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

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Paradox?: What is the form of radiation experienced by a harmonically accelerated observer?

Theory predicts that uniform acceleration leads to experiencing thermal radiation (so called Fulling Davies Unruh radiation), associated with the appearance of an event horizon. For non uniform but ...
17
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2answers
165 views

Is there an official name for “Lorentz Pairs” like energy and momentum?

In learning about relativity I've noticed that in the construction of Lorentz invariants (specifically four-vectors) two physical quantities that were previously considered distinct are instead ...
14
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5answers
686 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 ...
13
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7answers
2k 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 ...
13
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4answers
479 views

Is there an easy way to show that $x^2-t^2=1/g^2$ for a (relativistic) body undergoing acceleration g?

A professor asked me about the (c=1) equation: $$x^2 - t^2 = 1/g^2$$ which I used in a paper. Or with $c$: $$x^2 - (ct)^2 = c^4/g^2.$$ I told him that it was the exact equation of motion for a ...
12
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2answers
170 views

Cascade in relativistic turbulence

The Kolmogorov theory of turbulence indicates an energy cascade in turbulence. Is there a corresponding version of relativistic fluid?
11
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4answers
1k views

Does the future already exist? If so, which one?

In the NOVA Fabric of the Cosmos program, Brian Greene explains a theory in which there is no "now", or more specifically, now is relative. He describes an alien riding a bicycle on a far off planet ...
11
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1answer
754 views

Cross-section in relativistic limit: Fermi's golden rule still valid?

In order to calculate the cross-section of an interaction process the following formula is often used for first approximations: $$ \sigma = \frac {2\pi} {\hbar\,v_i} \left| ...
9
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3answers
1k 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 ...
9
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3answers
682 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 ...
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 ...
8
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6answers
1k views

Quaternions and 4-vectors

I recently realised that quaternions could be used to write intervals or norms of vectors in special relativity: $(t,ix,jy,kz)^2 = t^2 + (ix)^2 + (jy)^2 + (kz)^2 = t^2 - x^2 - y^2 - z^2$ Is it ...
8
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4answers
722 views

Special Relativistic Time Dilation — A computer in a very fast centrifuge

Ok, I've stumbled onto what I think is a bit of a paradox. First off, say you had some computer in a very fast(near light speed) centrifuge. You provide power to this computer via a metal plate on ...
8
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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 ...
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 ...
7
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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 ...
7
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1answer
316 views

Can a free particle absorb/emit photons?

As simple as in the title.. I would like to know also some mathematics about it!
7
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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 ...
6
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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 ...
6
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8answers
865 views

Reactionless Drives

According to the third law of motion, you van't have an mass move in a particular direction unless there is a proportional opposite mass/acceleration ratio in the opposite direction. No-one has been ...
6
votes
3answers
236 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
326 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 ...
6
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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
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2answers
300 views

How to find zero-point oscillations for this system?

Consider the following Hamiltonian which is absolutely relativistic literally: only sensitive to absolute pairwise relative phase space variables of objects for a system of $N$ objects moving in one ...
6
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2answers
354 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 ...
5
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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 ...
5
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4answers
975 views

Why are four-vectors needed in the Dirac equation, when there are 4 linearly independent 2D matrices?

I was taught that for the Dirac-equation to "work", you need matrices of the following form: $Tr(\alpha^i) = 0$. Eigenvalues +1 or -1 2 previous points together: equal number of negative and ...
5
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2answers
160 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 ...
5
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3answers
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
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2answers
122 views

Alice and Bob moving in a circular ring of radius $R$

Alice and Bob are moving in opposite direction around a circular ring of Radius $R$, which is at rest in an inertial frame. Both move with constant speed $V$ as measured in that frame. Each carries a ...
5
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2answers
197 views

Does velocity or acceleration cause time dilation?

What causes time dilation? Acceleration or velocity? I've seen multiple comments on this forum that assert velocity is the cause, but that doesn't seem right to me. You can't have velocity without ...
5
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1answer
222 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 ...
5
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1answer
422 views

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?
5
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1answer
150 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 ...
5
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1answer
228 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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0answers
49 views

Time inversion for Euler equation

Consider Euler equation for continuum body: $$\frac{\partial u^i}{\partial t}+\mathbf u\cdot \nabla u^i=- \frac{1}{\rho} \frac{\partial p}{\partial x^i} $$ where $\rho$ is the mass density, $p$ is ...
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?
4
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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
2answers
128 views

Why doesnt gravity speed up light?

We know that gravity speeds up a body; for instance, a meteor which enters the earth gets constantly accelerated up by earth's gravity. And from relativity we know that light bends near a massive ...
4
votes
4answers
148 views

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 ...
4
votes
6answers
213 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 ...
4
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5answers
402 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
1answer
121 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 ...
4
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2answers
153 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 ...
4
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2answers
173 views

Gravitation not instantaneous = non elliptic orbits?

When I studied physics some time ago my teacher explained that if we consider the gravitational atraction not instantaneous, such as the General Relativity says, the planets would be attracted towards ...
4
votes
9answers
993 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

How to calculate time dilation in approaching speed of light

If a spaceship travels close to the speed of light (say, at 0.9c), how do I calculate the time as the spaceship pilot experience it? I thought the formula was $$t = \frac{t_0}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}$$ ...
3
votes
2answers
242 views

Gravitational Time Dilation with big masses

From Wikipedia I read that the formula for calculating the time dilation caused by a mass is $t_0 = t_f{\sqrt{1-\frac{2GM}{rc^2}}}$ where: $t_0$ is the proper time between events A and B for a ...
3
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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
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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 ...