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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Is a photon “fixed in spacetime”?

From what I've read, according to relativity, a photon does not "experience" the passage of time. (Can we say there is no past/present/future for a photon?) Would it be better to say a photon is ...
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Why isn't there a limit for a Euclidean rotation, as for a Minkowski rotation?

From invariance of the Minkowski scalar product, we get the Lorentz transformations. In addition, we get a constant $c$ preventing space-like and time-like intervals being rotated into one another. ...
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Why Lorentz Transformation in Special Relativity has to be like this?

Basically I think Albert Einstein (A.E.) was trying to find a transformation that: Always transform a constant-velocity movement into a constant-velocity movement. Always transform a ...
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Do you encounter more photons (per unit time) when moving forwards at a constant velocity?

Let's say you have rain hitting you evenly on all sides (not very realistic, I know). If you were to move forwards at a constant speed, there would be more droplets of rain hitting you per second on ...
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Time travel outside of light cone without causality violation

If one is able to travel into the past but at a spatial distance that puts him outside of his own past light cone would this be considered a causality violating trip? Looking at a Minkoski diagram, it ...
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Deriving the action and the Lagrangian for a free point particle in Special Relativity

My question relates to Landau & Lifshitz, Classical Theory of Field, Chapter 2: Relativistic Mechanics, Paragraph 8: The principle of least action. As stated there, to determine the action ...
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Why don't electromagnetic waves require a medium?

As I understand it, electromagnetic waves have two components which are the result of each other, i.e., when a moving electric charge creates a changing magnetic field at point X then a changing ...
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Poincare group vs Galilean group

One can define the Poincare group as the group of isometries of the Minkowski space. Is its Lie algebra given either by the equations 2.4.12 to 2.4.14 (..as also given in this page - ...
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Proving invariance of $ds^2$ from the invariance of the speed of light

I've started today the book of Landau and Lifshitz Vol.2: The Classical Theory of Fields $\S 2$. They start from the invariance of the speed of light, express it as the fact that $$c^2(\Delta ...
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Has relativity of simultaneity been directly observed?

I know that thought experiment about trains when a flash of light in the middle reaches the both end simultaneously for a passenger but different times for the bystander. So were there (non-thought) ...
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Identification of the state of particle types with representations of Poincare group

In the second chapter of the first volume of his books on QFT, Weinberg writes in the last paragraph of page 63: In general, it may be possible by using suitable linear combinations of the ...
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Relativistic centripetal force

The thought randomly occurred to me that a circular particle accelerator would have to exert a lot of force in order to maintain the curvature of the trajectory. Many accelerators move particles at ...
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Is causality a formalised concept in physics?

I have never seen a “causality operator” in physics. When people invoke the informal concept of causality aren’t they really talking about consistency (perhaps in a temporal context)? For example, if ...
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Can a black hole form due to Lorentz contraction? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of light would it turn into a black hole? Imagine, a rod of length L is moving with velocity approaching the speed of ...
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Why is the stress-energy tensor symmetric?

The relativistic stress-energy tensor $T$ is important in both special and general relativity. Why is it symmetric, with $T_{\mu\nu}=T_{\nu\mu}$? As a secondary question, how does this relate to the ...
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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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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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How is the Photoelectric Effect affected by Blue-Shifting

I was thinking about the Photoelectric Effect and Blue-Shifting when I came up with a thought experiment that I couldn't think of an answer for. The thought experiment is as follows: A metal plate is ...
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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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Rigorous definition of frame of reference

I'm looking for a mathematical definition of frame of reference. Most of the textbooks I have seen take it for granted and they just refer to some set of spacetime coordinates. A more mathematical ...
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Spontaneous breaking of Lorentz invariance

Is it possible to spontaneously break Lorentz invariance, i.e., have a Lagrangian that respects LI but a vacuum which does not? If it is possible, why isn't there even the slightest hint of the ...
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Is there a mathematical reason for the Lagrangian to be Lorentz invariant?

The Hamiltonian is the energy, which is just one component of a four-vector and therefore not Lorentz invariant. The Lagrangian is the Legendre transform of the Hamiltonian and I was wondering if ...
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Why Lorentz group for fields and Poincaré group for particles?

Wigner treatment associates to particles the irreps of the universal covering of the Poincaré group $$\mathbb{R}(1,3)\rtimes SL(2,\mathbb{C}).$$ Why don't we consider finite dimensional ...
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Is there a relativity-compatible thermodynamics?

I am just wondering that laws in thermodynamics are not Lorentz invariant, it only involves the $T^{00}$ component. Tolman gave a formalism in his book. For example, the first law is replaced by the ...
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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: $$ ...
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The origin of the value of speed of light

Meaning, why is it the exact number that it is? Why not 2x10^8 m/s instead of 3? Does it have something to do with the mass, size or behavior of a photon? To be clear, I'm not asking "how we ...
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Why is the speed of light arbitrarily the limit? [duplicate]

I know Einstein was great and all. Why is it that exactly at the speed of light is where infinite energy is required to accelerate any object with mass? Is it simply because the math of relativity ...
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Is there always a frame in which spatially separated events are simultaneous?

In relativity, if two events are simultaneous in a specified frame, they cannot be simultaneous in any other frame. My question is this: given any two events, is there always a frame in which these ...
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Do photons age in a medium?

According to special relativity, time starts to slow down as we increase our speed and eventually stops once we get to the speed of light. By that logic, photons don't age in a vacuum state as, to us, ...
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Is there a fourth component to the electric field and magnetic field?

The Question If the three vector electric and magnetic fields come from the four component four-potential, then is there a fourth component to the electric and magnetic field? Related Question I ...
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Potential energy in $E_f^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$?

Let's consider $$E_f^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$$ where the $mc^2$ is the rest energy due to the rest mass -- in Finnish "lepomassa". $$ \sqrt{(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2} - mc^2~=~(\gamma-1)mc^2$$ is the kinetic ...
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Is (rest) mass conserved in special relativity?

I don't understand why it is said that the (rest) mass of a system is not conserved in relativity. I mean, the momentum of a system is conserved (i.e.: it remains constant in a frame of reference ...
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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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Could any object have zero mass? [duplicate]

Energy and mass are interrelated. As everything has energy could any object be massless? For example a photon is a packet of energy but still it is considered to be a massless particle. Why is it so?
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The reference frame of $c$

I don't have a lot of knowledge of special relativity and associated topics; some of the few things I know are that "all motion is relative" (that is, there is no 'stationary reference frame'), and ...
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Are Classical Field Theory and Quantum Mechanics of a single particle (nonrelativistic or “classical”) limits of Quantum Field Theory?

Recently I talked about QFT with another physicist and mentioned that the Quantum Field Theory of a fermion is a quantisation of its one-particle quantum mechanical theory. He denied this and ...
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Does a muon detector on Earth's surface correctly measure the mean lifetime of a muon?

Just a simple question. Does a muon detector on Earth's surface correctly measure the mean lifetime of a muon? I would think the answer is no because most muons detected are created about 15 km above ...
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Tachyon and Photons

Is there a particle called "tachyons" that can travel faster than light? If so, would Einstein's relativity be wrong? According to Einstein no particle can travel faster than light.
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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, ...
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Generators of Poincare Groups

How can I determine the generators of the Poincare Group, $P(1,3)$ explicitly? Here $P(1,3)$ means a matrix Lie group.
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“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: ...
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Whether $m$ in $E=mc^{2}$ and $F=ma$ are both relativistic mass?

I know that $m$ in $E=mc^{2}$ is the relativistic mass, but can $m$ in $F=ma$ can also be relativistic? If the answer is yes, then can you tell me whether this equation is valid $E=\frac{F}{a}c^{2}$? ...
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Lorentz Invariant Integration Measure [closed]

When we canonically quantize the scalar field in QFT, we use a Lorentz invariant integration measure given by $$\widetilde{dk} \equiv \frac{d^3k}{(2\pi)^3 2\omega(\textbf{k})}.$$ How can I show that ...
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Special relativity and electromagnets

This Veritasium video explains how electromagnets can be explained by special relativity, and how the magnetic field surrounding a current-carrying wire can also be viewed as an electric field, if ...
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Is acceleration relative?

A while back in my Dynamics & Relativity lectures my lecturer mentioned that an object need not be accelerating relative to anything - he said it makes sense for an object to just be accelerating. ...
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Is the commutation of all possible operators sufficient to identify a spacelike interval?

It has been claimed (e.g. here) and apparently already been established, that the interval $x - y$ being (called) "spacelike" implies that $\bigl[\hat O (x),\, \hat O' (y)\bigr]=0$ for any two (not ...
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What does the statement “the laws of physics are invariant” mean?

In the first paragraph of Wikipedia's article on special relativity, it states one of the assumptions of special relativity is the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial ...
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How to describe arbitrary accelerations in special relativity

Describing acceleration in special relativity is in principle straightforward, and for simple cases the resulting transformations are simple. Examples include circular motion and constant acceleration ...
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current in wire + special relativity = magnetism

Current in wire + moving charge next to wire creates magnetic force in the stationary reference frame OR electric force in the moving reference frame from special relativity due to change in charge ...
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Cancelling special & general relativistic effects

We know that for a GPS we need to make a correction for both general and special relativity: general relativity predicts that clocks go slower in a higher gravitational field (the clock aboard a GPS ...