The special theory of relativity describes the motion and dynamics of objects moving at significant fractions of the speed of light.

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Can speed be defined in the complex plane?

This question cropped up while I was playing with the equation for time dilation. If I set the speed to be $i$ (imaginary unit) the answer from the equation still makes sense, but does that matter if ...
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49 views

Showing Dirac equation's Lorentz invariance and use of unitary matrix $U$

Dirac equation is $i \hbar \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu \psi - m c \psi = 0 $ To show its Lorentz invariance, we convert spacetime into $x'$ and $t'$ from $x$ and $t$ and then $( iU^\dagger \gamma^\mu ...
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How to derive equation for probability current density in relativistic quantum mechanics [on hold]

How does one derive equation for probability current density in relativistic quantum mechanics? I am asking for textbook-styled explicit derivation. No need for any other background knowledge.
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56 views

Bug riding on a ball moving at almost the speed of light [on hold]

A ball with a bug on it is thrown at almost the speed of light. The bug looks back and observes the thrower throwing the ball. In the context of special relativity, what is the weight and the height ...
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46 views

Definition of causality relation

It seems to me that special relativity has a weird definition of the causality relation. In that theory, the only thing that matters is the space-time distance between events. But I don't think this ...
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Length contraction and simultaneous length measurements

I am just working through an argument from Halliday Resnick to derive the Lorentz contraction (see quote below). Some paragraphs before this, the authors note that: If the rod is moving, ...
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110 views

Moon's orbit period as seen from a spaceship traveling at 0.8c

I am studying special relativity and I am trying to figure out the following small problem which occurred to me: An observer, the pilot of a spaceship flying to or from earth at v = 0.8c, is ...
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If two events separated by a spacetime interval of zero, can they both be said to be happening “now”?

Can the concept of c be validly expressed as "the rate at which an event propagates through space"? There was a television program last year featuring Prof Brian Cox. The presenter asked him "Is it ...
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Verification of the Poincare Algebra

The generators of the Poincare group $P(1;3)$ are supposed to obey the following commutation relation to be verified: $$\left[ M^{\mu\nu}, P^{\rho} \right] = i \left(g^{\nu\rho} P^{\mu} - g^{\mu\rho} ...
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Massless particles and the speed of light - New? Theories of existence [on hold]

"The best understanding we have is that it [light] is a disturbance in the electromagnetic fields of charged bodies." http://einstein.stanford.edu/content/relativity/q212.html This is a link to the ...
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105 views

How does it seem to be that space/time always equals c?

Given the way objects move, they seem to be going all the same "velocity" so to speak, that velocity being the speed of light. Except, velocity is displacement/time, so if something goes faster, the ...
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Derivation of force law in special relativity

I've seen force defined in special relativity as the rate of change of 4-momentum $$ {\bf{F}} = \frac{d {\bf{p}}}{dt} $$ Can anyone comment on the following derivation of that relation? Take one ...
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How much could one slow down aging using existing spacecraft?

Imagine that I board a spacecraft and head away from the Earth at top speed until I've aged twenty years, then I turn around and come back. How much younger will I be than the unexciting folk who hung ...
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Notation for Translation Group Generators

The generators of the translation group $T(4)$ are given below: $P_0 \equiv -i \begin{pmatrix} 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 ...
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5answers
339 views

Why Light and Observers have different laws of physics [on hold]

Special relativity states: The speed of light in a vacuum is always $c$, regardless of the velocity of the observer. The laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion. These two ...
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Twice the speed of light [duplicate]

If you were able to ride along a photon and a second photon passed you in the opposite direction, would what you observe be twice the speed of light? And would that change what you would see of the ...
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2answers
151 views

Metric tensor in special and general relativity

I'm having trouble understanding the metric tensor in general relativity. What I've understood so far has come from my course lecture notes used in conjunction with "The Road to Reality" by Roger ...
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Frame dragging — is there a “non-tiny” example?

Now. As I understand it, in fact, the earth (10^25 kg) creates a very small, very tiny, frame dragging effect. Indeed, we have measured this using satellite experiments. So, the Earth (10^25 kg) ...
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Special relativity allows arbitrarily low travel times between two locations [duplicate]

I wish I had a good way of illustrating this, but anyway, doesn't the following travel strategy allow you to get anywhere in arbitrarily little time? You're at rest at the origin of space-time, and ...
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55 views

Two related questions about double-slit experiments moving at a relativistic speed

I was wondering as how would appear the interference pattern of a double-slit experiment moving at a relativistic speed v, 1) in the case of light and, 2) in the case wave matter (i.e. electrons for ...
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Do the laws of physics that apply to all observers also apply to a non-observer? [closed]

The Timelessness of a photon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ELA3ReWQJY An observer's laws of physics are time based. "When you're traveling at the speed of light, time does not exist" - Neil ...
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59 views

Gravitational atraction of fast object [duplicate]

Let's imagine a asteroid that travels with 0.99999999999999999c. (I know it's impossible). Anyway... Relativistic mass of such object would be almost equal to earth's stationary mass. Now let's ...
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Twins Paradox Paradox

I've recently has special-relativity explained to be in a rather elegant way. All objects travel at the speed of light in space time. Thus, when you travel faster through the three dimensions of ...
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53 views

Relatvity of Promise [closed]

Suppose there are two observers moving at a speed c/2 w.r.t. each other. Now they won't agree on simultaneity of space separated events. Now they decide to host a race between two racers, with common ...
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Does physics recognize the particle of light separately from the wave of light? [closed]

To frame this question, we need to assume that time freezes when traveling at the speed of light. This is theoretically congruent with Einstein's theory of relativity and the theory of time dilation, ...
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Does time move slower at the equator?

While answering the question GPS Satellite - Special Relativity it occurred to me that time would run more slowly at the equator than at the North Pole, because the surface of the Earth is moving at ...
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Twin Paradox speed of light

Twin Paradox Can anyone clarify and or correct the following for me? A space ship is flying at speed v equal to 0.8 times the speed of light. Within the ship are three stations, a transmitter at ...
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GPS Satellite - Special Relativity

I'm going through an old relativity assignment, and I've been asked to calculate the time dilation for a satellite which orbits the earth in 12 hours at 26000km from the surface, and travels at a ...
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25 views

Action of the Poincare Group on a Scalar Function

Let $F(x^\mu)$ is a scalar function; i.e. $F(x^\mu): \mathbb{R}^{1,3} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$. How the Poincare Group $P(1,3)$ will act on it; i.e., by which formula I can calculate it for a specific ...
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139 views

Dilemma in race between muon and light

I have a dilemma concerning my understanding of Special Relativity. Maybe I am understanding or calculating something wrong and would hear so. The problem is based on muons created in the upper ...
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3answers
106 views

Is the Speed of Light an universal spacetime constant, the velocity of electromagnetic waves, or of photons?

This question has been touched tangentially by What's a better phrase than "speed of light" for the universal spacetime speed constant? and Could light travel more slowly than the ...
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208 views

Why do we say that light travels at a speed? [duplicate]

According to Einstein's theory of relativity, the more speed something has the slower that time passes for it; and presumably when traveling at the speed of light, time stops entirely. So this means ...
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Relativity of Simultaniety

In the first figure, A and B are two equidistant points from the observer O in S. In the second figure (reference frame S') the corresponding points are A'and B' such that A'O'=O'B', where O' is the ...
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Repulsion and attraction of electric currents

Now, I understand that when a an electron travels, it creates a magnetic field. If you put two wires with current traveling in the same direction they repel, and current traveling in opposite ...
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72 views

Why does Coulomb's law not hold for fast moving charges?

We all remember calculating the electric force of interaction between a stationary nucleus and a revolving electron using Coulomb's law. The electron in this case is moving. Here's what I think about ...
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32 views

Light cone and order of events?

If one event lies outside the light cone of another, can the events to some observers appear in a different order in one reference frame compared to the other, and is this the only time when this is ...
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69 views

Does speed in space really matter?

This is about validating the science from a science fiction novel. My understanding is that speed is all relative. So while I am in a car on the freeway my speed relative to another passenger is ...
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Problem on speed of light

As I was reading special relativity, my book says the speed of light is $c$ with respect to any other thing. Does that mean the speed of an individual photon is $c$ even with respect to another ...
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2answers
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Can matter be created from energy? [duplicate]

The small, hot, dense early universe the size of an atom was made up entirely of energy, it wasn't until after the expansion began and the universe cooled down some of that energy began converting ...
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Why time is considered a dimension?

Why time is considered to be a dimension? And the other 7 (except the 3 dimensions of space, and the dimension of time) dimensions that string theory suggests, why can't they be realized?
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Does anything at speed of light won't be able to see anything? [duplicate]

They say that if a object travels at the speed of light will be able to pause time only for that object, but if it travels at the speed of light, will the object will not see the light and see total ...
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1answer
113 views

Why doesn't light travel instantly? [duplicate]

I've read that the faster you travel in space, the slower you travel in time. And when you reach the speed of light (which we won't be able to) time will stand still. So when light travels at the ...
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Special relativity and electromagnets

This Veritasium video explains how electromagnets can be explained by special relativity, and how the magnetic field surrounding a current-carrying wire can also be viewed as an electric field, if ...
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How can the 'choice' of a photon said to be delayed?

My question arises from two ideas that seem to be contradictory. Idea One: Wheeler's Delayed Choice experiment is an interesting variation of the double slit experiment. Idea Two: In the "reference ...
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Since “coordinate time” has a very specific meaning, how to call more general parametrizations?

Recently I've learned that "coordinate time" assigned to a particular time-like spacetime path is not only required (1) to be monotonous and continuous and even differentiable wrt. the "proper time" ...
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How can we measure time?

If we cannot define a proper time (or synchronize clocks in different positions) in an inertial frame (independent with the theory of relativity), there seems to be no direct way to confirm the 2 ...
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3answers
618 views

Would a craft travelling increasingly close to the speed of light appear to be decelerating?

I've been pondering the implications of time dilation. Is it right to assume that if a craft was travelling at a speed very close to the speed of light (>= 0.9999c for example), that to an external ...
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209 views

Traveling between two planets at rest to one another [duplicate]

If I travel at relativistic speed from planet A to planet B which are at rest relative to one another, I will be younger than people on A or B when I arrive. However how does this mesh with the fact ...
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Do the Maxwell equations yield the proper time of electromagnetic waves?

I apologize in advance for possible errors in my premises as I have no precise knowledge of Maxwell equations. Proposals for the correction or even abandon of my question are welcome. As Maxwell ...
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Is speed of light invariant in different inertial frame?

Don't get angry at me. I believe in special relativity just as any scientist would. But reading this article http://arxiv.org/abs/0708.2687 I realize that actually I haven't done any experiments on ...