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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Forward and Behind Frames of Reference

It's my understanding that light travels at the same speed in all inertial frames of reference. Suppose there's a small train car 5 feet long (at our rest point of view) traveling at a constant speed ...
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Can photons “stop time”?

If traveling past the speed of light causes time to reverse than does traveling in time make time "stop"? If not then how do photons/mass-less particles experience time, if at all.
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Basic Relativistic Question - length measurement

A while ago we did an easy, introductory exercise on length measurement. Back then it seemed pretty straightforward but now when I look at it I have trouble understanding the assumption which led to ...
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126 views

Lorentz transformation paradox

I got to solve a simple exercise about special relativity when I kinda came to the conclusion it doesn't stroke with my intuition. The homework-problem The problem was about two people Sam and ...
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Energy for acceleration towards speed of light is relative?

This seems a very simple question - and I guess it will turn out to be so. It's a given that accelerating particles with mass towards the speed of light takes more and more energy (ultimately an an ...
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332 views

Lorentz-Transformation in a closed loop (Sagnac)

I have a problem transforming from one system to another when the direction of motion is changed. To demonstrate the problem I'll set up an easy example with intuitive numbers: enlarge ↵ left: ...
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149 views

Metric tensor in SRT

I just read on this webpage that we have (click me) $g_{\alpha \beta} = g_{\alpha}^{\beta} = g^{\alpha \beta}.$ Now, although I understand that the first and the last one are equal, I don't think ...
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44 views

Why photons are having energy when they are massless? [duplicate]

As per the Einstein equation $E=mc^2$, the energy of the particle is depends on the mass of the particle. Or else in other terms the energy is proportional to the mass. If the photons are having zero ...
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37 views

Is anything without mass an EM wave?

For the longest time I thought the distinction between matter wave and other types of wave is the non-relativist mass of the "thing" under discussion. Photons are EM wave, electrons are matter waves. ...
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Times at relativistic speeds

Consider an observer $A$ moving in a spaceship at a speed close to $c$, relative to an observer $B$. The $B$ knows that the time on $A$ runs slower, but in the inertial frame of $A$, $B$ is moving ...
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48 views

Special Relativity - three body problem

I have a problem with solving three-body problem in special relativity. I know that in general this problem doesn't have good solution, but I have a specific case when it should be good answer. ...
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1answer
34 views

Space-like pion electromagnetic form factor

The 1986's publication "A measurement of the space-like pion electromagnetic form factor" (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0550-3213(86)90437-2) starts with: The pion form factor has been measured in ...
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Uniqueness of the equivalence class of inertial frames

Let us define an inertial frame as a frame of reference where the laws of physics take their usual form, as opposed to non intertial frames where one has to introduce pseudo-forces. We can further ...
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142 views

How can we show that the speed of light is really constant in all reference frames?

I had a debate with a friend who cannot believe that the speed of light is constant. He said something like: so what if in the Michelson-experiment the moving apparatus simply added a constant ...
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72 views

Basic Assumption in the Time Dilation Equation Derivation

I am familiar with the way the time dilation equation is derived since I was introduced to it in my sophomore college physics class. It's the standard derivation of a stationary observer watching a ...
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Time reversal in classical electrodynamics

It is known that classical electrodynamics is time reversal invariant if one assumes that the transformation laws under such operation are $$\mathbf E(t,\mathbf x)\mapsto\mathbf E(-t,\mathbf x)$$ ...
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81 views

Why does choosing a time break covariance?

I'm reading that in EM theory, in hamiltonian formalism, we choose a specific reference frame with a specific time, and that this breaks covariance. Why? Surely it's simple because it's just stated ...
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106 views

Special relativity - twin paradox explored

A thought experiment. A person on the Earth has a clock. Another person who also has a clock is in a rocket ship passing the Earth travelling at 50% the speed of light. They synchronise watches as ...
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Is there a general theorem stating why the restricted Lorentz group's exponential map is surjective?

The exponential map for the restricted Lorentz group is surjective. An outline of why is shown on the wiki page Representation Theory of the Lorentz Group. Is there a more general theorem that states ...
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Does spacetime have a “preferred” speed/metric? [duplicate]

I read recently that spacetime has a preferred speed, c, and that all observers would agree on the speed of anything moving at c. In particular, there is nothing unique about light when talking about ...
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Einstein's first postulate implies the second?

Einstein's two postulates of special relativity are as follows, 1. The principle of relativity: The laws of physics are the same in all inertial systems. There is no way to detect absolute ...
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Do GR and SR have to be considered together to determine time dilation? [duplicate]

In another related question: How to connect Einstein's Special Relativity(SR) with General Relativity(GR)? , John Rennie stated that SR is a subset (or rather can be derived from) GR, but not vice ...
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What is the relativistic mass of this spinning ball? [closed]

Relativistic Mass is: $$ m_r = \frac{m}{\sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}} $$ So Einstein says that the faster an object moves, the more mass it gains (relativistic mass). So suppose you have a spherical ball ...
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Are some events simultaneous in all reference frames? (Einstein goes drinkin')

If simultaneity is not a universal characteristic (eg. events are not simultaneous in all reference frames), then why do some events seem to be simultaneous in all reference frames as in the following ...
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Recoil velocity and mass of particle after absorbing photon

I'm working a problem out of d'Inverno's "Introducing Einstein's Relativity", and I'm hitting a funny issue with my algebra. The problem states: An atom of rest mass $m_0$ is at rest in a ...
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Does Bell's theorem sort out local field theories?

For example the Maxwell's equations is a local theory. It's a set of differential equations that describe how should the state at a point change based on its neighbourhood. Counter example: Newtonian ...
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How is the special theory of relativity observed for these types of clocks?

I'm trying to understand Special Theory of Relativity through reading Feynman's lectures. In chapter 15 Feynman gives example of clock: rod of 1m length with mirrors at the ends. Light goes from ...
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58 views

How can we travel back to time if we go with a speed $>> c$? [duplicate]

I have read "If something attains the speed more than that of light then it can travel back to time." I want to know how it happens. Also, in relativity why can nothing acquire velocity beyond ...
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If $v_{a \dot{b}}$ transforms like a four-vector, what does $v_{a}^{\dot{b}}$ describe?

The $( \frac{1}{2}, 0)$ representation of the Lorentz group acts on left-chiral spinors $\chi_a$, the $( 0,\frac{1}{2} )$ representation on right-chiral spinors $\chi^{\dot a}$. The $( \frac{1}{2}, ...
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Proving property of lorentz transforms

I've been trying to learn relativity from Weinberg's Gravitation and Cosmology without very good knowledge of the mathematical background. I am developing it alongside, but there is one particular ...
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87 views

Conservation of relativistic momentum

I'm trying to prove that momentum, $\rho = m \, v \, \gamma(v)$, is conserved in all frames of reference. I'm having problems with the following situation that I made; momentum is not conserved to ...
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189 views

Confusion about proper time in special relativity

I have a problem understanding what proper time really means, well actually, it's the symmetry that confuses me... Suppose for convenience that particle A has a mean life-time of 10 seconds in its own ...
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2answers
137 views

Why does moving near light speed keep you young? [duplicate]

As was shown in the movie Interstellar, when you go close to a black hole or move near the speed of light in space, then your clock runs slower than a clock on Earth. In the movie, Matthew ...
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398 views

Mass in special relativity?

Is the mass of a object at rest defined by $$E=mc^2$$ where $m$ is the rest mass. I.e. does the rest mass include every thing from thermal to gravitational potential energy and every other possible ...
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In special relativity what is the energy of a macroscopic body?

Is the energy of a macroscopic body in special relativity still given by: $E=\gamma m c^2$? If so why do we not need to consider the motion of the individual particles that make it up? Is this because ...
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What is a homogeneous and isotropic frame of reference?

I have heard that inertial frames of reference in the context of special relativity are both isotropic and homogeneous. I know what isotropic and homogeneous mean in a general context, but what do ...
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The mas-energy equivalence for rest mass

It is clear that the kinetic energy can be derived as $(m-m_0)c^2$. However, why do we say that $m_0c^2$ is the rest mass energy? It seems that this mass-energy equivalence for rest mass is just a ...
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Pair production and energy conservation?

Consider the question whether a photon can decay, in the free space, into an electron and a positron - a pair production event. Such an event I don't think is possible, because both energy and ...
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Special Relativity Explanation [duplicate]

I'm in a relatively basic Physics class in university, and was reading the section in my textbook about The Principle of Relativity. It says: Einstein's Theory of Relativity ... added the ...
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Does my explanation of relativity have any validity?

I've been trying to explain relativity to myself by developing a model based upon small finite changes along one dimension. For me, as a computer programmer, this model works well as an explanation ...
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Why can a particle have a nonzero amplitude outside its forward light-cone?

I'm having trouble grasping an idea that I think that is a very basic part of  quantum field theory. Many introductory QFT resources I have consulted often pose the following question: What is ...
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Trying to understand one of Einstein's thought experiments

I try to understand Einstein's Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, chapter IX., "The Relativity of Simultaneity". Here's an online version: http://www.bartleby.com/173/9.html. ...
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Why is special relativity so special? [duplicate]

The title says it really. Why is special relativity so special? I'm just curious as to how and why the term 'special' came to describe the theory of relativity where gravitational forces are ...
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Is Minkowski space usually a vector space or an affine space?

When I visited Wikipedia's page on Minkowski space, it seemed to offer two definitions. The first defined Minkowski space a vector space. Then, in a later section, it says The section above ...
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Is a non-accelerating object far from a gravity source moving at the speed of light through time?

I'm trying to understand the Minkowski spacetime better. If an object is not undergoing acceleration, and is far from any large mass, does it travel maximally "fast" through time? Can we calculate a ...
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Why does relativistic kinetic energy (KE) equal to the total relativistic energy minus the rest mass energy?

OK, I understand why $KE=\gamma mc^2-mc^2$, but why is it also equal to $E-E_0$?
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Successive measurment of incompatible variables on an entangled state

Suppose I have 2 particles in an entangled state with opposite spins far away from each other, both stationary with respect to the lab. At time t=0 I measure the spin of both particles in the x ...
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38 views

Muon decay why proper length in the earth frame?

Consider the two diagrams below (ignore the velocities), Consider the situation in the right hand picture where we have a rod connected to the earth. Let us now say that the muon is created at the ...
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Time difference between two moving inertial frames of reference [closed]

This is a question I am trying to solve: Let S and S' be two inertial frames of reference and S' is moving relative to S at a velocity of 0.6c. When x = x' = 0, t = t' = 0. At t = 2 x 10-7 s, an ...
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Photon energies after neutral pion decay

I am trying to find the photon energies of the decay $\pi_0 \rightarrow \gamma\gamma$ and their dependence on the pion energy $E_{\pi}$, its initial velocity $\beta$ and the scattering angle between ...