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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Minkowski spacetime vs Euclidian space

Two questions marked in bold: What is the magnitude of a Minkowski spacetime four velocity? I'm deducing that it is c for all observers, but I'd like it confirmed. In Euclidian space, a velocity ...
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4answers
406 views

Are Lorentz transformations linear transformations? [duplicate]

My textbook says that Lorentz transformations are linear transformations and present them as matrices. Lorentz transformations relate different coordinate systems with each other. It seems that ...
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90 views

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?
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165 views

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 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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241 views

Could velocity be taken as fundamental instead of time?

In physics time and length are taken as fundamental in the SI system and, as it seems, in the thinking of physicists. Could one instead take velocity, with c as its unit, together with length as ...
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Question about Origins in Galilean transformation

I'm just learning about relativity, and every equation I see for a galilean transformation of frame $S'$ (moving with uniform velocity in the $x$-direction with respect to frame $S$) is $x'=x-vt$, ...
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156 views

How do you go from quantum electrodynamics to Maxwell's equations?

I've read and heard that quantum electrodynamics is more fundamental than maxwells equations. How do you go from quantum electrodynamics to Maxwell's equations?
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1answer
85 views

Approaching speed of light: why do objects appear further away in front of me?

A Slower Speed of Light is a video game created by the MIT Game Lab which allows users to experience what it would be like if the speed of light was closer to normal walking/running speeds and thus ...
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At near light speeds, are small objects in your path a problem?

A mental exercise: A space ship is accelerating toward me from far away. As it approaches me, I can observe its acceleration. This high speed ship keeps accelerating faster toward the speed of light. ...
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2answers
140 views

Energy & Mass of a Photon [duplicate]

$$\text{Please read the whole question before answering}$$ Before I ask my question, I would like to say that "Yes, I do know a photon has no mass." I was helping someone here on P.SE with the ...
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1answer
136 views

Electric field generated by a point charge moving at the speed of light

As you see, this is the electric field generated by a point charge moving at constant speed v. I know that when $v$ -> 0, $E$ is just the Coloumb Law. But how do you interpret $E$ when $v$ -> $c$ ? ...
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85 views

Inertial frames

I'm just starting my study of relativity, and I have a rough understanding of the connection between inertial frames, newton's laws, and galilean transformations, but I'd probably benefit more if ...
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5answers
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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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2answers
201 views

A curious case of Relativistic Velocity Addition [duplicate]

The relativistic velocity addition formula is $$u = \frac{v+u'}{1+ \frac{vu'}{c^2}}$$ Where $u$ = velocity of projectile seen by rest observer "A" $v$ = velocity of moving observer "B" as seen by ...
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3answers
502 views

Physical reason for Lorentz Transformation

Seeing the mathematical derivation of the Lorentz Transformation for time coordinates of an event for two observers we get the term. Now how to make sense physically of the $t-\frac{vx}{c^2}$ ...
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Proving that interval preserving transformations are linear

In almost all proofs I've seen of the Lorentz transformations one starts on the assumption that the required transformations are linear. I'm wondering if there is a way to prove the linearity: Prove ...
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1answer
478 views

What is the meaning of Non-Relativistic theory in Condensed Matter Physics?

I an attempt to evade the Goldstone Theorem, it is argued in Gilbert and Klein and Lee's paper that in a non-relativistic field there exists a preferred direction which can be used to evade ...
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1answer
68 views

Prove that a derivative with respect to a covariant 4-vector is a contravariant vector operator

In special relativity, I know you can prove that the derivative with respect to a contravariant 4-vector component transforms like a covariant vector operator by using the chain rule, but I can't work ...
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Why are there no asteroids or meteoroids with relativistic speeds?

Cosmic rays can have energies going into the $10^{20}$ eV domain. Asteroids and meteoroids originating in the solar system are probably limited in their speed because they all started out from the ...
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3answers
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Speed greater than light in circular motion [duplicate]

We know that linear speed of object going around a circle is $\omega * r $ Now let us take an elastic string and rotate a body of negligible mass with $\omega = 500 rad/s$ It is possible to further ...
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9answers
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If photons have no mass, how can they have momentum?

As an explanation of why a large gravitational field (such as a black hole) can bend light, I have heard that light has momentum. This is given as a solution to the problem of only massive objects ...
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1answer
103 views

Is light so important in special relativity?

I'm an amateur physics enthusiast with no formal university education in Physics. So my question might sound very naive, so forgive me. I had this question in the back of my mind since the wrong ...
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2answers
162 views

Photons have no mass. So, why does $E = pc$ hold? [duplicate]

It's a somewhat theoretical question. In special relativity, The energy of a photon is given by $E = pc$. But, my argument is that, since photons have no mass, how can they have a momentum $p$? The ...
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2answers
45 views

Magnetic force and relative frame

The magnetic field for to a moving charge depend on its velocity (Biot Savart's law). My question is that is it then not frame dependent? If it is, it means if a man is walking and other is standing ...
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2answers
61 views

Would an object lose physical mass if it accelerated to a relativistic speed (would an object burn it's own mass)?

First of all, I have read other questions, and seen how an object gains mass just by gaining a lot of speed. But here, I am talking about losing some of that mass to convert the value into kinetic ...
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391 views

Mass-Energy relation

Einstein mass- energy relation states $E=mc^2$. It means if energy of a paricle increases then mass also increases or vice-versa. My question is that what is the actual meaning of the statement ...
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How do moving charges produce magnetic fields?

I'm tutoring high school students. I've always taught them that: A charged particle moving without acceleration produces an electric as well as a magnetic field. It produces an electric field ...
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3answers
64 views

Is sound relative when travelling fast?

If I was listening to music through my headphones and travelling close to the speed of light and time is slowing down around me , would the music slow down as well?
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1answer
82 views

Significance of angle in relativistic mass equation

I was playing with $$M=\frac{m_0}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}$$ and when I put $v=c\sin\theta$, I got $$M=m_0\sec\theta.$$ And this new equation is appearing so beautiful and attracting to me that I was ...
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3answers
157 views

Does this count as moving faster than light?

I'm not familiar with any complicated physics equation, however I do understand some basics. Suppose there is two objects, both of them are moving away from each other in a 3-dimensional space, which ...
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3answers
125 views

Can lightly-ionized atoms be accelerated to relativistic speeds with current technology?

I know there're lots of various particle accelerators, which can accelerate particles to TeV's of energy, but it seems they all work on electrons or nuclei or other elementary of tightly-bound ...
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2answers
87 views

How do we know that clocks slow down relative to each other? [duplicate]

For example if a body in motion experiences time dilation, why does it see a body at rest slow down relative to it? wouldn't it make more sense if the body at rest has a faster clock relative to it?
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1answer
51 views

Universal speed limit [duplicate]

Is there any reason the universe has matter not being able to exceed the speed of light, or why there is a speed limit in the first place? I know why it can't, meaning the basic physics of it. I ...
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1answer
69 views

If the mass of an object or system is a measure of its energy content, multiplied by speed of light squared…?

If the mass of an object or system is a measure of its energy content, multiplied by speed of light squared, does it mean that the total potential energy of the rest mass of object or entire system ...
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Can you run away from your shadow?

Now this might be a silly question but it's actually bugging me, this one might be easier to understand if you have kids that watch (or used to watch) Peppa Pig. In one of the episodes, about shadows, ...
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4answers
162 views

What is the intuition behind the Lorentz factor from Special Relativity

Time Dilation = $1/\sqrt{ 1-v^2/c^2}$ but why? How do you get to that conclusion? I know you use Pythagoras'theorem and my current understand goes like this: $$vt^2+ct^2=cT^2$$ then you take the ...
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1answer
864 views

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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76 views

Wick rotation and special relativity

CMIIW, but as I understand it, Wick rotation replaces the Minkowski basis (t,x,y,z) with the Euclidean basis (it,x,y,z). Suppose that $t_2=t_1 \cosh \beta+x_1 \sinh \beta$ and $x_2=t_1 \sinh \beta+x_1 ...
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2answers
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Consider relativity. If a stick accelerates from a stationary state, how will it look like during the acceleration?

I mean how it will be shortened in the sight of an observer in a stationary coordinate system. It seems I was not clear enough. If the stick becomes shorter, then while this is happening, the ...
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Deriving the Lorentz Transformation

I have been trying to understand a more or less geometric derivation of the Lorentz transformation, and I'm getting stuck at one spot. The wikipedia article for the Lorentz transformation for frames ...
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0answers
47 views

Deformation of light-cone

In the paper The geometry of free fall and light propagation by Ehlers and his colleagues (Gen. Relativ. Gravit. 44 no. 6, pp. 1587–1609 (2012)), when the authors introduce the differentiable ...
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What is the derivation of the speed of light $c$ that is not based on electromagnetism? [duplicate]

The "speed of light" is not just the speed of electromagnetic radiation, but of any massless particle. Therefore must not there be an expression for $c$ that is not in terms of $\mu_0$ and ...
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34 views

Conserved charge from conserved current associated with translational invariance

(c.f Di Francesco, 'Conformal Field Theory' P.45) Di Francesco calls the conserved charge arising from the conserved current associated with a translation invariant theory the 'four momentum'. While ...
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3answers
224 views

What is the speed of light relative to?

Consider the scenario where you measure the time it takes for light to travel to the left 10 meters and to the right 10 meters. Both measurements will take the same time, even though we are moving ...
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2answers
352 views

Is it possible to derive Lorentz transformation equation without Einstein's postulates?

Overview Einstein's proof for the Lorentz transformation is given here: From $O$'s view point, $x^2+y^2+z^2 = (ct)^2$. Form $O'$'s view point, $x'^2+y'^2+z'^2 = (ct')^2$. We find that Einstein ...
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a thought experiment in special relativity theory

We have two sets: set No.1 and set No.2 as in this picture: The observer is fixed to set No.1 . He sees set No.1 motionless and observes set No. 2 approaching with velocity 100,000 m/s. Each set ...
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What is $c + (-c)$?

If object A is moving at velocity $v$ (normalized so that $c=1$) relative to a ground observer emits object B at velocity $w$ relative to A, the velocity of B relative to the ground observer is $$ v ...
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1answer
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If we could reach very high speeds, could we measure the velocity of the Earth this way?

If we could reach (nearly) the speed of light with spaceships, could we measure the velocity of the Earth by launching three perpendicular rockets, accelerating them, and measuring how much fuel ...
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Beginner question: timelessness of massless particles [duplicate]

I am not very familiar with the quirkiness of relativity, and I was wondering how to explain this situation. If a beam of light is shining at some object at some distance from the origin of the beam, ...