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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If I am a light travel around Earth, what relativistic phenomenons do I have?

In school, or even in university, we are only taught Lorentz transformation in one direction. It is quite easy: $$\begin{align} t' &= \gamma \left( t - \frac{vx}{c^2} \right) \\ x' &= ...
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How would I relate $\Lambda=e^{-i\omega_{\mu\nu}J^{\mu\nu}/2}$ to the Lorentz boost matrix?

$\omega_{\mu\nu}$ contains infinitesimal parameters and $J^{\mu\nu}$ contains generators of boost and rotation. Any 4-vector transforms as $p^\mu=\Lambda^\mu_\nu p^\nu$. Starting from given ...
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Definition of a symbol $s_{NN}$ appearing in particle physics

What is the meaning of $s_{NN}$ in particle physics? See e.g. here http://www4.rcf.bnl.gov/brahms/WWW/thesis/karabowicz_phd_thesis.pdf page 18 in the pdf. What is its relation to energy? I ...
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75 views

What are the effects of increased mass on persons traveling at near light speed?

It's been a long time since I studied physics (and then only very superficially), so please bear with my gross naivete. This question's been running around in my head for about two weeks now, and I ...
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63 views

light falling on a completely reflecting friction less mirror

If you had a perfectly reflective mirror whose face was perpendicular to the ground and was kept on a friction less track on the ground, and you shined a flashlight on it, what would happen? Would ...
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Trying to understand relativistic action of a massive point particle

I got badly lost in derivation of relativistic formulas for energy and momentum. I stumbled upon relativistic action as follows (which should explain relativistic motion of a classical particle): $$ ...
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120 views

Spacelike to timelike four vectors

First at all, let me just say that I'm not a Physicist, I study mathematics. So, I have this question. If you have a spacelike four vector, is there any transformation that could change it to be a ...
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91 views

Causality and Simultaneity in special relativity

I am a little confused about the implications of special relativity on causality and simultaneity. Are the following two statements true? For two events A and B that are close enough in space and ...
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25 views

Time dilation: different clocks [duplicate]

The plane is flying with a speed u=300m/s. How much time Δt′ would have to pass for a passanger on that plane for time difference 1s to occur between the time Δt′ on the plane and the time Δt on the ...
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65 views

Why is my understanding of the second postulate of special relativity incorrect?

SR postulate 2 states that light propagates in free space at a defined velocity that is independent of the motion of the emitting source. Since velocity is a vector quantity, it is directional. In ...
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Does time pass slowly in water?

In water the speed of light is slower than it is in vacuum. By special relativity the speed of light is constant. Typically, for the basic explanation of special relativity a clock which has a mirror ...
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Which is proper time $(t_0)$ and improper time $(t')$?

A lighthouse has two blinking spotlights 0.4 meters apart. The spotlight on the right blinks 5 seconds after the one on the left. How much time elapses between the blinkings of the spotlights as ...
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Vector representations of Lorentz transformation in terms of $E$ and $p$

Hello everybody the things I understand are the transformation properties of a four vector given as $\tag{1} p^\mu = \Lambda^\mu_{\,\,\nu} p^\nu.$ and an arbitrarily boosted transformation is of the ...
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Every Relativistic Field Satifies the Klein-Gordon Equation?

I've read that every relativistic scalar field (and in some sense, any field) satisfies the Klein-Gordon equation. Is the reasoning for this just based on the quantum mechanical substitution of $E\to ...
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321 views

Do the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations have limited applicability because of retardation?

In the usual bookwork treatment, it is easy to show that the differential and integral forms of Maxwell's equations are equivalent using Gauss's and Stokes's theorems. I have always thought that ...
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Electric field, special relativity, and charged particle

Given a uniform electric field in the $z$ direction and an observer moving at constant $v$ in the $y$ direction, how you would describe the motion of a charged particle that start at rest in the ...
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Fermi's understanding of the Doppler effect

I am now reading the classic paper by Dicke, The Effect of Collisions upon the Doppler Width of Spectral Lines At the very beginning of the paper, Dicke said ''Quantum mechanically, the Doppler ...
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Relativistic beamed photon propulsion

I am analysing the flight profiles possible with a lightsail powered by a photon beam, up into the relativistic regime. In an inertial frame, the sail acceleration is $A$. The onboard acceleration ...
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60 views

Why is the Poincaré group non-abelian?

Based on what I've learned, I gather the Poincaré group is the group of isometries of Minkowski spacetime and it is a non-abelian Lie group. Why is it non-abelian? Or perhaps rather, does the fact ...
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114 views

Calculating length contraction at speed $c$ (not near it)

Is the Lorentz transform applicable to speeds that are lower than light only?Because I'm trying to calculate length contraction of objects moving at speed $c$ (not near it) and it turns always 0. Is ...
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2answers
168 views

Beat Frequency for Police Radar with Special Relativity

"A radar speed trap operates on a frequency $v_o = 109 Hz$. What is the beat frequency between the transmitted signal and one received after reflection from a car moving at v = 30 m/s toward the ...
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What does the statement “the laws of physics are invariant” mean?

In the first paragraph of Wikipedia's article on special relativity, it states one of the assumptions of special relativity is the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial ...
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Explain the notion of light/electromagnetic waves/photons to a non-physicist

A non-physicist asked me about special relativity. My explanations naturally were based on gedankenexperiments involving light. This forced the question: "What is light? It is particles, isn't? Or is ...
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135 views

How does light actually behave?

Senario: I am walking 5 meters/second and have a laser pointer that I shoot a burst of light from perpendicular to to the path I am walking on. Would the light travel perpendicular to the path from ...
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Twin paradox - a further variant

I am still troubled by the "twin" paradox (thanks to those who have answered my previous question and suggested some reading which I will follow up). I have however thought of a variation on the ...
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Why do things slow down when you move faster, rather than speed up?

I've been trying to get to grips with SpaceTime. As I understand it, we move at a set rate through spacetime. Any increase in our rate of travel through space results in a decrease in our rate of ...
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What does memorylessness mean as a postulate of special relativity?

I was reading the wiki page on special relativity postulates. And wiki says, The two-postulate basis for special relativity is the one historically used by Einstein, and it remains the starting ...
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41 views

Forward and Behind Frames of Reference

It's my understanding that light travels at the same speed in all inertial frames of reference. Suppose there's a small train car 5 feet long (at our rest point of view) traveling at a constant speed ...
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86 views

Can photons “stop time”?

If traveling past the speed of light causes time to reverse than does traveling in time make time "stop"? If not then how do photons/mass-less particles experience time, if at all.
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Basic Relativistic Question - length measurement

A while ago we did an easy, introductory exercise on length measurement. Back then it seemed pretty straightforward but now when I look at it I have trouble understanding the assumption which led to ...
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135 views

Lorentz transformation paradox

I got to solve a simple exercise about special relativity when I kinda came to the conclusion it doesn't stroke with my intuition. The homework-problem The problem was about two people Sam and ...
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1answer
99 views

Energy for acceleration towards speed of light is relative?

This seems a very simple question - and I guess it will turn out to be so. It's a given that accelerating particles with mass towards the speed of light takes more and more energy (ultimately an an ...
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2answers
360 views

Lorentz-Transformation in a closed loop (Sagnac)

I have a problem transforming from one system to another when the direction of motion is changed. To demonstrate the problem I'll set up an easy example with intuitive numbers: enlarge ↵ left: ...
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Metric tensor in SRT

I just read on this webpage that we have (click me) $g_{\alpha \beta} = g_{\alpha}^{\beta} = g^{\alpha \beta}.$ Now, although I understand that the first and the last one are equal, I don't think ...
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Why photons are having energy when they are massless? [duplicate]

As per the Einstein equation $E=mc^2$, the energy of the particle is depends on the mass of the particle. Or else in other terms the energy is proportional to the mass. If the photons are having zero ...
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Is anything without mass an EM wave?

For the longest time I thought the distinction between matter wave and other types of wave is the non-relativist mass of the "thing" under discussion. Photons are EM wave, electrons are matter waves. ...
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Times at relativistic speeds

Consider an observer $A$ moving in a spaceship at a speed close to $c$, relative to an observer $B$. The $B$ knows that the time on $A$ runs slower, but in the inertial frame of $A$, $B$ is moving ...
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Special Relativity - three body problem

I have a problem with solving three-body problem in special relativity. I know that in general this problem doesn't have good solution, but I have a specific case when it should be good answer. ...
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1answer
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Space-like pion electromagnetic form factor

The 1986's publication "A measurement of the space-like pion electromagnetic form factor" (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0550-3213(86)90437-2) starts with: The pion form factor has been measured in ...
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Uniqueness of the equivalence class of inertial frames

Let us define an inertial frame as a frame of reference where the laws of physics take their usual form, as opposed to non intertial frames where one has to introduce pseudo-forces. We can further ...
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213 views

How can we show that the speed of light is really constant in all reference frames?

I had a debate with a friend who cannot believe that the speed of light is constant. He said something like: so what if in the Michelson-experiment the moving apparatus simply added a constant ...
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143 views

Basic Assumption in the Time Dilation Equation Derivation

I am familiar with the way the time dilation equation is derived since I was introduced to it in my sophomore college physics class. It's the standard derivation of a stationary observer watching a ...
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Time reversal in classical electrodynamics

It is known that classical electrodynamics is time reversal invariant if one assumes that the transformation laws under such operation are $$\mathbf E(t,\mathbf x)\mapsto\mathbf E(-t,\mathbf x)$$ ...
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Why does choosing a time break covariance?

I'm reading that in EM theory, in hamiltonian formalism, we choose a specific reference frame with a specific time, and that this breaks covariance. Why? Surely it's simple because it's just stated ...
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151 views

Special relativity - twin paradox explored

A thought experiment. A person on the Earth has a clock. Another person who also has a clock is in a rocket ship passing the Earth travelling at 50% the speed of light. They synchronise watches as ...
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Is there a general theorem stating why the restricted Lorentz group's exponential map is surjective?

The exponential map for the restricted Lorentz group is surjective. An outline of why is shown on the wiki page Representation Theory of the Lorentz Group. Is there a more general theorem that states ...
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5answers
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Does spacetime have a “preferred” speed/metric? [duplicate]

I read recently that spacetime has a preferred speed, c, and that all observers would agree on the speed of anything moving at c. In particular, there is nothing unique about light when talking about ...
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2answers
304 views

Einstein's first postulate implies the second?

Einstein's two postulates of special relativity are as follows, 1. The principle of relativity: The laws of physics are the same in all inertial systems. There is no way to detect absolute ...
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Do GR and SR have to be considered together to determine time dilation? [duplicate]

In another related question: How to connect Einstein's Special Relativity(SR) with General Relativity(GR)? , John Rennie stated that SR is a subset (or rather can be derived from) GR, but not vice ...
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What is the relativistic mass of this spinning ball? [closed]

Relativistic Mass is: $$ m_r = \frac{m}{\sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}} $$ So Einstein says that the faster an object moves, the more mass it gains (relativistic mass). So suppose you have a spherical ball ...