The special theory of relativity describes the motion and dynamics of objects moving at significant fractions of the speed of light.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

7
votes
1answer
558 views

What if the binding energy becomes larger than the rest mass?

Looking at the equation for binding energy and mass defect, $$ B = m_{\text{free}} - m_{\text{bound}} \\ \Rightarrow m_{\text{bound}} = m_{\text{free}} - B, $$ my question is the following. Suppose ...
1
vote
2answers
835 views

Lorentz boost matrix for an arbitrary direction in terms of rapidity

We have derived the Lorentz boost matrix for a boost in the x-direction in class, in terms of rapidity which from Wikipedia is: Assume boost is along a direction $\hat{n}=n_x \hat{i}+n_y \hat{j}+n_z ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

What's the relativistic energy of a moving strained spring as $k\to\infty$ [closed]

Suppose a spring with stiffness $k$, is strained by constant forces on each end. In a frame where the strained spring moves at a constant velocity, what's the total relativistic energy of the moving ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Can something travel faster than light if it has always been travelling faster than light?

I know there are zillions of questions about faster than light travel, but please hear me out. According to special relativity, it is impossible to accelerate something to the speed of light. However, ...
3
votes
2answers
897 views

What is potential energy in special relativity?

I know what is rest energy $E_0=m_0 c^2$, total energy $E=\gamma E_0$, kinetic energy $E- E_0=(\gamma-1) E_0$, and momentum $p=\gamma m_0 c$. But what is potential energy in special relativity?
6
votes
2answers
543 views

Causality and Quantum Field Theory

I have a problem with proof of causality in Peskin & Schroeder, An Introduction to QFT, page 28. To avoid confusion I use three vectors notation, rewriting the Eq. (2.53) for $y=0$ as follows: ...
9
votes
2answers
586 views

Violation of Lorentz invariance (Lagrangian for particle)

I'm trying to get the relativistic action (or Lagrangian) for a free particle in the case of violation of Lorenz invariance. Suppose we have the modified dispersion relation: $$ ...
2
votes
2answers
329 views

Why is there no time dilation for frequency of a wave?

Since frequency of a wave is a function of time, then for a particular ray of the wave, why would the frequency remain the same when observed from a moving reference frame? The frequency should change ...
5
votes
2answers
391 views

Is the curvature of spacetime invariant? Could it be characterized as the ether?

I'm writing a paper for a Philosophy of Science course about GR/SR and I'm wondering if I can (1) characterize the curvature of spacetime as invariant and (2) argue that this is what Einstein referred ...
-2
votes
1answer
160 views

How would time duration and space distance change when we move in the speed of light? [closed]

It is possible to figure out how time duration and space distance change when we are close to the speed of light - but I am not sure what happens to them if we travel in the speed of light.
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Why can't we accelerate to the speed of light? [duplicate]

Why can't we accelerate to the speed of light? It's just a speed and nothing else. Universe also crossed the speed of light at the time of big bang. Is this is just a interpretation or there is any ...
5
votes
2answers
149 views

What are the uses of proper length as a parameter?

Proper time is used to parameterize the world line of a moving particle in a way which is Lorentz invariant, which is elegant and powerful. Since space and time are usually treated on the same ...
5
votes
2answers
374 views

What is the highest speed time dilation has been tested?

What is the highest speed time dilation has been tested? How close to the Special Relativity prediction did it get?
2
votes
1answer
426 views

Life of a photon [duplicate]

I am a student of class 12th and as far as i know when anything reaches about 99.99% of the speed of light it starts traveling in time or time for it slows down so that it don't breaks the speed ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

Please explain this statement about Lorentz transformations

I'm reading Sternberg's Group Theory and Physics. I have a question about chapter 1.2 Homeomorphisms. Background: A Lorentz Metric is defined as $||{\bf x}||^2=x_0^2-x_1^2-x_2^2-x_3^2$ And a ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How does a photon experience space and time?

To an an external observer it appears that time has stopped for photon. But this relation is reflexive, so for an observer travelling with the photon it appears the universe has stopped everywhere. ...
4
votes
1answer
528 views

Faraday's Law and Galilean Invariance

In Jackson's text he says that Faraday law is actually: $$ \oint_{\partial \Sigma} \mathbf{E} \cdot \mathrm{d}\boldsymbol{\ell} = -k\iint_{\Sigma} \frac{\partial \mathbf B}{\partial t} \cdot ...
0
votes
1answer
142 views

Senior High School work on Doppler measurements

Sorry this question is really vague- as a result I'm very confused. Perhaps you can help me make sense of it. "Radar measurements: Construct a space-time diagram of the radar tracking of an asteroid ...
0
votes
1answer
320 views

Lorentz transformation problem

In the equation (1.18) they omitted the translation vector $a^\mu$, but why?
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Measuring life through radiation

Dramatic title, I know. But it's shorter than Measuring a person's effective mass through radiation and comparing it to their weighed mass and I figured this would get people's attention. I just ...
2
votes
3answers
444 views

If time slows down when you move faster, does this give you an “effective speed” different from your proper speed?

Suppose you're travelling at 0.9c toward the sun, and you tag past the Earth and start a clock. Would Lorentz contraction/time dilation cause you to get to the sun faster than (about) 9 minutes ...
3
votes
2answers
864 views

Metric coefficients in rotating coordinates

Let $(t,x,y,z)$ be the standard coordinates on $\mathbb{R}^4$ and consider the Minkowski metric $$ds^2 = -dt^2+dx^2+dy^2+dz^2.$$ I am trying to compute the metric coefficients under the change of ...
4
votes
1answer
630 views

Mass of a compressed spring

I was wondering if: The mass of a compressed spring is greater than that of an uncompressed spring The mass of a body on the surface of the Moon is greater than that on Earth according to the ...
2
votes
0answers
102 views

Car parking special-relavity puzzle

Hi I read the following puzzle from an old text book long time ago. However it doesn't provide the answer. So what is the solution? Let's suppose a car is going to park to a garage and the garage is ...
1
vote
1answer
140 views

What is movement through time? [duplicate]

In general, when I think of movement through space, I think of this: $$\frac{dx}{dt}$$ But in special relativity, we also have a concept of relative duration, which means that $t$ must have a rate ...
5
votes
1answer
663 views

Lorentz transformation of classical Klein–Gordon field

I'm trying to see that the invariance of the Klein–Gordon field implies that the Fourier coefficients $a(\mathbf{k})$ transform like scalars: $a'(\Lambda\mathbf{k})=a(\mathbf{k}).$ Starting from the ...
5
votes
2answers
986 views

Impulse from absorbing a photon? Is there an increase in rest mass?

I'm going through A P French's special relativity. In one chapter (6) the following is set up: Suppose that a stationary particle of mass $M_0$ is struck by a photon of energy $Q$, which is ...
6
votes
3answers
670 views

Why do clocks measure arc-length?

Apologies in advance for the long question. My understanding is that in GR, massive observers move along timelike curves $x^\mu(\lambda)$, and if an observer moves from point $x^\mu(\lambda_a)$ to ...
7
votes
3answers
366 views

Relativistic equivalent of a spring-force?

Usually what helps me understand a concept better in physics is to write a simulation of it. I've got to the point where I'm competent in the basics of special relativity, but, I can't figure out how ...
0
votes
1answer
322 views

Photons, no energy? [duplicate]

I am only 14, so I don't know much about physics, and I would appreciate help on this topic. A photon, is said to have 0 mass. However, they carry energy, as electromagnetic radiation. Albert ...
1
vote
1answer
122 views

The status / acceptance of block time?

What is the current status or acceptance of block time as it relates to Einstein's theory of relativity? Has quantum mechanics ruled it out or is it still the favored view of the world? Perhaps there ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

The real meaning of time dilation

Is this true or false: If A and B have clocks and are traveling at relative velocity to each other, then to B it APPEARS that A's clock moving slower, but A sees his own clock moving at normal speed. ...
1
vote
1answer
252 views

Why does only one twin travel in the twin paradox?

The wikipedia page repeatedly says that the twin travelling in space is the only one which travels, and also is the only one which faces acceleration and deceleration. So it does not age, while the ...
1
vote
1answer
164 views

Special relativity, acceleration and being in two places at once (How to resolve this paradox?):

Imagine I am on Earth I have a clock which measures time $t$. When my Earth clock reads time $t$, then when I look at a moving spacecraft's clock I see the time $t'$. Let us assume time is measured ...
0
votes
2answers
662 views

If we are travelling with the speed of light, can we see what's behind us? [closed]

If we are travelling with the speed of light, can we see whats behind us(like if we are moving away from earth can we able see the earth)? And how we see the things that we are approaching with speed ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

In QFT, why does a vanishing commutator ensure causality?

In relativistic quantum field theories (QFT), $$[\phi(x),\phi^\dagger(y)] = 0 \;\;\mathrm{if}\;\; (x-y)^2<0$$ On the other hand, even for space-like separation $$\phi(x)\phi^\dagger(y)\ne0.$$ ...
5
votes
3answers
191 views

How would I perceive a purple ball when traveling at relativistic speeds

I have a 'thought experiment' which I'd like to ask about. I was thinking what speed I would have to drive towards a crossing to see a red light as a green light - pretty easy, using the doppler ...
1
vote
0answers
221 views

Does Mansuripur's Paradox involve fictitious charges?

Mansuripur's Paradox involves a magnet moving at relativistic speeds in an external electric field. Additional: thanks to Retarded Potential, who found the original paper. If I understand correctly, ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Thought experiment regarding an object approaching a mirror

Here's a thought experiment I came up with in class today when my mind drifted (I however highly doubt I'm the first to think about this since it is pretty rudimentary) : Let's say superman ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is time dilation an illusion?

It is said that we can verify time dilation by flying a very accurate clock on a fast jet or spaceship and prove that it registers less time than the clocks on earth. However, the clocks on earth ...
1
vote
1answer
330 views

Why does 'proper length' exist as a notion?

$$\text{proper time}= \tau= \sqrt{dt^2-d\mathbf{s}^2}$$ $$\text{proper length}= L= \sqrt{-dt^2+d\mathbf{s}^2}$$ What tangible benefit is brought about by calling $i \tau$ 'proper length' (applying ...
10
votes
3answers
672 views

Where's the energy in a boosted capacitor?

Suppose I look at a parallel plate capacitor in its rest frame and calculate the electrostatic energy, $E$. Next, I look at the same capacitor in a primed frame boosted in the direction perpendicular ...
2
votes
1answer
420 views

Does special relativity unify the two phenomena at the base of Faraday's flux law (was Feynman wrong in this case)?

Consider Faraday's flux law for the EMF generated in a conductor loop: $$ \varepsilon = - \frac{d \phi}{dt},$$ where $\varepsilon$ is the EMF, and $\phi$ is the magnetic flux through the loop. ...
3
votes
3answers
165 views

Correct expression for D'Alembert operator in $c=1$ units

In QFT texts with $c=1$ units (most of them), D'Alembert operator is written as: $$\Box ={\partial^2 \over \partial t^2} - \nabla^2$$ For pedagogical purposes, however, some texts don't set $c=1$, ...
2
votes
1answer
522 views

Is there a stationary frame of reference?

My understanding of relativity is at the beginner level, so please bear with me to help a beginner to understand. Something which I don't understand is consider if you travel close to the speed of ...
5
votes
3answers
408 views

Setting up a local-coordinate system in space-time using only a single clock and light beams

I have a question to ask about the operationalist view of space-time. I am a mathematician who happens to be interested in physics, so if anyone thinks that my question is a silly or vague one, please ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Run with speed of light with a mirror in hand [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Reflection At Speed of Light Imagine you are able to run with the speed of light holding a mirror in your hand. Now will you be able to see yourself in the mirror?
0
votes
3answers
519 views

Relativistic basic question - four vector, Lorentz matrix

I have heard relativistics only very compressed during my student time. Now I looked up the definitions again and a question comes into my mind: A contravariant vector is transformed like this: ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Is it part of special relativity that mass possessing energy is more dense?

I was reading http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/hillis/hillis_p2.html and it says that a charged battery weighs more than a dead one or a rotating object weighs more than a stationary one (i.e. mass ...
1
vote
1answer
117 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 ...