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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Two trains at the speed of light [closed]

Okay. Two trains travelling towards each other at the speed of light. So, from one train (let's call it train A), the other is moving towards it at the speed of light. The other train shines a torch. ...
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262 views

Galileo's dictum and how light cannot violate it

Okay. So I've been told that the speed of light is constant and cannot violate Galileo's dictum, but even if it weren't constant (in a vacuum), how would it violate it anyway? Say you are on a train ...
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Discreteness of Spacetime and Violation of Lorentz symmetry

It is usually said that existence of discrete spacetime violates Lorentz symmetry. What quantity is used to quantify such violation? I mean could someone points a reference for a derivation that shows ...
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713 views

relativistic acceleration equation

A Starship is going to accelerate from 0 to some final four-velocity, but it cannot accelerate faster than $g_M$, otherwise it will crush the astronauts. what is the appropiate equation to constraint ...
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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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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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Does the speed of light vary in noninertial frames?

The speed of light is the same in all inertial frames. Does it change from a non-inertial frame to another? Can it be zero? If it is not constant in non-inertial frames, is it still bounded from ...
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763 views

Using Lorentz Invariance of Charge To Calculate Current Density

I'm attempting a problem from Zwiebach: A First Course in String Theory and am completely stuck. Could anyone give me a hint? The problem is as follows. Consider $S$, $S'$ two Lorentz frames with ...
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431 views

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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First Postulate of Special Relativity: What does it mean?

Wikipedia has this quote: Special principle of relativity: If a system of coordinates K is chosen so that, in relation to it, physical laws hold good in their simplest form, the same laws hold ...
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Does the potential energy related to a particle determines its rest mass?

Would it be possible to determine the rest mass of a particle by computing the potential energy related to the presence (existence) of the particle, if this potential energy could be determined ...
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199 views

Relativity - time dilation

I'm learning about relativity and I'm having some issues with it and the twin paradox. I found many questions and answers on this subject but they did not answer my specific problem. In my thought ...
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light travels a maximum speed… /? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light? we know that speed of light is an unconquerable term in physics..light takes about 1 year to travel ...
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Time dilation - why the observers see each other the slow one but then one of them is older or younger?

I'm in trouble with time dilation: Suppose that there's two people on the Earth (A,B), they are twins and each other has a clock. (So they are at the same reference frame). B travels in a spaceship ...
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337 views

Inner product of four-vectors in special relativity

Reference) "Feynman lectures on Physics Vol.3 , p.7-4 ." With four vectors $x_{\mu} = (t,x,y,z)\ , \ p_{\mu} = (E,p_{x},p_{y},p_{z})$ the inner product of these two four vectors is scalar invariant ...
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Will a black hole increase the speed of sound above the speed of light in this medium

For the sake of this question we are inside the EH and a sound wave enters from our perspective as the sound moves closer to us at the EH would it speed up. Specifically how would the extreme ...
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174 views

How do I extend the Lorentz transformation metric to dimensions>4?

How do I extend the general Lorentz transformation matrix (not just a boost along an axis, but in directions where the dx1/dt, dx2/dt, dx3/dt, components are all not zero. For eg. as on the Wikipedia ...
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217 views

quantum curvature

If a state can be a superposition of energy states, and mass equals energy (special relativity), and mass curves space-time (general relativity), then could we say that space-time around a quantum ...
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How can time be relative?

I don't understand how time can be relative to different observers, and I think my confusion is around how I understand what time is. I have always been told (and thought) that time is basically a ...
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354 views

Two identical rockets, time dilation, and possible weirdness [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why isn't the symmetric twin paradox a paradox? Suppose there are two identical rockets, each carrying one of two identical clocks and one of two identical ...
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677 views

Hamiltonian mechanics and special relativity?

Is there a relativistic version of Hamiltonian mechanics? If so, how is it formulated (what are the main equations and the form of Hamiltonian)? Is it a common framework, if not then why? It would be ...
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875 views

Is 4-volume element a scalar or a pseudoscalar in special relativity?

In general relativity 4-volume element $\mathrm{d}^4 x = \mathrm{d} x^0\mathrm{d} x^1 \mathrm{d} x^2\mathrm{d} x^3$ is clearly a pseudoscalar (or scalar density) of weight 1 since it transforms as ...
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maximum distance between accelerating objects started at different times [closed]

Let there be two objects that have zero relative velocity with respect to each other in an inertial frame. If they both undergo identical accelerations, but one starts the acceleration at t = T1 and ...
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Relative Speed vs speed of light [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Travelling faster than the speed of light Someting almost faster than light traveling on something else almost faster than light I've got two questions which are ...
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Speed of light is not fixed? [closed]

In my research, I found that the speed of light is not fixed. IS it true? Namely, We know that light refracts when the medium it travels through changes. Actually, light travels in the same medium ...
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Designing a plausible faster than light drive: the Space Skip Drive [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is the Portal feasible in real life? I'm designing a plausible faster-than-light (FTL) drive for a SF universe. Here's what I have so far. I'm aware of existing ...
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Simple Experiment to Demonstrate Special Relativity

I am trying to think of a good experiment that can be done for under $250 or so that would demonstrate some aspect of Special Relativity. Ideally this will be done in a few years with my kids when ...
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Why did we need relativity to derive $E=mc^2$?

Okay, so the way I understand one of the "derivations" of $E=mc^2$ is roughly as follows: We observe a light bulb floating in space. It appears motionless. It gives off a brief flash of light. We ...
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366 views

Lorentz transformations of the polarization vector

Let $\bf{n}'$ be a unit vector in the direction of a wavevector in the plasma rest frame and $\bf{B'}$ be a unit vector along the magnetic field in the plasma rest frame. The electric field of a ...
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What are the increasingly sophisticated ways to perform a Lorentz transformation?

Since Einstein first derived the Lorentz transformations, their generalisation and execution has changed over the century. So starting with those first derived by Einstein: What are the main, ...
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469 views

What is the reason behind specific values for charge of electrons, protons?

Why do things like protons and neutrons have specific values. Also speed of light is a speed in which even if you go towards it, the speed does not vary. But why does light have to travel at speed?
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Tower redshift paradox

If photons are emitted at intervals a, from the top of a tower of height $h$, down to earth, is this formula correct for the intervals b in which they are received at earth? $b=a(1-gh/c^2)$ If so, how ...
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How to calculate speed difference between objects close to the speed of light?

If two different objects (for example two rockets) move in opposite direction at close to the speed of light (for example 0.8c and 0.9c), how do I calculate the difference in speed between the two ...
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Are there any known potentially useful nontrivial irreducible representations of the Lorentz Group $O(3,1)$ of dimension bigger than 4? Examples?

Are there any known potentially useful, nontrivial, irreducible representations of the Lorentz Group $O(3,1)$ of dimension more than $4$? Examples? A $5$-dimensional representation? EDIT: Is there ...
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Are the higher-order terms in the series for energy really negligible?

To show that energy in special relativity reduces to $E=m+mv^2/2$ for low velocities, if we make a Taylor expansion of $m\gamma$ around $v=0$ we get $$E=m+mv^2/2+3mv^4/8+\cdots$$ But why can we cutoff ...
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What is a Lorentz boost and how to calculate it?

I know very little special relativity. I never leaned it properly, but every time I read someone saying: "if you boost in the x-direction, you get such and such" my mind goes blank! I tried ...
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length contraction question

we know from eintein's theory of relativity that lets say, a ruler is travelling to a speed if light, then we can say that the ruler (from our view as observers) has shorten. but why, lets say we have ...
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Applying $\nabla\times\mathbf{B} = \mu_0\mathbf{J}$ in the presence of magnetic shielding

2012-06-13 - Revised question in experimental format (This is a thought experiment for which RF experts may have an immediate answer.) I'll assume (I could be wrong) the possibility of creating a ...
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Why/how does an electron emit a photon when decelerating?

I've had two special relativity courses so far but none really gave me a clear description of the process.
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Why doesn't relativistic momentum appear conserved in this frame?

Suppose I have an inelastic head on collision between two idential particles of mass $m$ that come to rest in the centre of momentum frame where relativistic momentum is obviously conserved. If I now ...
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How fast do you need to travel to go 35 light-years in 2 (apparent) years?

Time slows the faster you go, so perhaps going 35 light-years in "2 years" is actually do-able, but how fast would you actually be going? If $$t' = \frac{t}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}\\ $$ If we say ...
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Hamiltonians and Lagrangians, Euclidean and Hyperbolic: Are they related?

The Lagrangian of a system is the difference between its kinetic energy $T$ and potential energy $V$, and is relativistically invariant: $L = T - V$ The Hamiltonian of the same system is the sum ...
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Relativistic Mass including exponential decay

So from what I gather, relativistic mass = $m_0\gamma$ where $\gamma$ is the lorentz factor. So if i have a mass that is .5 at rest then it is safe to say that the relativistic mass will be 1 if it ...
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The temperature in space

We know that cosmic microwave background temperature is about 2.7K. But what temperature we will measure in space using a simple Kelvin thermometer in the shadow? Can it be lower than 2.7K? Suppose a ...
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Is the classical Doopler Effect, for light shift, $1-v/c$, exact? What is it an approximation of?

Is the classical doopler effect for light shift equal to $1-v/c$ exact or an approximation of a classical formula? I know that it is an approximation of the relativistic formula, but what was the ...
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Energy conservation and center-of-mass inertial frames

For a given set of fast-moving objects in empty space, the maximum mass-energy that can be extracted by using only interactions between objects in the set (e.g., colliding all of them together) is ...
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Time dilation at the speed of light

Does a massless particle travelling at the speed on light in a vacuum (c) experience an infinite time dilation effect? i.e. Would the time dilation extend from the perspective of the massless ...
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418 views

Four momentum of a photon squared, trouble with combining wave-particle duality and energy-frequency relation

Since $p^2=E^2-\vec{p}^2=m^2$ and $E=h\nu=\frac{hc}{\lambda}$ and $|\vec{p}|=\frac{h}{\lambda}$ we have that $p^2=\frac{h^2c^2}{\lambda^2}-\frac{h^2}{\lambda ^2}$ If I go to Planck-units ...
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Calculate relativistic boost to COM frame from two arbitary velocities?

Looking in Goldstein's book, there doesn't seem to be a standard formula to calculate the COM frame velocity for two particles, from their relativistic velocities in the lab frame, although it is done ...
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Is there a subtlety to the Lorentz transformations one needs to be aware of?

Playing around with the four acceleration $$\left(\gamma^4_u \frac{\vec a\cdot\vec u}{c^2}\vec u +\gamma^2_u\vec a,\, \gamma^4_u\frac{\vec a\cdot\vec u}{c}\right)$$ I found the time part for frame' ...