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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A possible absolute reference system

What about considering the microwave background radiation (2.7K if I remember well) as a reference system with some absolute character? Please explains if this question make sense and possible ...
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A Paradox in Special Relativity

Two inertial frames K and k’ are considered. They are in relative uniform motion along the x-x’ direction with relative speed =v. In the frame K’ we have a cuboidal piece of dielectric [at rest wrt ...
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The time component is $\gamma m c$, so shouldn't $E=mc$?

Basically, the book is Brian Cox's Why Does $E=mc^2$?: (And Why Should We Care?). I just finished Chapter 5, where we derived the spacetime momentum vector (energy-momentum four vector, as he ...
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On BE and FD Statistics

Lets consider the Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics: Bose-Einstein statistics: $$\langle n_i\rangle = \frac{1}{\exp{[(\epsilon_i-\mu)/kT]} - 1}$$ Fermi-Dirac statistics: $$\langle ...
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Inertial frames of reference

I'm struggling with the notion of an inertial frame of reference. I suspect my difficulty lies with the difference between Newtonian and relativistic inertial frames, but I can't see it. I've read ...
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Lorentz Transformation via Geometry

Today, I was tutoring and explained the space-time. I explained how one can convert North-South into West-East by rotating, and how you can convert time into space with velocity. Below the ...
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Why Negative Energy States are Bad

The argument is often given that the early attempts of constructing a relativistic theory of quantum mechanics must not have gotten everything right because they led to the necessity of negative ...
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Metric tensor of coordinate transformation

How do you find a metric tensor given a coordinate transformation, $(t', x', y', z') \rightarrow (t, x, y, z)$? Our textbook gives a somewhat vague example as it skips some steps ...
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Galilean transformation in relativity

Assume flat spacetime in a general relativistic framework (or special relativity for that matter) and two observers $A$ and $B$, with non-vanishing velocity relative to each other. We know that they ...
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About the Ether Theory acceptance

Why was the Ether Theory refused by Modern Physics? If you please explain me, I just wanted to understand it more.
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why evaluate at lambda = 0

I am trying to understand Herbert Goldstein's introduction to 4-vectors. He describes a 1-D curve in spacetime $ P_(\lambda) $ then he says a 4 vector is defined as the tangent vector to this curve ...
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why is time order invariant in timelike interval?

why do two observers measure the same order of events if we are inside the light cone? (e.g. if ds^2 > 0 time order is preserved according to the class mech book I am reading, but it doesn't give any ...
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Does $E$ really equal $mc^2$?

I'm currently in a debate with a co-worker. If mass is sped up to the speed of light, does the mass become energy?
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what is the kinematics of a particle with complex mass?

particles with real-mass have time-like kinematics ($ds^2 > 0$). particles with zero-mass have light-like kinematics ($ds^2 = 0$). particles with imaginary-mass have space-like kinematics ($ds^2 < ...
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Is there a contradiction of the theory of relativity here? — Length contraction and EMR amplitude

Suppose there is a laser beam powerful enough to burn through iron aimed at a piece of iron. You observe this event while you are in the same frame as the piece of iron and the laser-beam generator. ...
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Does a photon in vacuum have a rest frame?

Quite a few of the questions given on this site mention a photon in vacuum having a rest frame such as it having a zero mass in its rest frame. I find this contradictory since photons must travel at ...
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How does Newtonian gravitation conflict with special relativity?

In the Wikipedia article Classical Field Theory (Gravitation), it says After Newtonian gravitation was found to be inconsistent with special relativity, . . . I don't see how Newtonian ...
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Can an “absolute” frame of reference be determined by measuring the compression of light?

General relativity tells us that there is no absolute frame of reference (actually, it tells us that all frames are relative, which is close but not the same as there is no absolute frame). Special ...
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What happens to speed and frequency of a light beam moving in transparent medium when observed from different inertial frame of reference?

Suppose a transparent medium where speed of light is $c/n$, an inertial frame of reference $K$ which is stationary relatively to the medium and an inertial frame of reference $K'$ which is moving ...
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Relative Synchronicity

Einstein said that the synchronization of two clocks is dependant on the velocity of the observer. But I feel a conceptual contradiction can be made: There are two observers A and B. Observer 'A' ...
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Measuring a Rod in Motion with two Synchronized Clocks

An explanation of special relativity I'm struggling with, goes like this: A rod traveling by a "stationary" observer has its length measured by use of two stationary synchronized clocks (synchronized ...
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Relativistic effects

When are relativistic effects justifiably negligible? (I know that that is true for 'small velocities', but how small is 'small enough'?) 0.1c, 0.01c, etc.? And how does one properly justify that? I ...
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What are the mechanics by which Time Dilation and Length Contraction occur?

What are the mechanics of time dilation and length contraction? Going beyond the mathematical equations involving light and the "speed limit of the universe", what is observed is merely a phenomenon ...
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Can the CPT theorem be valid if Lorentz invariance is only spontaneously broken?

Earlier, I asked here whether one can have spontaneous breaking of the Lorentz symmetry and was shown a Lorentz invariant term that can drive the vacuum to not be Lorentz invariant. How relaxed are ...
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The derivation of the Belinfante-Rosenfeld tensor

It seems me that there is a "difference" (at least apparently) in how the Belinfante-Rosenfeld tensor is thought of in section 7.4 of Volume 1 of Weinberg's QFT book and in section 2.5.1 of the ...
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If it turns out that neutrinos do travel at faster than lightspeed, how will the success of special relativity be explained?

As per in the title. If it turns out that neutrinos do travel faster than the speed of light, how will the success of special relativity be explained? My apologies if this has been asked before; I've ...
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Does the Special Theory of Relativity “form” the foundation of Modern Physics?

Does the Special Theory of Relativity "form" the foundation of Modern Physics? My question is in reference to Geoff Brumfiel's Scientific American article "Particles Found to Travel Faster than Speed ...
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Why Lorentz Transformation in Special Relativity has to be like this?

Basically I think Albert Einstein (A.E.) was trying to find a transformation that: Always transform a constant-velocity movement into a constant-velocity movement. Always transform a ...
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Is General Relativity applicable for all coordinate systems?

My understanding was that relativistic physics can be expressed in any inertial coordinate system, but not arbitrary systems. That is, no experiment can determine if we are "still" or "moving" at a ...
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Do the particles that were found to break the speed of light really break Einstein's theory of relativity? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What would be the effects on theoretical physics if neutrinos go faster than light? Update: Loose cable caused faulty results Apparently, researchers at CERN have found ...
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speed of light flashlights question

This might be a silly question but I take the risk because it's been puzzling me for quite some time : If you have 2 flashlights, one facing North and one facing South, how fast are the photons (or ...
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What happened to the idea of tachyonic or other superluminal neutrinos?

While hunting around for information about the recent OPERA measurement that hints at superluminal neutrinos, I discovered that this idea was actually considered back in the 1980s. Wikipedia lists as ...
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Looking for specific Relativity example

Many years ago (in the '70s I think) I read an explanation of the meaninglessness of simultaneity at large distances. The example had to do with two people walking along a sidewalk in opposite ...
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Introduction to relativity books for an engineer [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Getting started general relativity I am an engineer who loves to read science fiction books especially when there's more science than fiction but usually I see that I ...
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What do physicists mean when they say “speed of light”?

Does it make sense to say, "The speed of light varies?" Some may say right off the bat "Yes, it changes as a wave passes through a different medium." However, I'd like to say no, because when I hear ...
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Naïve relativistic schrodinger equation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are higher order Lagrangians called 'non-local'? Bjorken and Drell presents the equation: $$i\hbar\frac{d\psi}{dt}=H\psi=\sqrt{p^2 c^2+m^2 ...
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How did L.H. Thomas derive his 1927 expressions for an electron with an axis?

I'm looking at the 1927 paper of Thomas, The Kinematics of an Electron with an Axis, where he shows that the instantaneous co-moving frame of an accelerating electron rotates and moves with some ...
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On Einstein's original paper: speed of light in different reference frames

On Einstein original paper "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies", on section 2 of the first part (Kinematics), the following thought experiment is described: a rod is imparted constant speed $v$ ...
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Exactly how is the constant measured velocity of light deduced from Maxwell's equation?

For electromagnetic radiation the velocity of propagation is $c = 1/\sqrt{\mu_0 \epsilon_0}$. Since both $\mu_0$ and $\epsilon_0$ do not vary in any inertial frame, then $c$ must be constant in any ...
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Knowledge needed to study and understand general and special relativity theory [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the prerequisites to studying general relativity? I'am 27 now and i have a burning desire to study math and physics from the ground up and I strongly prefer ...
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High speed and low speed photons

Looking at the discovery of the neutron, and I came across this page: http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/neutron/neutron3_1.htm The animation on the left, talks about low energy photons and ...
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Help Me Gain an Intuitive Understanding of Lorentz Contraction

I'm having a hard time getting an intuitive understanding of Lorentz Contraction. I understand what it is by definition but I don't 'get it.' I'm not a physicist, just an amateur, so sorry if this ...
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Does a photon see a 0-D universe?

For a massless particle the spacetime interval between its point of emission and point of absorption is zero: the two points coincide. From the vantage point of such a particle space-time has reduced ...
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Reflection At Speed of Light

I have looked online to no avail. There is two competing answers and I am curious to know which one is right. Someone asked me this question. If you are traveling at the speed of light can you see ...
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How to measure faster than light electric energy?

According to relativity,nothing can break light barrier.But a recent preprint shows energy transmission of commercial electric power (f=60Hz) is faster than light. (It is not the drift velocity of ...
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Pair production kinematics

In the process $A\rightarrow B+C$ If we know the energy and momentum four vectors of B and C, then how can we find the momentum three vector of A. The particular proces I have in mind is pair ...
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a priori validity of $W=\int Fdx$ in relativity?

There are lots of different ways of arriving at the relativistic relations involving mass, energy, and momentum such as $E=mc^2$ and $m^2=E^2-p^2$ (the latter with $c=1$). One that I've seen in some ...
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Transformation of angles in special relativity

My question is about the problem below Depicted are two space ships (the USS Voyager and the USS Enterprise), each with velocity $v=c/2$ relative to the space station (Babylon 5). At the exact ...
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How does (or can) SR/GR extend to phase space or symplectic manifolds?

I'm asking this question because of an article in New Scientist about a recent preprint by a group including Lee Smolin. I haven't taken the time to comprehend the paper completely. My knowledge of ...
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Must the action be a Lorentz scalar?

Page 580, Chapter 12 in Jackson's 3rd edition text carries the statement: From the first postulate of special relativity the action integral must be a Lorentz scalar because the equations of ...