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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

13
votes
7answers
3k views

Is time travel possible? Is it possible to go back in time?

I read somewhere that according to relativity, black holes and other space related stuff it is possible to jump into past. Is it possible for anything to go back in time either continuously or by ...
4
votes
9answers
1k views

understanding time: Is time simply the rate change?

Is time simply the rate of change? If this is the case and time was created during the big bang would it be the case that the closer you get to the start of the big bang the "slower" things change ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Is time travel possible? [duplicate]

Time travel -- often featured in movies, books, or facetiously in conversation. There are also theories treating time as simply another dimension, which to the layperson might imply forward and ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How to deduce the theorem of addition of velocities?

Lorentz contraction and time dilatation can be deduced without Lorentz transformation. Can you deduce also the theorem of addition of velocities $$w~=~\dfrac{u+v}{1+uv/c^2}$$ without Lorentz ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of light would it turn into a black hole?

I'm a big fan of the podcast Astronomy Cast and a while back I was listening to a Q&A episode they did. A listener sent in a question that I found fascinating and have been wondering about ever ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What is so special about speed of light?

I will try to be as explanatory as possible with my question. Please also note that I have done my share of googling and I am looking for simple language preferable with some example so that I can get ...
6
votes
5answers
716 views

Time Dilation - How does it know which Frame of Reference to age slower?

Okay, I'm asking a question similar to this one here: Time Dilation - what happens when you bring the observers back together?. Specifically, I am curious about a specific angle on the second part of ...
2
votes
1answer
911 views

Question about Time Dilation

I just have a quick question about time dilation/proper time because my physics book makes it a little confusing. Let's say we have an observer on Earth, and then an observer on a space ship. The ...
4
votes
3answers
468 views

Why do clocks measure arc-length?

Apologies in advance for the long question. My understanding is that in GR, massive observers move along timelike curves $x^\mu(\lambda)$, and if an observer moves from point $x^\mu(\lambda_a)$ to ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

reletivistic mass as seen by different observers

Imagine there are two observers $A$ and $B$ and a particle $P$. $A$ and $B$ are at about the same point, $P$ is some distance away. From $A$'s point of view, $P$ has velocity $V$ and $B$ has ...
16
votes
5answers
864 views

Why can't you escape a black hole?

I understand that the event horizon of a black hole forms at the radius from the singularity where the escape velocity is c. But it's also true that you don't have to go escape velocity to escape an ...
0
votes
3answers
5k views

How is light affected by gravity?

Light is clearly affected by gravity, just think about a black hole, but light supposedly has no mass and gravity only affects objects with mass. On the other hand, if light does have mass then ...
2
votes
2answers
347 views

How do I adjust the kinematic equations to avoid reaching speeds faster than light?

I like some 'science' in my 'science fiction', so I started crunching out the kinematic equations for some of the scenarios my characters are getting involved in, and ran smack dab into an issue. ...
4
votes
9answers
626 views

Did relativity make Newtonian mechanics obsolete?

Did Einstein completely prove Newton wrong? If so, why we apply Newtonian mechanics even today? Because Newton said that time is absolute and Einstein suggested it relative? So, if fundamentals are ...
3
votes
3answers
404 views

Time Dilation - what happens when you bring the observers back together?

I'm having trouble getting my head around the time dilation paradox. Observer A and B are at the same "depth" in a gravity well. Observer B then descends into the well. A will observe B's time as ...
3
votes
2answers
621 views

If I travel close to the speed of light and come back, why is everyone else dead, and not me? [duplicate]

Consider the following scenario: I get in a spaceship, and travel really close to the speed of light for a while, and then come back. A lot of time has passed on the Earth, but since I was traveling ...
-1
votes
2answers
221 views

What's a “noninertial frame”? [duplicate]

In some PSE questions or answers such as here (and comments below) there appears the notion of "accelerating frame" or (more or less equivalently) "noninertial frame". What's the definition of this ...
9
votes
6answers
549 views

In coordinate-free relativity, how do we define a vector?

Relativity can be developed without coordinates: Laurent 1994 (SR), Winitzski 2007 (GR). I would normally define a vector by its transformation properties: it's something whose components change ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How can time be relative?

I don't understand how time can be relative to different observers, and I think my confusion is around how I understand what time is. I have always been told (and thought) that time is basically a ...
7
votes
2answers
633 views

Mechanism by which electric and magnetic fields interrelate

I read that force due to electric field on some particle in one reference frame can exhibit itself as force due to magnetic field in some other reference frame and that electric and magnetic fields ...
6
votes
4answers
1k 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
236 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
236 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
402 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?
2
votes
1answer
190 views

What is the mass of individual components in a gravitationally bound system?

When material of rest mass M falls from infinity onto a black hole accretion disk, it gets heated and then emits so much light that the energy radiated away can measure up to about 30% or so of M c^2. ...
2
votes
3answers
408 views

Mass in terms of energy

Given the relationships between mass and energy in relativity, and given that particles with mass can be created given energy over the threshold energy, and vice-versa, can we say that mass is simply ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

How are propositions concerning spacetime curvature constructed explicitly in terms of coincidences?

Is Einstein's insight [1] that All our well-substantiated space-time propositions amount to the determination of space-time coincidences [such as] encounters between two or more [...] material ...
1
vote
1answer
298 views

Time travel to future [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is time travel possible? Is time travel possible? According to my friend, it is possible to go to the future but not the past. In Physics, particles move faster than ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

Can relativistic momentum (photons) be used as propulsion for 'free' after the initial generation?

In discussing this question about propelling a spacecraft with photons and their relativistic momentum, the author asked that I restate my comment as another question. If photons can really be used ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

A question about a relation between time-like world lines

Given any Lorentzian manifold containing three distinct time-like world lines $L$, $A$ and $B$ such that $L$ and $A$ have exactly one common coincidence event, $\mathcal{E}_{AL}$, $L$ and $B$ have ...
10
votes
3answers
734 views

Is there a relativistic (quantum) thermodynamics?

Does a relativistic version of quantum thermodynamics exist? I.e. in a non-inertial frame of reference, can I, an external observer, calculate quantities like magnetisation within the non-inertial ...
6
votes
3answers
444 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
276 views

Degrees of freedom in the infinite momentum frame

Lenny Susskind explains in this video at about 40min, as an extended object (for example a relativistic string) is boosted to the infinite momentum frame (sometimes called light cone frame), it has no ...
8
votes
3answers
660 views

Special Relativistic approximation to GR

Some time ago I was talking to a professor in college about some of the fundamental aspects and origin of General Relativity. I was surprised to learn, in fact, that a pretty good approximation to GR ...
3
votes
2answers
308 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
310 views

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 ...
2
votes
4answers
485 views

Reducing General Relativity to Special Relativity in limiting case

I understand that general relativity is applicable to gravitational fields and special relativity is applicable to case when there is no gravity. But is there a derivation on how to reduce General ...
0
votes
2answers
266 views

The Lorentz Transformations in the Micro-World

Two particles[or micro-observers] A and B are in relative uniform motion wrt each other in the x-x’ direction. The “observer” A decides to deduce[or interpret] the Lorentz Transformations wrt to B. ...
7
votes
2answers
194 views

Time dilation only on electromagnetic force?

We've seen by experiment that the speed of light c appears to be constant for each observer (leading to all well-known consequences of relativity). I'm wondering if this appearance of constancy of c ...
4
votes
5answers
444 views

Does a interstellar spacecraft traveling at relativistic velocity require continous thrust to maintain velocity?

Assuming completely empty space, does a spacecraft traveling at 0.5 C require continuous thrust to avoid deceleration? If the spacecraft is traveling at 0.5 C, does it's relativistic mass act upon ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

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?
2
votes
4answers
118 views

How should observers determine whether they can be described as being “defined on a Lorentzian manifold”?

Consider infinitely many distinguishable observers, no two of whom ever meet; and who generally "keep sight of each other", but not necessarily "each keeping sight of all others". How should they ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Why can't we accelerate objects past the speed of light? [duplicate]

Is there any intuitive reasoning behind why there would be this universal speed limit? It just seems so arbitrary. I know that there must be things that are unknown, but what reasoning is there behind ...
1
vote
2answers
199 views

Proper time for an accelerating object

As far as I have read so far, proper time is the time measured on the clock of an inertial frame moving uniformly with respect to another inertial frame. The concept and the mathematical expression ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Could light travel more slowly than the “universal speed limit”? Could this imply quantization of spacetime?

One description of relativistic effects that I've heard/read goes something like this: Everything moves through spacetime at a constant speed. An object's direction of travel through spacetime can ...
0
votes
2answers
215 views

Photons in a gravitational field

I have been really staring for a while in a MP-Beiser book and I totally disagree with a statement he does there. On a page 85 he states that photons act as they have a mass $m$. He derives this by ...
-10
votes
1answer
376 views

Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? [closed]

1) Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? Every question about gravity seems to evoke an answer involving "space curvature" which seems like an undefined placeholder ...