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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Tangent vector norm squared conservation in special relativity

I'm trying to analyse non-inertial motion in special relativity. First I'll start off with inertial motion. In my reference frame, my particle has coordinates $x^\mu = (t, x)$ And in the particle's ...
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1answer
133 views

If we could not see, would we think that nothing can go faster than sound?

And if so, then why does everybody keep asserting nothing can go faster than light speed (I'm implicitly assuming there could be something which we do not observe, which goes faster than light)?
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2answers
141 views

Is it OK to see time dilation and (relativistic) mass increase as phenomena that avoid $c$ being reached? And how about length contraction?

I think I have been exposed since years ago to this line of reasoning: if $ v\to c $, then $ \Delta t \to \infty $. As $\displaystyle v=\frac{\Delta s}{\Delta t} $, it's like a natural reaction to ...
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2answers
133 views

Scalar operators In Quantum Field Theory

I am trying to learn Quantum Field Theory and I am stuck in a basic point. What is the definition of a scalar operator in QFT? That is, how does it transform under a Poincare transformation? Why do ...
2
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0answers
162 views

Stress Energy Tensor of EM Field

Stress energy tensor for electromagnetic field is given by $$T^{\mu\nu}=\frac1{4\pi}(F^{\mu\alpha}F^{\nu}{}_\alpha-\frac14 g^{\mu\nu} F_{\alpha\beta}F^{\alpha\beta}).$$ My textbook (unpublished ...
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1answer
107 views

Proof of equivalence of two different covariant notations of Maxwell's equations [closed]

My homework assignment is Prove that $$\partial_\beta F_{\gamma \delta} + \partial_\gamma F_{\delta \beta} + \partial_\delta F_{\beta \gamma} = 0$$ with the electromagnetic tensor ...
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1answer
99 views

Effects of travel greater than speed of light [closed]

What will happen if a person with say weight of 100 kilograms, starts to travel with, a) equal to speed of light? b) greater than speed of light?
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0answers
43 views

Is it possible to measure relativistic mass of a body moving towards or from an observer?

It is clear there is no problem in measuring relativistic mass via magnetic field: “Suppose you know the strength of a uniform magnetic field B. Launch a charged particle, of magnitude charge q, ...
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3answers
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How does a single charge produce magnetic field?

I have studied in Introduction to electrodynamics (Griffiths) that magnetic field is actually due to effects of relativity unequal Lorentz contraction of the positive charge and negative lines, a ...
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2answers
81 views

What is energy of light, as we know speed of light?

1.What is total energy of EM waves, as all got same speed? If two em waves has same energy, do they have same mass? If same mass and energy, do they have same frequency or wavelength still ...
0
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1answer
73 views

Special Relativity: Four possible time spans between events?

I've got another question regarding time in special relativity. I'll start with the standard configuration: there are two observers O and O', their x-axis are aligned, in the rest frame of O observer ...
5
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8answers
1k views

Help understanding Bell's spaceship paradox

The problem statement of Bell's Spaceship paradox is this: Two spaceships float in space and are at rest relative to each other. They are connected by a string. The string is strong, but it ...
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1answer
110 views

Spin statistics

I have a very intrinsic question about quantum field theory and even more general, why in 3+1-dimensional spacetime, we have only two statistics for particles to obey? Therefore why we have only two ...
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2answers
509 views

Transverse doppler effect in light

In most books to explain transverse Doppler effect the following example is given: Consider a source that emits flashes at frequency f0 (in its own frame), while moving across your field of vision at ...
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2answers
1k views

length contraction in a gravitational field [duplicate]

As space-time is distorted in a gravitational field, relativistic effects such as time dilation and length contraction take effect. Time dilation is explained simply enough: closer to the source of ...
0
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2answers
176 views

Relativity and acceleration-acceleration

Presummary to save expert's time! (pls see below!) "In GR, is jerk relative?" As I understand it, "Special Relativity" (special meaning, specific limited situations) applies only for (in a word) ...
4
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2answers
253 views

Is the explanation of special relativity in Stephen Hawking's “The Grand Design” flawed?

To explain special relativity (in chapter 5 titled "the theory of everything"), Hawking starts with an example involving a flying jet, its passenger (being an observer) and an observer on the earth. ...
2
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3answers
671 views

Problem with understanding time dilation (moving clocks can run faster?)

I ran into a serious problem with the Lorentz transformation and time dilation. In the standard configuration you have one observer S and another one S' with their x-axis aligned. I assume S to be at ...
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2answers
405 views

Does this proof for time dilation ignore length contraction?

A simple proof for time dilation can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation#Simple_inference_of_time_dilation_due_to_relative_velocity What I am confused about is that when the ...
0
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1answer
70 views

Relative velocity of two objects travelling at $c$ (or near $c$) [duplicate]

If two bodies are travelling at speed $0.9 \, c$ in opposite directions, what will be the speed of one, as observed by another? Newtonian mechanics won't apply at such speeds. As such, how will we ...
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1answer
96 views

Explicit Symmetry Breaking: Where do the additional d.o.f. come from?

Massless vector bosons have only two independent degrees of freedom, while massive ones have three. In spontaneous symmetry breaking, the massless vector belonging to the broken group becomes massive ...
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2answers
204 views

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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5answers
612 views

Formal definition of an observer?

What is the formal definition of an observer in special relativity? I have seen a few: The actual coordinate system. The collection of synchronised clocks that cover the coordinate system. A well ...
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2answers
390 views

Why does the existence of an aether go against Maxwell's equations

I am trying to determine why there is a conflict between Maxwell's equations and Galilean relativity. The standard way I have seen it explained is: The Galilean world model says velocities transform ...
2
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0answers
56 views

Shouldn't we use a Hamiltonian that doesn't give special treatment to time? [duplicate]

If we have a Lagrangian $\mathcal L$ that depends on some scalar field $\phi$, we define the momentum as $\pi \doteqdot {\partial \mathcal L \over \partial \dot \phi}$. The Hamiltonian then is ...
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2answers
753 views

The definition of transpose of Lorentz transformation (as a mixed tensor)

In the appendix of the textbook of Group Theory in Physics by Wu-Ki Tung, the transpose of a matrix is defined as the following, Eq.(I.3-1) $${{A^T}_i}^j~=~{A^j}_i.$$ This is extremely confusing for ...
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1answer
155 views

Misuse of $\mathbf J^2$ in classifying Poincare reps

$SO(1,3)$ has an infinite number of representations, classified by the Casimir invariant $p^2$. $SO(3)$ also has an infinite number of representations, classified by the Casimir invariant $\mathbf ...
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2answers
66 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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2answers
149 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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1answer
239 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 ...
4
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0answers
95 views

Does a mass gain inertia against movement in all directions as it approaches the speed of light?

If a mass moves along the x axis at near the speed of light, does it take as much energy to additionally accelerate the mass along the y axis as it does to accelerate it along the x axis by the same ...
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1answer
183 views

Plane curve transform to moving inertial system coordinates

As a non-phycisist I hope my question makes sense and is understandable. It deals with special relativity. I suppose there is a e.g. plane curve ( e.g. a circle ) given in the x-y plane of of an ...
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1answer
38 views

Light angles measured in moving reference fame (SR, homework)

I've managed to get through all of this question without trouble until part d). The full question is given here: I've calculated the "true" angles of Star A and Star B as 71.57 degrees and 45 ...
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4answers
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Is $E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$ correct, or is $E=mc^2$ the correct one?

I have been having trouble distinguishing these two equations and figuring out which one is correct. I have watched a video that says that $E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$ is correct, but I do not know why. It ...
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0answers
124 views

What is the derivation of $E=mc^2$? [duplicate]

How did Einstein derive his most famous equation: $$E=mc^2$$ Is the above equation a special case of $$E^2=m^2c^4+p^2c^2$$ Its derivation? What is the difference between them?
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3answers
121 views

Why are we not able to move at the speed of light again? [duplicate]

In many many answers here and papers everywhere, it's often stated that no object can move faster than light. Why is that again?
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1answer
126 views

Time dilation: faster or slower?

I was wondering about Time-dilation in Special Relativity. I am still a middle school student who wonders so please excuse me if I missed any important aspects. Let us assume we have a system of ...
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3answers
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Is it a postulate or a well proven fact that speed of light remains constant w.r.t any observer?

We usually heard that speed of light in vacuum $c$ remains same no matter how observer is moving? I am wondering whether is it taken as a postulate or a proven phenomenon that $c$ is constant ...
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2answers
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Is reflection instantaneous?

I was wondering while reading "On the Electrodynamics of moving bodies" by Albert Einstein (1905) (Translated to English). In the paper, he describes the time as being: by definition that the ...
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4answers
2k views

What's so special about the speed of light? [duplicate]

What's so special about the speed of light? Why do many equations in physics include the speed of light in vacuum $c$? Why do so many thing depend upon it? Why can't it be the speed of sound? ...
1
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3answers
257 views

When a body accelerates, it gains (relativistic) mass; after stopping, is the (relativistic) mass different from before it started accelerating?

When a body accelerates, it gains (relativistic) mass $m$ according to the relation $$m=\frac{m_0}{\sqrt{1-(v/c)^2}},$$ where $m_0$ is the (rest) mass. But after it stops is the gained (relativistic) ...
7
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3answers
425 views

Recommended books for a “relativity for poets” class?

I teach physics at a community college and have developed a new course titled "Relativity for Poets," which I will be teaching for the first time in spring 2015. As implied by the title, it's a ...
2
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0answers
77 views

Precession of relativistic orbit in pure inverse-square force [closed]

PROBLEM: Show that Special Relativity predicts a precession of $\pi (GMm/cl)^2$ radians per orbit for any elliptic orbit under a pure inverse-square force. Where $G$ is gravitational ...
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3answers
347 views

What conditions should be met to notice a Doppler effect on light?

What relativistic conditions should an observer meet to notice the Doppler effect on a sample light wave, and is it even possible for one?
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3answers
2k views

Center-of-mass frame for massless particles

Given a scattering event where a photon and electron go in and a photon and electron come out, what is the center of mass frame? I'd say, since the photon has no mass, it's the rest frame of the ...
-1
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2answers
162 views

No length contraction in thought experiment with co-moving measuring stick

Suppose a person standing on a platform were to observe and measure the length of a train passing by. Instead of the usual approach involving a clock and knowing the speed of the train, the person ...
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1answer
221 views

What wilI I observe when travelling at almost the speed of light? [duplicate]

If I and a group of friends are travelling at or just below the speed of light - can I see myself, can I see them, or they me? Would we see anything at all?
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3answers
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If something is not moving in space, is it moving on the time axis at the speed of light? [duplicate]

I heard this theory yesterday: If something is not moving in space, then it is moving on the time axis at the speed of light. I realize that in essence there is no object which can be considered as ...
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1answer
96 views

Length contraction

I am trying to work out the length contraction using the Lorentz transformations. Here is how I stated the problem: Suppose a bar (whose proper length is $L$) is moving at speed $u$ (to the right) ...
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105 views

Relativistic Doppler Effect and the Sagnac effect

What I think I know about the Sagnac effect can be found here. It occurs to me that the equations for calculating the time do not take the Doppler effect into account. I'm familiar with the very ...