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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Composition of Lorentz Transformations

If a particle is moving in the $x$-direction with velocity $c/2$, then the Lorentz transformation $\Lambda = \begin{pmatrix}\gamma & -\beta \gamma & 0 & 0 \\ -\beta \gamma & \gamma ...
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Would Special Relativity Predict Time Dilation of a Geostationary Satellite Compared to an Observer on Earth?

Consider a geostationary satellite at some arbitrary distance above the Earth's equator and consider a person directly below it, standing on the Earth's equator. Both satellite and person exist on the ...
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Special Relativity - Distance Not Increased?

I just watched the movie Interstellar and the question was asked of why/how high-speed travel would slow time within an area. Curious as I am, I watched several YouTube videos to quickly 'educate' ...
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Why magnetic field lines and force are not orthogonal with magnets?

The below explanation why magnetism exists is superb in this video. The explanation about magnets is also great in this video. A magnet has atoms with unpaired electrons forming mini magnets. The ...
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Why does the minus sign in the Minkowski metric mean that nothing can move backwards in time?

I just watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkCWywO93b8#t=27 and there Mr. Cox states that because of the minus sign in the Minkowski metric nothing can move backwards in time. It's ...
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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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Speed of light yes or no? [closed]

First off I am not a physics student: I am more of a science enthusiast. My question pertains to time and the speed of light: According to Einstein, no mass can travel at the speed of light. Now, ...
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Intrinsic CPT phase

Under charge conjugation C, spatial inversion P and time reversal T transformations, there are possible intrinsic phases (more for this on Chapter 9, The Quantum Theory of Field v1 by S. Weinberg): ...
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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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Einstein's mass-energy equivalence [closed]

Einstein's wonder equation $E=m c^2$,if we take energy is proportional to the mass, we can put single constant to make that equivalent equation. We all know that ...
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Two clocks along different worldlines

I have been reading and watching videos about this subject for a while now. I just can not seem to grasp the idea. Let's say we have two clocks. I leave one at home and keep one in my pocket. Then, ...
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Relativistic Kinematics - 2-Body Particle Decay

Consider the scenario where a particle of mass $M$ decays into two lighter particles of mass $m_1$ and $m_2$. In the center of mass frame (i.e. $\mathbf{p}_1$ and $\mathbf{p}_2$, the momenta of the ...
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Doppler shift for a uniformly accelerating observer

This was given in textbook as an example. An observer on a spaceship with a four velocity $u$ is approaching from $x = +\infty$ a star at rest in the reference frame $S$ while undergoing constant ...
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Could any object have zero mass? [duplicate]

Energy and mass are interrelated. As everything has energy could any object be massless? For example a photon is a packet of energy but still it is considered to be a massless particle. Why is it so?
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Imaginary time?

If we begin with the equation for time dilation: $$ \Delta t^\prime = \frac{\Delta t}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}} $$ Now, for a particle moving in space with no potential energy, $$ E = \frac{1}{2} ...
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Polarization vector identity in Minkowski space?

Playing around with numerical light-like momenta $p^\mu_1,p^\mu_2$ (light-like meaning ${p_1}^\mu {p_1}_\mu={p_2}^\mu {p_2}_\mu=0$) and corresponding circular polarization vectors ...
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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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SR: constant acceleration wordline simultaneity

A worldline $W$ with constant acceleration $a$ is given parametrically by $$t=\frac{c}{a} \sinh(\frac{a \tau}{c}), \quad x=\frac{c^2}{a} \cosh(\frac{a \tau}{c}).$$ Let $E=(0,0,0,0)$. I showed that for ...
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SR: vector field and change of reference [closed]

If $U$ and $V$ are vector fields, then the derivative of $U$ along $V$ is the vector field $\nabla _V U$ with components $$\nabla _V U^a=V^b \frac{\partial U^a}{\partial x^b}.$$ I would like to verify ...
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Special relativity mirror clock experiment inconsistency

Say I set up a relativistic mirror clock experiment in which a spaceship contains a set of mirrors with a photon bouncing between them. Say the photon's motion is parallel to the direction of motion ...
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2answers
240 views

Does space between objects contract?

I had a question, let us assume a coordinate system where there is 2 objects moving at relativistic speeds (at same velocity) for the observer therefore the observer will observe the length ...
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27 views

Would you be able to see yourself in a mirror in front of you as you two are in a room traveling at the speed of light? [duplicate]

Veritasium talked about this in one video. If you are in a room or a train, plane, car or whatever just a closed space traveling at the speed of light and you put a mirror in front of you, could you ...
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Is there experimental evidence supporting the equivalence principle between different particles?

Knowing virtually nothing of GR, and only hints of particle theory, this might be something of a naive question. If I've misunderstood somethings, I would gladly like to know why. Perhaps a more ...
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Space and time variant? But together invariant?

I admit I'm having difficulty with spacetime. I don't understand how unifying space and time, seemingly variant quantities, results in an invariant spacetime. All texts and references talk about using ...
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How can we justify dropping the absolute time hypothesis?

In some approaches to Special Relativity the theory is motivated talking about the Michelson-Morley experiment and how this relates to the postulate that the speed of light is the same in every ...
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173 views

Twin paradox…what happens to the ship?

The earth bound twin looks up and sees his travelling twin moving slower inside his spaceship because he is whizzing by at some percent speed of light. But what does the motion of the ship itself ...
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Deriving the Lorentz factor

Recently, I learned how to derive E = mc^2. However, to do so, one must accept the relativistic mass equation. How does one derive this?
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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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Propagation speed of photons when taking higher-order QFT corrections into account

In our group of experimental physicist who have nothing to do with and know very little about quantum field theory, we recently had a question concerning the propagation speed of photons in vacuum: ...
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Is the universe a quantum computer - is light speed barrier a computational constraint

There is currently a debate ongoing on leading maths blog Gödel’s Lost Letter, between Gil Kalai and Aram Harrow, with the former arguing that building a quantum computer may not be possible due to ...
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Why collide a moving particle with a particle at rest, rather than two moving particles?

I was just reading some lecture notes about relativistic and quantum mechanics, and in the later part of this page the author demonstrates that any relativistic particle collision in the "lab" ...
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How do I derive the Lorentz contraction from the invariant interval?

Reviewing some basic special relativity, and I stumbled upon this problem: From the definition of the proper time: $$c^2d\tau^2=c^2dt^2-dx^2$$ I was able to derive the time dilation formula by using ...
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Why are the proper time and the proper length not defined in the same frame of reference?

I've just read this interesting Wikipedia article about time dilation and length contraction in special relativity. . Derivation of time dilation Applying the above postulates, consider the ...
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Is $E=mc^2$ false?

Recently, I found a YouTube video saying that $$E=mc^2$$ is false. It says that the real one is $$ E^2=m^2 c^4 + p^2 c^2 $$ where $E$: energy, $m$: mass, $c$: speed of light and $p$: momentum. Is ...
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Rindler and Minkowski space future/past infinity

In my black holes course, we are looking at the Penrose diagram for 1+1 D Minkowski space. My notes don't specifically describe $i^{\pm}$ (future/past timelike infinity) but do say all timelike curves ...
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In $1$-dimensional space, how would the gravity generated by an electron affect a photon moving away from the electron if the photon can’t slow down?

Suppose we had a universe obeying the same physical laws as our own. But it had only one spatial dimension (represented by the $x$ axis) and it was totally empty. There are just two point-like ...
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What is $E$ in the Planck-Einstein relation?

The Planck-Einstein relation was first given for photons $$E = h\nu$$ But later, de Broglie extended it to matter waves, and showed that it would hold for all particles as well. The $E$ for a photon ...
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Energy transfer using quantum entanglement

Can we transfer energy from one place to another separated by arbitrarily large distances without any time lag? For instance, if Alice and Bob are two observers making measurements having a singlet ...
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Is the change in kinetic energy of a particle frame independent?

Intuitively, I would expect the change in kinetic energy of a particle to be frame independent. It just doesn't "feel" right that between two points in time-space, one frame should measure a change in ...
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why is the magnetic field circular

According to relativity, If magnetic field is just an electric field viewed from a different frame of reference, why is the magnetic field around the wire is circular?
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Relativity asymmetry?

If you have two bodies that move towards each other at a constant velocity, each body will observe the other body experience time faster. This does not make sense to me because if you had a person ...
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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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Thought experiment: Tethered galaxies - to the extreme

If two rocks were tied together with a tight, absurdly long, non-elastic rope, and placed on planets at either end of Earth's observable universe - or beyond - What would happen? Is the structural ...
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Does Bell's theorem sort out local field theories?

For example the Maxwell's equations is a local theory. It's a set of differential equations that describe how should the state at a point change based on its neighbourhood. Counter example: Newtonian ...
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Detecting absolute motion inside a box

This is not a contradiction and I know it is impossible but still consider a thought experiment by me and point out if something is wrong. See the following picture and then the explanation follows. ...
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Is a nuclear bomb in some sense a bullet travelling at the speed of light, but along time rather than along space?

Apologies if this is a silly or perhaps obvious question, but $E=mc^2$ just looks so much like classical kinetic energy (except for the factor of 2). So I'm thinking of the to-be-fissioned-away ...
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380 views

If two observers pass each other in opposite directions at $.5c$ what would effect on each others clocks be?

Assume an alternate universe with same physical laws as here. In this universe nothing exists except 3 observers, each in a transparent box with a clock. Observer A is travelling at .5c. Observer C is ...
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535 views

Why does weak equivalence principle say gravity is equivalent to acceleration?

I am told that the weak equivalent principle, that $m_i=m_g$ (inertial and gravitational masses are equivalent) is equivalent to the statement that in a small system you can't tell whether you are in ...
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Reunion condition in the Twin Paradox

In the Twin Paradox two twins initially at rest in the same reference frame are separated and take different journeys through spacetime. Eventually they are reunited. What is the condition for the ...
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What is the difference between these two equation dealing with time dilation?

In my textbook, the time dilation equation is presented as $\Delta t' = \gamma \Delta t,$ where $ \gamma = 1/ \sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2} $. My understanding of this equation is as follows (correct me if I'm ...