c^2}$ but why? How do you get to that conclusion? I know you use Pythagoras'theorem and my current understand goes like this: $$vt^2+ct^2=cT^2$$ then you take the ...
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431 views

Can we actually have null curves in Minkowski space?

I know that this sounds really stupid but, when I think of the Minkowski space I cannot imagine a null curve, only null lines. For me, the only possible way to have one is to change the basis of the ...
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618 views

Blue-shifting as opposed to violet-shifting

A recent XKCD comic implies that the sky is blue as opposed to violet due to human physiology, and that animals more sensitive to shorter wavelengths will perceive the Earth's sky as the shortest ...
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Doesn't Warp theory violate causality?

I have heard many physicists (ex:- Michio Kaku) saying "Warp speed" from Star Trek doesn't violate any known physical laws. But doesn't it violate causality? Say, we make warp drive possible and ...
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Is my grandmother alive for some alien who is located on some place and is moving with some speed?

(I am science fiction writer. I had a goal in my novel to argue that time travel to past will not be available even in future. I asked here how to argue that. I collected answers and analyzed them and ...
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Wormholes, time travel, and time dilation

I believe I understand the "wormhole time machine" now, but still have one question regarding what happens if you enter the stationary mouth. A wormhole is created and (of course) has two mouths, $x$ ...
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632 views

Do the energy levels of electron orbitals change relativistically?

When an electron emits a photon from changing energy levels, the frequency of the photon depends on the difference between the energy levels. But if someone is moving with respect to the atom, the ...
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291 views

Are objects in a gravitational well shortened?

Bob is in a gravitational potential well, he moves a long vertical stick up and down a distance of 1 meters. Alice observes the upper end of the stick, at upper location. There is the phenomenon of ...
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94 views

Pauli exclusion principle and relativity

I'm somewhat curious about how the Pauli Exclusion Principle functions when relativistic time becomes a significant factor. Just to clear things up, my (possibly poor) understanding goes like this. ...
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Feynman's proof for Liénard-Wiechert's potential of a moving charge

Feynman's proof utilizes a geometrical and fundamental integration argument. I like it, except this bit: What makes me unconfortable somehow is that in (c) we are counting in some of the charge we ...
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248 views

Null Coordinates

I have a very basic question: what are the advantages of writing a metric in the null coordinates? Which extra insight do they provide? I've looked in Caroll's "Spacetime and Geometry" and Wald's "...
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Photon pair production at relativistic speeds?

This is probably an obvious question, but I don't see it answered anywhere. Imagine we have an object in the Universe that is traveling, relative to the Milkyway at about .99999999999999999999999999c ...
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Is this the correct method for deriving E=mc^2?

So lately I tried to deriving Einstein's $$ E = mc^2$$ which later I found from this website : http://www.emc2-explained.info/Emc2/Derive.htm They use calculus based method, so I tried another way. ...
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622 views

Doesn't dating the universe violate the concept of spacetime's inseparability?

It would seem that measuring an age of the universe from the big bang requires separating spacetime into a 3D coordinate system and a time track. I fail to understand why it is appropriate to take ...
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Can light affect gravity? [closed]

I have a mentor at work, who wrote a paper in the past regarding light and relativity. I am an aerospace engineer by training and a system administrator/programmer by trade, so I know a little bit ...
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379 views

Why are distant galaxies not actually tiny bits of matter?

Distant galaxies are said to be moving away from the Milky Way (and us) at speeds approaching the speed of light. Since Special Relativity tells us that any object moving away from us at a velocity of ...
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According to relativity theory, what is the force that two electrons moving radially apart exert on each other?

According to relativity theory, what is the most general expression for the force that two electrons moving radially apart exert on each other? I am looking for a function $$F(r(t)),$$ where $F$ is ...
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Space-like and time-like: where do the names come from?

Space-like separated events are events that, in a well-chosen reference frame, can take place at the same time but never happen at the same location. On the other hand for time-like events, one can ...
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132 views

Is there still mystery about spin crisis?

The gluon is a vector boson; like the photon, it has a spin of 1. If this is true and if we know the spin of protons and neutrons then why the news SPIN COMES FROM GLUONS? is telling that, we aren'...
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293 views

Confused about indices of the Ricci tensor

In an intro to GR book the Ricci tensor is given as: $$R_{\mu\nu}=\partial_{\lambda}\Gamma_{\mu \nu}^{\lambda}-\Gamma_{\lambda \sigma}^{\lambda}\Gamma_{\mu \nu}^{\sigma}-[\partial_{\nu}\Gamma_{\mu \...
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Length contraction in rotating frame?

If an observer were to rotate around a point at near light speeds, what sort of length contraction would he observe the universe undergo?
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212 views

Is space curvature relative?

If I have an object that is of some length $l$ moving at a relativistic velocity $v$ for some reference frame in a 1D universe, then length contraction states that $l=\gamma\times l'$. But at the ...
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Acceleration in relativistic particle [closed]

Suppose that a relativistic particle of mass at rest $m_0$ and charge $q$ moves under the influence $F$. Show that the acceleration $a$ of the particle can be expressed as follows: $$a = \frac1mF + \...
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448 views

Relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation

What exactly is the relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation? Suppose $J^\mu$ is a contravariant vector that satisfies the continuity equation $\partial_\mu J^\mu=0$. Let $J^...
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Chasing a photon [duplicate]

According to this article, the Theory of Special Relativity holds that if you were chasing a stream of light at half the speed of light, $c/2$, the light's speed relative to you would still be $c$. ...
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Nature of spacetime 4-vector and tangent space?

An entry level confusion about spacetime. I understand that a 4-vector describes a point or event in spacetime. But I've also read (Bertschinger, 1999) that re spacetime "we are discussing tangent ...
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Difference between timelike and spacelike vectors

Other than one having a positive invariant scalar product and the other a negative one, what are the actual physical differences between these vectors?
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710 views

How will the Twin Paradox become, for Time Dilation, if no acceleration was ever involved?

I think one catch in Twin Paradox was about the big acceleration that can turn back the traveling twin from light speed outward bound, to become light speed inward bound. What if there is strictly no ...
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500 views

If a photon has no mass, how can it be attracted by the Sun?

I read that the photon doesn't have mass, but my teacher says that the photon has mass because the sun can attract it (like in the experiments to prove the theory of relativity). I think that there ...
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317 views

How does relativity explain gravity, without assuming gravity [duplicate]

I have seen the "objects pull down on space-time" explanations, but they assume a "pull down" force themselves. Could anyone explain the space-time explanation without assuming gravity in the first ...
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When we talk about speeds in relativity theory, where are they measured?

I recently asked a question here about if the direction we travel matters in relativity theory: Does it matter in which direction I travel in relativity theory? After I got answers and making more ...
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Relativistic Hamiltonian Formulations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Hamiltonian mechanics and special relativity? The Hamiltonian formulation is beautifully symmetric. It's a shame that the explicit time derivatives in Hamilton's equations ...
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Relativity and predictability

My old theoretical physics professor used to say that (already) (special?) relativity shows that "the future is not predictable". Any ideas how this should be interpreted?
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Is measure relative velocity the same for both observer n particle

A particle is moving at velocity v. A stationary observer tries to measure its velocity. From the observer reference frame, he will measure a shorter distance travel as compared to what the particle ...
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157 views

Relativistic Time dilation and travel to exoplanets

NASA recently discovered the first habitable exoplanet with the Kepler space telescope. Recently I was on this site: http://www.cthreepo.com/lab/math1/ With the Long Relativistic Journeys ...
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Is a preferred reference frame of the universe the old aether?

About two years ago I posted a question about a symmetrical twin paradox: Here. Recently a new answer was posted and an intense discussion ensued: Here. One of the points discussed concerns a ...
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Plane wave shift in a differential operator

Does anyone can help me to prove the following equation \begin{equation} e^{-i\vec{k}\cdot\vec{x}}f(\partial_{\mu})e^{i\vec{k}\cdot\vec{x}} = f(\partial_{\mu}+ik_{\mu}) \end{equation} Where $\vec{k}\...
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190 views

Is acceleration caused by curvature or space or time or both?

I'm trying to get a hold of the idea of gravity in general relativity and spacetime. I've seen plenty of demonstrations of the rubber mat analogy to describe gravity and spacetime curvature. Is this ...
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457 views

Question about gravity in 1 dimension

Consider 2 pointmasses in 1D space. More specific ; object $A$ with mass $m_a$ and object $B$ with mass $m_b$. $A$ and $B$ are a distance $d$ away from eachother. Let these pointmasses $A,B$ have no ...
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Why acceleration is not relative in General Relativity?

I was thinking of it, If I say: "I'm moving at a velocity $v_1$ relative to a reference frame $M$ then the acceleration will be the derivative of $v_1$ relative to the reference frame $M$." In other ...
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90 views

If Speed is Relative can Absolute Acceleration be Real

This is , I suppose not a good question , but I think I am missing something which confuses me in this question. So my question is - Velocity is relative. So suppose a car is moving at a speed 200 ...
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90 views

Are all diffusion-like processes described as wave-like in relativity-compatible formulations?

Citing from Wikipedia's article on relativistic heat conduction: For most of the last century, it was recognized that Fourier equation (and its more general Fick's law of diffusion) is in ...
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224 views

How does Spacetime Curvature increase the velocity of particles falling towards the earth?

Two particles fall side by side, towards the earth. The horizontal distance between them is 10m. As they advance nearer and nearer to the earth's surface, the horizontal distance decreases, from 10m ...
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284 views

Mirror image at relativistic speeds

Imagine moving parallel to the surface of a very large flat mirror at relativistic speeds. What would be the effect of viewing yourself in the mirror? At non-relativistic speeds your image would be ...
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909 views

How much time has passed for Voyager I since it left the Earth, 34 years ago?

34 years have passed since Voyager I took off and it's just crossing the solar system, being approximately at 16.4 light-hours away. How much time have passed for itself, though?
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Introduction to relativity books [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Getting started general relativity I am an engineer who loves to read science fiction books especially when there's more science than fiction but usually I see that I lack ...
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57 views

Would a star be observed to burn brighter traveling at relativistic speeds?

Would a star, similar to our own, be observed to "burn" differently at relativistic speeds? I am only thinking this because the observed relativistic mass would change.
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Long rod in an expanding universe

Suppose you have a metal rod, of vast length, floating in space. From it's center-of-mass reference frame it is assumed to be at rest with respect to the CMB. The rod will have some degree of ...