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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Meaning and logic of Einstein's train thought experiment

This seems to be a recurrent topic but I wasn't able to find any satisfactory discussion about this tought experiment. I will quote the original story from Einstein's and put my doubts inside: Up ...
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2answers
144 views

Einstein wrote $x^4=ict$, where $c$ is the speed of light. Does this mean the fourth dimension is moving? [closed]

Saw this on a forum: Einstein wrote$x^4=ict$, where $c$ is the speed of light. Does this mean the fourth dimension is moving? We can write $x^4=ict$ as $dx^4/dt =ic$. The fourth dimensions is thus ...
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0answers
49 views

If one flies by the sun at .9999999c, will it become a black hole? [duplicate]

If one flies by the sun at .9999999c, will it become a black hole? If one flies by the sun at .9999999c, its width will become tiny due to relativistic contraction, while its mass will augment ...
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0answers
23 views

Error in deriving constant acceleration relativistic distance

Bob accelerates away from Carol at proper acceleration $a$ (in light seconds per second), and Carol wants to know how far Bob has traveled when $t$ seconds pass in Bob's frame. Using ...
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2answers
64 views

Do Einstein's postulates of relativity emerge from the Minkowski spacetime metric?

Does the constancy of the speed of light for all observers naturally emerge from the Minkowski spacetime metric? Do Einstein's two postulates of relativity emerge from the Minkowski spacetime metric? ...
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1answer
94 views

Can $E=mc^2$ be derived from the Minkowski spacetime metric? $s^2=x^2+y^2+z^2-(ct)^2$?

Can $E=mc^2$ be derived from the Minkowski spacetime metric? $s^2=x^2+y^2+z^2-(ct)^2$? If so, how? Can the equivalence of mass and energy be derived from the Minkowski spacetime metric? Has someone ...
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1answer
334 views

Infinitesimal transformations for a relativistic particle

The action of a free relativistic particles can be given by $$S=\frac{1}{2}\int d\tau \left(e^{-1}(\tau)g_{\mu\nu}(X)X^\mu(\tau)X^\nu(\tau)-e(\tau)m^2\right).$$ If we then make an infinitesimal ...
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1answer
734 views

Why do we identify symmetric 2nd rank tensors with spin-2 particles in string theory?

I am going through Tong's lecture notes on String Theory and came across the following irrep decomposition (Chap 2, p.43) of the bosonic string first excited states: $$\text{traceless symmetric} ...
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4answers
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Is there an underlying physical reason why the Coriolis force is similar to the magnetic component of the Lorentz force?

I couldn't help but notice that the expression for the magnetic component of the Lorentz force, $$\mathbf F = q\,\mathbf v \times \mathbf B\,,$$ is very similar in its mathematical form to the ...
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1answer
25 views

Synchronization of clocks

I have read the book "Introduction to special relativity " by Robert Resnick In the book I have found that "If the distance between the clocks is L, one observer will see the other clock lag his by ...
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1answer
67 views

Plane Wave Solutions of the Dirac Equation

I'm trying to understand the plane wave solutions of the Dirac Equation. But I'm still a newbie on indices notation and contravariant and covariant objects. What I don't understand is how to get: ...
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2answers
194 views

Performing Wick Rotation to get Euclidean action of scalar field

I'm working with the signature $(+,-,-,-)$ and with a Minkowski space-stime Lagrangian $$ \mathcal{L}_M = \Psi^\dagger\left(i\partial_0 + \frac{\nabla^2}{2m}\right)\Psi $$ The Minkowski action is $$ ...
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2answers
3k views

Were Michelson-Morley results a surprise?

How unexpected were the Michelson-Morley experiment results? Did physicists have theoretical reasons to predict that the speed of light would result to be invariant?
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2answers
174 views

What's the max speed a man-made satellite can travel in space before its circuitry stopped working?

Assume it could withstand extreme temperatures in either direction. I'm mainly curious what would happen to its circuits as it approached the speed of light.
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1answer
54 views

Radiative equilibrium of a relativistic black body

A black body in empty space in the CMB rest frame should (discounting starlight) come to an equilibrium temperature of around 2.7 K. However, if the body is moving relative to the CMB frame, one side ...
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1answer
63 views

Force, Mass, Motion? $E = mc^2$

Does any object needs force to move? If 'yes', does the matter needs mass to form a force? These questions arises from me because $E = mc^2$ and $F = ma$ does not relate and one does not agrees with ...
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1answer
22 views

How to express in terms of spacetime intervals the average speed of one participant having moved between two suitable others

Given a flat region of spacetime as set $\mathcal S$ of events together with values of spacetime intervals (up to a common non-zero constant) for each pair of events, $s^2 : \mathcal S \times \mathcal ...
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3answers
295 views

Why does the Michelson-Morley experiment only contradict the aether?

This question is related to Validity of Maxwell's equations with no aether or relativity? (so please read this first). In this question, the answers seem to suggest that getting rid of the aether ...
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1answer
83 views

Why is the speed of light being invariant and finite in all inertial reference frames?

I understand the basics of Lorentz transformation and Riemann Geometry but I still cannot understand why the speed of light is the same in all inertial references. Has anyone ever researched about ...
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2answers
57 views

Planes of Simultaneity on Minkowski diagrams

As seen from a "stationary" reference frame, Why do lines of simultaneity for fast-moving observers run parallel to distance axis instead of perpendicular to the time axis. Obviously, in a regular t ...
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3answers
149 views

What's the problem with light traveling at speed higher than $c$?

I'm trying to understand how Einstein concluded that time is relative based on thought experiments such as a torch attached to the end of a rocket. Based on answers to questions like this one, this ...
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4answers
163 views

How can we prove charge invariance under Lorentz Transformation?

We have gravitational force between two massive particles and we have electromagnetic force between two charged particles. When special relativity suggests that mass is not an invariant quantity why ...
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1answer
50 views

Behaviour of Dirac Bilinears

Dirac bilinears transform in the Lorentz indices as, $\bar{\psi}\psi$ scalar $\bar{\psi}\gamma^\mu\psi$ vector $\bar{\psi}\sigma^{\mu\nu}\psi$ 2nd rank (antisymmetric) tensor ...
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2answers
58 views

How time and speed of light are related? [closed]

I want to know how speed and light and time are related? How will motion with highspeed effect time? I am not a physics student. I want an answer which is free of mathematical relations. I want an ...
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1answer
16 views

How to express in terms of spacetime intervals whether two participants in a flat region were at rest to each other

Given a flat region of spacetime as set $\mathcal S$ of events together with values of spacetime intervals (up to a common non-zero constant) for each pair of events, $s^2 : \mathcal S \times \mathcal ...
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4answers
115 views

Tensor calculus in special relativity

We say that any function $f(t,x,y,z)$ is a tensor of rank {0 0} because it takes no vectors or one-forms in order to give a real number. But couldn't we have just written the same function as ...
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1answer
147 views

How do simple two-component Fierz identities follow from a property of the Pauli matrices?

On page 51 Peskin and Schroeder are beginning to derive basic Fierz interchange relations using two-component right-handed spinors. They start by stating the trivial (but tedious) Pauli sigma identity ...
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1answer
67 views

Dot product in index notation [closed]

This is a question about a small exercise I am trying to do in order to check if I am correct. Such type of quantities can appear in propagators in QFT. Since I am not an index expert I need some ...
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1answer
68 views

Different definitions of the parity transformation for the Dirac spinors

There are two definitions of the parity transformation acting on the Dirac spinors: $\Psi_P = \eta \gamma^0 \Psi$ with $\eta = i$ ($P^2=-1$ as in Srednicki) and $\eta=1$ ($P^2=+1$ as in Peskin & ...
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1answer
67 views

Relativistic acceleration of a rocket?

I'm trying to solve a physics brain-teaser and getting nowhere fast. My knowledge of special relativity is very basic. In the problem a rocket is flying linearly at relativistic speeds (say ...
3
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2answers
65 views

How does SUSY avoid to create non-Lorentz interactions?

A three-legs fermion interaction or boson absorbing a fermion are things we do not see in QFT because the corresponding terms in the Lagrangian are not Lorentz invariant. But in susy, naively, such ...
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35 views

Gradient of $ct'$ axis in spacetime diagrams

This is either an unimportant piece of information or it's meant to be obvious, but I can't find anywhere what the gradient of the $ct'$ axis in a spacetime diagram should be. I know that the $ct'=1$ ...
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1answer
28 views

Multiple Objects at Constant Speed

Imagine 1 million objects travelling in space, at a constant speed, along an imaginary line. They don't deviate from that line for the sake of this argument. Now, object 1 has a velocity of $v_{1}=1$ ...
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3answers
747 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 ...
3
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2answers
782 views

Orthochronous Lorentz transformations are time-preserving and $SL(2,\mathbb{R})$

Let's consider the pseudosphere/hyperboloid in $\mathbb{R}^{1,2}$ given by $$x^2+y^2-z^2=-R^2.$$ We know that the Lorentz group $$O(1,2)=\{ A \in Mat(3,\mathbb{R}): A^tGA=G \},$$ where ...
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0answers
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Can the energy released from a black hole be calculated at the time of birth?

this might be a stupid question but when a black hole is formed it releases a lot of energy our satellites just catch the gamma rays and X rays released by the black hole. can we estimate the amount ...
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0answers
24 views

What's the consensus on the block universe? Is time frozen? [duplicate]

What's the consensus view on the block universe? Is time frozen? Do the past and future exist? Was Einstein right when he said, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction ...
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1answer
50 views

How does time dilation occur due to velocity and gravity [duplicate]

I am trying to understand and clarify the way time dilation occurs due to general and special relativity and for which reason. In the case where an object is approaching a planet in free-fall how does ...
28
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1answer
1k views

Status of experimental searches for tachyons?

Now that the dust has settled on the 2011 superluminal neutrino debacle at OPERA, I'm interested in understanding the current status of experimental searches for neutrinos. Although the OPERA claim ...
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3answers
152 views

Why did Einstein took speed of light unit or constant in his equation of relativity?

We can find that no object can have speed more than light from Einstein's equation of relativity because if anything have speed more than light then we get -ve value within square root. But why did ...
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2answers
140 views

How to find kinetic energy given relativistic linear momentum?

The relativistic energy of a particle is given by the expression \begin{equation} E^2 = m^2c^4 + p^2c^2 \end{equation} The rest energy is $E_{0}=mc^2$ and the momentum is $p=mc$. In the rest frame, ...
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1answer
2k 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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3answers
66 views

Mass and frequency of photons [duplicate]

Light is affected by gravity which means light has got mass. Quantum theory tells us that light consists of discrete quanta of energy, which we call photons. These photons have a rest mass of zero (as ...
5
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0answers
124 views

Can special relativity be derived from the invariance of the interval?

As far as I know, the classical approach to special relativity is to take Einstein's postulates as the starting point of the logical sequence, then to derive the Lorentz transformations from them, and ...
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1answer
79 views

What gauge field can be constructed from Lorentz symmetry?

You can take a global symmetry and promote it to a local gauge symmetry by introducing an appropriate gauge field and upgrading the partial derivative to a covariant derivative. The photon field ...
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2answers
371 views

How to achieve speeds faster than light? [duplicate]

So, I heard that all speed is relative. And that nothing can travel faster than light. Then I guess it is OK for a spaceship to leave Earth at 0.6c constant speed. And what if an other spaceship were ...
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6answers
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If I run along the aisle of a bus traveling at (almost) the speed of light, can I travel faster than the speed of light?

Let's say I fire a bus through space at (almost) the speed of light in vacuum. If I'm inside the bus (sitting on the back seat) and I run up the aisle of the bus toward the front, does that mean I'm ...
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1answer
128 views

Hafele-Keating revisited with a gravity clock

Most modern clocks use electromagnetic phenomena to measure time. There are perhaps some older clocks that involve gravity to some degree (hour glass, pendulum), but I believe they still have a ...
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3answers
78 views

Confusion on relativistic electromagnetism of two charge particles

When I was introduced to the relativistic nature of electromagnetism, the following scenario is introduced: Two protons are fired such that they travel at the same velocity in parallel directions ...
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29 views

Helicity of massive particle at high enengy

We know that massless spin-1 particle like photon only has two helicity state (-1,1), what about the helicity of massive spin-1 particle (W boson) at very high energy? Does it have helicity 0 state ...