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 a spaceship were to be able to travel at light speed, would it pass through objects undamaged? Would it damage/destroy objects?

We know, not just by scientific theory, but by practice (I have seen it with my own eyes), that an increase in velocity increases the mass of the given object proportionally. One day visiting a ...
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101 views

Lightspeed (invariance) measurement methods

I would like to know, how measurements of the speed of light are conducted these days, especially in the context of the invariance of $c$. Do all the methods involve mirrors to redirect the photons ...
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Relativity of simultaneity example in Resnick

My question is a follow-up to this question about simultaneity. I would have posted it as a comment to the replies for that question, but I wasn't allowed to. When Resnick introduces relativity of ...
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55 views

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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78 views

Interpretation of space time Minkowski diagram [closed]

How to interpret the following space-time diagram in the image. I know how to interpret euclidean distance from Euclidean space diagram omit the line "whereas for Euclidean space".
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Velocity in frame $S$ and $S'$

If I take the Lorentz position transforms between two inertial frames, $S$ and $S'$ moving with relative velocity $u$ along a common axis (say $x-x'$), then: $$x'=\gamma(x- ut)$$ $$y'=y$$ $$z'=z$$ ...
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184 views

How did Einstein come up with his postulates for Special Relativity using thought experiments on simultaneity?

In his popular book on relativity, in chapter IX, "The relativity of simultaneity", Einstein describes an experiment in which a flash happens simultaneously on A and B, as defined by the fact that an ...
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Lorentz invariance?

What exactly is meant by Lorentz invariance? Is it just an experimental observation, or is there a theory that postulates it? What quantities do we expect to be Lorentz invariant? Charge? Charge ...
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385 views

The scissor paradox: can we pass the information faster than light? [duplicate]

click to view the image Before I start, I want to say that this is not a duplicate of "Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light by using a rigid pole?", Since point A is ...
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Are signal fronts in a beam not at rest to each other?

I'd like to investigate how the notion of "mutual rest" might be applied consistently, but distinctively, in the following thought experiment: Consider a light source ("$A$") which directs a beam ...
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How would an electron bunch/beam look different in the rest and lab frames?

With respect to special relativity, I was wondering how the spatial dimensions would differ between the rest and LAB frame of an electron beam. System: Electron bunch/beam traveling in linear motion. ...
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268 views

Length contraction and angle change

I am new to special theory of relativity and it puzzles me at some points. For example, if we have a rod of length 1 meter, tilted at angle of 45 degrees ( x axis) and it moves at the speed of ...
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434 views

Is time dilation real? [duplicate]

If a body with an accurate clock is moving away from A which is stationary, then the time in B would be slower than that in A. Since relative to B A would have an equal velocity time in A would be ...
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165 views

Can the apparent velocity of an approaching spacecraft be faster than light?

Consider watching an alien space ship at Alpha Centauri (at 4.5 light years away) through a telescope from earth. This space ship turns towards us, and starts travelling toward us at what appears to ...
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225 views

Does the velocity of a light source influence the light

I have only just finished High school physics so my understanding is still fairly simple but I'm having trouble with this question. Imagine you are in space traveling at a relativistic speed with a ...
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1answer
157 views

Who popularized $E=mc^2$?

When asking a layman for a mathematical or physical equation you will almost certainly get the answer "$E$ equals $m$ $c$ squared". In fact, $E=mc^2$ is something like a symbol of physics in popular ...
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718 views

Proving Lorentz invariance of Maxwell equations

I've read somewhere that one does not need to prove Lorentz invariance of the Maxwell equations $F_{\mu\nu,\sigma}+F_{\nu\sigma,\mu}+F_{\sigma\mu,\nu}=0$ because it is "manifestly Lorentz invariant" ...
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135 views

A confusion in the Derivation of Lorentz Transformation

My doubt is in the equation (1) and (2). Aren't x,y and z also the radiuses? EDIT Thank you guys for trying to give a wonderful explanation but I figured out the answer myself and it was just my ...
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314 views

Why do we use the complexification of the Lorentz group?

I do understand why we are using the double cover, but why exactly do we make the transition to complex Lorentz transformations? Where and why are they needed? To be precise: The double cover of ...
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250 views

Trying to rhyme Peskin and Schroeder with Weinberg

This is a follow up question of this one. In the Vol 1, Weinberg derives how a unitary operator $U(\Lambda)$ acts on one-particle states, which is given by equation (2.5.2): \begin{equation} ...
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131 views

Question about Weinberg's derivation of a one-particle states under the Poincare group

I'm reading QFT: Vol 1 by Weinberg and I have a (perhaps trivial) question about a statement he makes on page 63. I can follow him to his derivation of equation (2.5.2): \begin{equation} P^\mu ...
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215 views

Spinor formalism in QFT

We can describe fields by two formalisms: vector and spinor. This is the result of possibility of representation of the Lorentz's group irreducible rep as straight cross product of two $SU(2)$ or two ...
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403 views

Why does Lorentz factor not hold for relativistic mass when we apply it to photons? [duplicate]

We know that the photon itself is massless particle $m_0=0$. But we also know, that the mass of the objects does increase with their energy. And we know that under certain circumstances (gravity, ...
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394 views

Special Relativity - speed of light question

Just a basic question: I know that if you are traveling at $x$ speed the time will pass for you slower than to an observer that is relatively stopped. That's all just because a photon released at the ...
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1answer
115 views

particle accelerator in space

I'm attempting to learn special relativity and i'm having trouble calculating velocity and momentum for each part of the system after interactions. I wanted to know how fast a linear accelerator and ...
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164 views

Why is energy-momentum 4-vector so much easier to explore/observe than spacetime 4-vector

I have read that spacetime 4-vector is quite difficult to observe/explore and that energy-momentum 4-vector is much more appropriate for CERN etc. Why is that? Could anyone give me a brief ...
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445 views

deriving a Lorentz transfomation for velocity vector components

If $S'$ and $S$ are two different inertial reference frames and $S$ moves along the $x$ axis of $S$ in a standard configuration, then the Lorentz transformation will be: $$x'=\gamma(v)[x-\beta ct]$$ ...
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Time dilation $t'=(1-\frac{v}{c})t$ instead of $t'=\frac{1}{\gamma} t$

Suppose we have a train moving. When the origin of train's frame coincides with the origin of observers frame; the the time is set to zero. At that very instant, a photon is emitted from train towards ...
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273 views

An accelerating and shrinking train in special relativity

Suppose when a train is at rest, it has a length of $L$. Let the position of the back of the train at any time be $A$, and let the position of the front of the train at any time be $B$. Now assume ...
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139 views

Does the sign of $\Delta x$ matter in this time dilation calculation?

I cannot for the life of me figure out what I am doing wrong with this problem: If a high speed particle travels a distance of 39 Km with a half life of 1 micro sec, what must its speed be to travel ...
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Lorentz Invariance of Maxwell Equations

I am curious to see a simple demonstration of how special relativity leads to Lorentz Invariance of the Maxwell Equations. Differential form will suffice.
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2k views

Einstein's Famous Thought Experiment Contradiction

Putting Special Relativity into the General Relativity category as is current practices submerges important aspects of Einstein's 1905 paper, which I recently read in a 1952 Dover paperback (The ...
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156 views

Do we need a quantum theory of gravity in order to describe photons blueshifted past planck energy?

If yes, then how does this accord with relativity: the laws of physics are the same in all reference frames? We can move from a reference frame in which the photon has near zero energy density, to a ...
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What is the definition of density in a relativistic context?

In this question, there seems to be a clear presence of ambiguity, which raises the question: what is density in relativity? First of all, the question asks for the relativistic mass, "the apparent ...
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39 views

Textbook for relativity: modern version of Bondi's Relativity and Common Sense?

I am looking for a textbook on relativity for school children. A background in simple vector based mechanics could be assumed. Primarily it needs to be readable at high school English reading level ...
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48 views

Magnetic force and frames of reference

I'm having a hard time trying to understand the next situation: Suppose that I have a magnet that creates a quite uniform magnetic filed $\vec B$. In the vicinity of this magnet there is a particle ...
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1answer
47 views

Scalar products in the spinor helicity formalism

In A. Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (2nd edition), Chapter N.2, page 486, the momentum $p$ is written as a $2\times 2$ matrix: $$ p_{\alpha\dot{\alpha}} = p_{\mu} ...
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27 views

Is Helicity an intrinsic property of massive Neutrinos?

Hyperphysics states that, unlike an electron, the helicity of a neutrino is invariant because we cannot change to a reference frame where it is different: This and subsequent experiments have ...
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103 views

If the vacuum is not “emptiness” why the speed of the electromagnetic wave is independent of the frame of reference?

If the vacuum were "emptiness" it were easy to accept that there is no "preferred frame of coordinates" and the light velocity is the same in any inertial frame of coordinates. But the vacuum is an ...
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Energy-Time Uncertainty Principle and Photons

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that: $$ \Delta E \cdot \Delta t \ge \frac{\hbar}{2} $$ It is clear that this has nothing to do with the accuracy of our measurements, but rather is a ...
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56 views

When talking about atomic mass, how is $E=mc^2$ factored in? [duplicate]

When talking about atomic mass in the periodic table of elements, is this number the mass of the element at rest? If I understand correctly, the (relativistic) mass of an element will increase as the ...
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78 views

Mathematical Definition of Locality

What is the mathematically precise definition of principle of locality in physics for a continuous space-time in the sense that an object is only directly influenced by its immediate surroundings?
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134 views

Magnetic force as a relativistic effect?

There is something I am confused about when it comes to the force between two parallel wires carrying current, specifically why when they carry current in the same direction the wires are always ...
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90 views

How does EM radition depend on the reference frame?

In special relativity, magnetism is electrostatics in a different reference frame. This is how we explain the magnetic field being produced by moving charges (aka currents). Charges that move produce ...
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83 views

Does a moving object really shrink due to length contraction? [duplicate]

Is length contraction an optical illusion? Does object really shrink? Though measurements say yes, does it really happen? Or I have to say object is really measured to shrink?
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38 views

Are 2 time intervals the same only for same speeds?

I'm only amateur in modern phsyics having read some about relativity theory and time measurements depending on relative movement. Is it true that 2 clocks measure time the same only if the relative ...
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1answer
80 views

Why don't clocks on a train read the same time?

Two clocks are positioned at the ends of a train of length $L$ (as measured in its own frame). They are synchronized in the train frame. The train travels past you at speed $v$. It turns out ...
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66 views

Timelike curves in Special Relativity

I have a question that probably might sound silly to most of you. We know that a natural Lorentz-invariant parametrization of a timelike curve is provided by: $$\tau$$ the Lorentz-invariant proper ...
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Special Relativity Question: Doppler shift

Imagine an observer watching a moving rocket carrying on it both, a light source and a clock. If on the rocket the clock is synchronized with the frequency of the light being emitted then will not a ...
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Coulomb's Law- Why the Coulomb's law is valid only for point and static charges?

Why the coulomb's law is valid only for point and static charges? Is there is any definite reason?