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)

22
votes
6answers
5k views

Why did Einstein get credit for formulating the theory of special relativity?

See The Principle of Relativity here: The Principles of Mathematical Physics. This was written by Poincaré in 1904, a year before Einstein published his theory of relativity. It appears from this and ...
1
vote
0answers
270 views

Could one transmit a signal with equally-tuned casimir plates across the quantum field?

It seems, one could exploit the Casimir effect to send messages across arbitrarily-large distances with carefully-tuned Casimir plates. Obviously, relativity would preclude FTL information transfer, ...
1
vote
2answers
796 views

Lorentz Invariance of Maxwell Equations

I am curious to see a simple demonstration of how special relativity leads to Lorentz Invariance of the Maxwell Equations. Differential form will suffice.
5
votes
2answers
116 views

Filming light in motion?

Regarding this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_9vd4HWlVA, which claims to "film" light in its motion. Is it not an absolute nonsense? Even if photons could even be "seen" (meaning, returning ...
8
votes
8answers
889 views

Is “Causality” the equivalent of a claim that the future is predictable based on the present and the past?

In classical (Newtonian) mechanics, every observer had the same past and the same future and if you had perfect knowledge about the current state of all particles in the universe, you could ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What were the intention/conclusions for Michelson-Morley experiment?

Which of the following were the intentions of M&M? to disprove the existence of aether. to show that the aether has no effect on matter and energy and therefore is as good as non-existent. ...
6
votes
2answers
268 views

relativistic spaceship, CMB radiation and thermodynamics

Scenario: a spaceship is travelling at a high fraction of $c$. The interstellar gas and CMB radiation has blueshifted significantly and we are facing a possible melting of the front radiation shield! ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

Is it possible to transfer classical bits of information faster than light speed?

Is there any known, verifiable way to transfer classical information faster than light, using quantum entanglement or other phenomenon? Does quantum teleportation, or other known phenomenon, allow ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Is it best to look at light as a particle when trying to understand special relativity?

So my course about special relativity explains time dilation using a moving train, where one sends up (i.e. perpendicular to the direction of movement) a light pulse which gets reflected etc. (a ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Definitions: 'locality' vs 'causality'

I'm having trouble unambiguously interpreting many answers here due to the fact that the terms locality and causality are sometimes used interchangeably, while other times seem to mean very different ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

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. ...
0
votes
1answer
362 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
520 views

Special Relativity: What differential equation describes an accelerated object from a non-inertial reference frame?

I am looking for a set of differential equations (to be solved numerically for an educational program) that would describe the position and apparent time of an accelerated clock relative to a ...
2
votes
2answers
313 views

A relative time dilation paradox.

Let us assume that there are two astronauts A and B who are floating in space. A sees B passing by and vice versa. A sends signals to B every minute. According to A since B is moving his clock will be ...
5
votes
2answers
746 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 ...
4
votes
12answers
3k views

Could the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle turn out to be false?

While investigating the EPR Paradox, it seems like only two options are given, when there could be a third that is not mentioned - Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle being given up. The setup is this ...
0
votes
1answer
508 views

Expression for the (relativistic) mass of the photon [closed]

I started learning a bit ahead from an old physics book, and they were discussing the photoelectric effect and after that Planck's hypotheses and energy quantas. The book said that the mass of a ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Special Relativity Second Postulate

That the speed of light is constant for all inertial frames is the second postulate of special relativity but this does not means that nothing can travel faster than light. so is it possible the ...
3
votes
8answers
1k views

Does the (relativistic) mass change? Why?

I learned recently that when an object moves with a velocity comparable to the velocity of light the (relativistic) mass changes. How does this alteration take place?
1
vote
2answers
836 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

Why are objects at rest in motion through spacetime at the speed of light?

I read that an object at rest has such a stupendous amount of energy, $E=mc^2$ because it's effectively in motion through space-time at the speed of light and it's traveling through the time dimension ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
365 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
205 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
514 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
356 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
245 views

Having trouble seeing the similarity between these two energy-momentum tensors

Leonard Suskind gives the following formulation of the energy-momentum tensor in his Stanford lectures on GR (#10, I believe): $$T_{\mu \nu}=\partial_{\mu}\phi \partial_{\nu}\phi-\frac{1}{2}g_{\mu ...
2
votes
0answers
182 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
138 views

What should I call an n>4 dimensional Minkowski metric?

I am manipulating an $nxn$ metric where $n$ is often $> 4$, depending on the model. The $00$ component is always tau*constant, as in the Minkowski metric, but the signs on all components might be ...
4
votes
1answer
227 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
748 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
128 views

What is the proper time used in relativistic non-equilibrium statistical physics?

In the literature one often finds covariant relativistic generalizations of classical non equilibrium statistical equations (Boltzmann, Vlasov, Landau, Fokker-Planck, etc...) but I wonder what is the ...
1
vote
0answers
135 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
926 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
536 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
545 views

Is the potential energy in a compressed spring a Lorentz invariant?

The total energy of an object comes from the time part of the four-momentum, and so isn't a Lorentz invariant. On the other hand, is the potential energy of a compressed spring a Lorentz invariant?
0
votes
3answers
277 views

Does the Lorentz transformation not apply to light?

Since you would know that light always travels at the constant velocity with respect to all frame of reference ....according to relativity whenever we are traveling at speed of light our time with ...
0
votes
2answers
293 views

What if a normal digital clock used to measure time in twin paradox?

Last night I was watching a youtube video about twin paradox. It still continues to baffle me :). In that video, the speaker conceptualizes a clock that measures time by reflections of light. If we ...
0
votes
1answer
492 views

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 ...
-7
votes
1answer
625 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

“Relativistic Baseball”

On Randall Munroe’s new blog “what if”, he answers the question: “What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?” http://what-if.xkcd.com/1/ He concludes: ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Phase space volume and relativity

Much of statistical mechanics is derived from Liouville's theorem, which can be stated as "the phase space volume occupied by an ensemble of isolated systems is conserved over time." (I'm mostly ...
1
vote
2answers
365 views

Why is ${\partial^i}{\partial_i\phi}$ = ${\partial^i {\phi}}{\partial_i{\phi}}$?

This notation can be found on page 254 of Victor Stenger's Comprehensible Cosmos and in David Tong's Lectures on QFT (Equation 2.4 http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/tong/qft/two.pdf), and in EDIT: on ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

How do photons travel at a speed that should be impossible to attain?

If it requires infinite amount of energy to travel at the speed of light then how photon attains this speed? Its source is never infinitely sourced.
3
votes
4answers
910 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
380 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...