As a consequence of the Lorentz transformations, time and space transform into each other when changing reference frame. This calls for a unified description: Minkowski spacetime.

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How can I vizualize and understand curved spaces in general relativity?

I'm taking a basic physics class and the teacher described space with a special table that has curves and black holes etc. He would throw a metal ball down onto it and the class would watch it circle ...
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583 views

Getting back out of an Alcubierre warp bubble

Does the theory on paper provide a way for hypothetical travelers to get back out of the bubble that has gotten them close to their distant destination by compressing all the space in front of them ...
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224 views

Is a spinor in some sense connected to space?

Spinors transform under the representation of $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$ which is the double cover of the Lorentz group $SO(1,3)$ - or in the non-relativistic case under $SU(2)$, the double cover of $SO(3)$. ...
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Does the “Andromeda Paradox” (Rietdijk–Putnam-Penrose) imply a completely deterministic universe?

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietdijk–Putnam_argument Abstract of 1966 Rietdijk paper: A proof is given that there does not exist an event, that is not already in the past for ...
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How does the curvature of spacetime induce gravitational attraction?

I don't know how to ask this more clearly than in the title.
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Can special relativity distort the relative order in which events occur?

Pretend you are throwing darts at a dart board. You throw dart $d_1$ at time $t_1$. After you throw your first dart, you throw your second dart $d_2$ at time $t_2$. Given that $t_2 > t_1$ in a ...
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Surely space-time Curvature does not explain gravity, it just describe its effects?

In special relativity co-moving objects see the other's 4-velocity as being only temporal. When they move relative to each other they see the other's 4-velocity has rotated so that it points less in ...
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According to General Relativity, Does The Past “Exist”?

I'm curious about just what is meant by time being another dimension, like the three (observable) spatial dimensions. Does this imply, according to General Relativity, that the past and the future ...
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What does “foliation” mean in the context of a “foliation of spacetime?”

I've seen foliation used in the context of "foliation of spacetime" here and elsewhere in papers and such. Generally defined in reference to a "sequence of spatial hypersurfaces." But I don't know ...
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670 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 ...
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378 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 ...
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892 views

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon?

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon? If so, can quantum mechanics describe the universe at high energies where there is no ...
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413 views

Do objects with mass “suck in” spacetime?

I don't really understand the general theory of relativity (GTR) really deeply, but according to my understanding, the GTR say that gravitation is caused by the curvature of spacetime by objects with ...
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What does it mean for objects to follow the curvature of space?

In science documentaries that touch on general relativity, it is often said that gravitational pull isn't an actual a pull (as described by classical physics), but rather one body travelling in a ...
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326 views

What really is Spacetime?

What is a good definition on Space, Time and the most specific topic "Spacetime"? Because someone told me that spacetime is the foundation of the entire universe? And also, Is it possible to create ...
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333 views

Sewing together flat spacetime pieces = flat spacetime?

I'm trying to imagine the geometry "operations" here: Angular deficit and Conical spacetime of cosmic string If we sew flat spacetime pieces together, what is the requirement for the sewing to not ...
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146 views

Does expanding space cost energy?

Does the cosmic inflation reduce the energy density (inversely) proportional to the volume, or does the inflation "cost" energy? Is space itself "something" created at the expense of energy?
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The Big Bang in an infinite universe

If the universe is spatially infinite (and assuming, if it makes a difference, that we don't have eternal inflation), what actually happened 13.7 billion years ago? Was the energy density infinite (or ...
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228 views

A Game Of The Number Of Space-Time Dimensions

Holger Bech Nielsen, one of the founders of string theory, has apparently just played some sort of game between different potential dimensions for space-time and reached the conclusion that D4 wins in ...
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193 views

Equilibrium for a rope hanging in a Schwarzschild spacetime

Update: Trimok and MBN helped me solve most of my confusion. However, there is still an extra term $-(2/r)T$ in the final result. Brown doesn't write this term, and it seems physically wrong. Update ...
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175 views

If a fundamental theory exibits e.g. a mirror symmetry, in what sense it the underlying geometry real?

Are the more recently discovered symmetries in string theory such that the theories based on mirroring geometries are absolutely the same from an observable point of view? I have mirror symmetry ...
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140 views

Could dark energy make a large black hole less black?

Theoretically, if a black hole grew to a huge scale such that the effect of dark energy was large, could the black hole become 'normal' space again (i.e. no horizon or singularity)? What I'm trying ...
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570 views

Is there any uncertainty between mass and proper length or time?

I was trying to naively draw a parallel between special relativity and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. I try to understand uncertainty principle as a consequence of 4-position and 4-momentum ...
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Do spacelike junctions in the Thin-Shell Formalism imply energy nonconservation and counterintuitive wormholes?

The Thin Shell Formalism (MTW 1973 p.551ff) is used to properly paste together different vacuum solutions to the Einstein equations. At the junction of the two solutions is a hypersurface of matter – ...
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Does (it make sense to say that ) the universe has a center?

I was reading this page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/23/brian-cox-jeff-forshaw-answers and I found this sentence by Brian Cox: That seems to imply that everything is flying away ...
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What is the extent of the universe?

Is there any realistic, understandable, provable (even in some extent) explanation/model for the extent of the universe? What is its shape? and Why? I mean physical explanations not philosophical ...
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658 views

Gravity is curved geometry: A fact of nature or model-dependent interpretation?

We are regularly taught in high-schools and universities that, according to General Relativity (GR), gravity is nothing but a manifestation of space-time curvature (which, in its turn, is caused by ...
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Is my interpretation of how a gravitational wave is formed correct?

I'm sure many here are familiar with the following image showing the 2D representation of how the fabric of spacetime is warped by the presence of mass:- Can this fabric be interpreted as an ...
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If gravity is a bend in Space-time then what is magnetism?

Einstein postulated that gravity bends the geometry of space-time then what does magnetism do in to the geometry of space-time, or is there even a correlation between space-time geometry and ...
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591 views

Can a black hole be formed by radiation?

I'm trying to find out if black holes could be created by focusing enough light into a small enough volume. So far I have found (any or all may be incorrect): Maxwell's equations are linear, ...
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665 views

How to prove that we are living in a 3D world?

Is there any scientific experiment that can lead us to conclude we live in 3 dimensions without the premise of the conception of limited dimensions? Thank you all who helped in the improvement of ...
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Measuring the speed of light and defining the metre - absolute or relative?

If the metre is now defined as the distance light travels in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458th of a second and the speed of light is accepted to be ...
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What distinguishes time from space in Quantum Field Theory?

Consider the following expression for a general QFT action: $$ S ~=~ \int_0^t\mathrm dt~L ~=~\int_0^t\mathrm dt\int_\mathbb {R^3}\mathrm d^3x~\mathcal L ~=~\int\mathrm d^4x~\mathcal L.$$ Here we ...
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Is the assumption that space-time has to be a continuum just a matter of mathematical taste?

Is the assumption that space-time has to be a continuum just a matter of mathematical taste? Isn't there any physical significance associated with it?
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Expansion of the Universe, will light from some galaxies never reach us?

Is it true that the light from some galaxies will never reach us? The explanation for that is that the Universe expanding faster than the speed of light. But, if the speed of light is constant in ...
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706 views

Why is time special?

In Special Relativity, the spacetime interval between two events is $s^2 = -(c{\Delta}t)^2+({\Delta}x)^2+({\Delta}y)^2+({\Delta}z)^2$ giving the Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}=\text{diag}(-1, 1, 1, ...
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Why are there 4 Dimensions and 4 Fundamental Forces?

Is it a coincidence that there are four fundamental forces and four spacetime dimensions ? Does a universe with three spacetime dimension contain four fundamental forces? Can magnetism be realized in ...
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ALL “forces” as manifestations of properties of space-time

I apologize if this seems like a quack question, but I need some insights by those who know much more than me in Physics. Anyway, the gravitational "force" (not really a force) is a manifestation of ...
5
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287 views

A thought experiment on vision and curved spacetime

What follows is a long self-made example to deal with my conceptual issues of visualizing curved spacetime. Imagine an observer floating somewhere in space. He feels no strain on his body, ...
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427 views

Space-time geometry and metric

I am confused in one question in general relativity, why we can always express a space-time geometry only by metric. It means a metric, which is just about distance in tangent space, can tell us all ...
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640 views

Why is space-time four dimensional?

Wikipedia says, "In special relativity, four-momentum is the generalization of the classical three-dimensional momentum to four-dimensional space-time. Momentum is a vector in three dimensions; ...
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Alternate layman's metaphors for illustrating curved space-time

The metaphor of a surface (typically a pool table or a trampoline) distorted by a massive object is commonly used as a metaphor for illustrating gravitationally induced space-time curvature. But as ...
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316 views

Spacetime diagram of a collapse of a rotating star

There is a well-known "standard" spacetime diagram (Kruskal and Penrose) for the collapse of a spherically symmetric star to a Schwarzschild black hole (for example here, or here in EF), which stands ...
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331 views

Are the implications of an infinite universe necessarily so unsettling

I have often heard it said (by professional cosmologists) that if the universe is infinite, then there necessarily exist infinitely many copies of me repeated throughout. The reasoning seems to be ...
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325 views

Why does one of the extra dimensions of F-Theory have to be a temporal dimension?

F-Theory, as I understand it, is a realisation of Type IIB String Theory as a 12-dimensional theory in such a way that the $SL(2,\mathbb Z)$ symmetry becomes natural because Type IIB String Theory is ...
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Does space have to be filled with charged particles to carry electromagnetic waves?

I'm a newbie here so have mercy. I'm studying electromagnetic waves. This is the propagation of energy via the vibration of charged particles, as I understand it. A charged particle could be like ...
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306 views

What does scalar phi represent in spacetime?

Trying to understand one-forms and vectors via Schutz's A First Course In General Relativity. His example uses a spacetime diagram, a scalar field phi, a curve (worldline) parametrized using proper ...
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Is it possible to derive Lorentz transformation equation without Einstein's postulates?

Overview Einstein's proof for the Lorentz transformation is given here: From $O$'s view point, $x^2+y^2+z^2 = (ct)^2$. Form $O'$'s view point, $x'^2+y'^2+z'^2 = (ct')^2$. We find that Einstein ...
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Is there a proof that space expanding produces observers at all points that see what we see?

I know that galaxies are moving away from us, and so can see that it's intuitive that if space was expanding, then the astronomical observations from Earth would be the same as at all other points in ...
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Commutation relations in QFT and the principle of locality

My question is, given two space-time points $x^{\mu}$ and $y^{\mu}$, if the events that occur at these points are simultaneous, i.e. $x^{0}=y^{0}$, are the two events necessarily space-like separated? ...