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

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7answers
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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
994 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
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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 ...
9
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 ...
5
votes
5answers
651 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
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1answer
855 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
112 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 ...
14
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5answers
688 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
306 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. ...
3
votes
3answers
386 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
66 views

The speed of light as it approaches a massive body

No matter how fast you go, you will aways perceive the speed of light as constant. Taking that as a fact, the special relativity theory was formulated. Now, for what I understand about general ...
-1
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2answers
209 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
481 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
579 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
229 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 ...
0
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3answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
313 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
183 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
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3answers
403 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
685 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
349 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
260 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
643 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
3answers
424 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
262 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
274 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
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4answers
457 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
260 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. ...
4
votes
3answers
210 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
5answers
404 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?
3
votes
2answers
334 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
113 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
233 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
1k 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
1answer
277 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
1answer
40 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
101 views

A vertical variation of modern versions of Michelson-Morley

For almost a year now, I have been in the uncomfortable position of having an idea. However, there is one nice thing about this idea. It makes a concrete, exact and relatively easy to test physical ...
0
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2answers
213 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 ...
-9
votes
1answer
328 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 ...