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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Dimensionless numbers in relativistic theory

Dimensionless numbers allow physicists and engineers to extend the physical modeling landscape by reducing otherwise complex mathematics to a simple proportional relationship. For example by assuming ...
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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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Can a relativistic quantum particle be completely confined into a finite hole?

If we write the Klein-Gordon equation in this form \begin{equation*} c^2 \hbar^2 \nabla^2 \Psi = \hbar^2 \ddot{\Psi} + 2i\hbar (U - mc^2) \dot{\Psi} + U (2mc^2 - U) \Psi \end{equation*} we have a ...
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Matrix dimensions in the spacetime interval equation don't seem to agree? (Possible notation misunderstanding)

The spacetime interval in flat space can be expressed as $(\Delta s)^2 = g_{\alpha \beta} \Delta x^\alpha \Delta x^\beta$. I understand covariant, $x_a$, and contravariant, $x^a$, vectors to be row ...
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Relativity and Current in Wire

If an observer is stationary relative to a current-carrying wire in which electrons are moving, why does the observer measure the density of moving electrons to be the same as the density of electrons ...
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Proof that spacetime interval is invariant

I'm trying to understand the proof that spacetime interval is invariant under for any two inertial observers. I know it's easy to arrive at the result using Lorentz transformation but I'm trying to ...
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What is the significance of the “squared” in $E =mc^2$? [duplicate]

If $c$ is just an arbitrary constant, why don't we say $E=mc$ and define the value of $c$ to be $\sqrt{299 792 458} \approx 17314$ meters per second? Or, why not use $E=mc^3$?
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A spin on relativity's twin paradox?

What if a twin is in a rocket in a synchronous orbit with the equator of the Earth while the second twin is standing at the equator watching his twin in space. If we use 0.87c for ease of calculation ...
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Relativistic Momentum and Energy - Lorentz Transformations [closed]

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab is colliding fully ionized gold (Au) nuclei accelerated to an energy of 200 GeV per nucleon. Each Au Nucleus contains 197 ...
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Stone vs. Atomic Bomb

What would do more damage, a B53, a 9 megaton uranium bomb, or a medium sized stone (2 kg) stone throw at 90% the speed of light. One thing that I know that will have to be considered is that fact ...
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Theory of relativity. Relative to what? [duplicate]

If I properly understand relativity, time ticks faster for an object sitting still than for an object passing by. So, in a universe with only two objects which have the same "age", object A is ...
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67 views

Exactly which components of special relativity are contained in Minkowski spacetime?

In other words, which components or concepts in special relativity are reflected in Minkowski spacetime? If I'm not mistaken, Lorentz covariance is one of these concepts, correct? I'm trying to ...
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Dark matter: Will Special Relativity hold?

Part 1: It’s been said that dark matter makes up about 26 % of the universe. The restart of LHC would be dealing with the existence of dark matter also. Consider a situation that the results are ...
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192 views

Charged particle under a uniform electric field

Suppose a charge particle $q$ starts to move without initial velocity under the influence of a uniform electric field $E$ pointing in the positive $x$ direction. Express its position vector in ...
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71 views

Invariance of Maxwell equations [closed]

Is there an easy way to show that the Maxwell equations $$ \partial_\alpha F_{\beta\gamma} + \partial_\gamma F_{\alpha\beta} + \partial_\beta F_{\gamma\alpha} = 0 $$ are invariant under a Lorentz ...
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Composition of Lorentz Transformations

If a particle is moving in the $x$-direction with velocity $c/2$, then the Lorentz transformation $\Lambda = \begin{pmatrix}\gamma & -\beta \gamma & 0 & 0 \\ -\beta \gamma & \gamma ...
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Would Special Relativity Predict Time Dilation of a Geostationary Satellite Compared to an Observer on Earth?

Consider a geostationary satellite at some arbitrary distance above the Earth's equator and consider a person directly below it, standing on the Earth's equator. Both satellite and person exist on the ...
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131 views

Special Relativity - Distance Not Increased?

I just watched the movie Interstellar and the question was asked of why/how high-speed travel would slow time within an area. Curious as I am, I watched several YouTube videos to quickly 'educate' ...
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Why does the minus sign in the Minkowski metric mean that nothing can move backwards in time?

I just watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkCWywO93b8#t=27 and there Mr. Cox states that because of the minus sign in the Minkowski metric nothing can move backwards in time. It's ...
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Speed of light yes or no? [closed]

First off I am not a physics student: I am more of a science enthusiast. My question pertains to time and the speed of light: According to Einstein, no mass can travel at the speed of light. Now, ...
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Intrinsic CPT phase

Under charge conjugation C, spatial inversion P and time reversal T transformations, there are possible intrinsic phases (more for this on Chapter 9, The Quantum Theory of Field v1 by S. Weinberg): ...
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Einstein's mass-energy equivalence [closed]

Einstein's wonder equation $E=m c^2$,if we take energy is proportional to the mass, we can put single constant to make that equivalent equation. We all know that ...
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Relativistic Kinematics - 2-Body Particle Decay

Consider the scenario where a particle of mass $M$ decays into two lighter particles of mass $m_1$ and $m_2$. In the center of mass frame (i.e. $\mathbf{p}_1$ and $\mathbf{p}_2$, the momenta of the ...
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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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Imaginary time?

If we begin with the equation for time dilation: $$ \Delta t^\prime = \frac{\Delta t}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}} $$ Now, for a particle moving in space with no potential energy, $$ E = \frac{1}{2} ...
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Polarization vector identity in Minkowski space?

Playing around with numerical light-like momenta $p^\mu_1,p^\mu_2$ (light-like meaning ${p_1}^\mu {p_1}_\mu={p_2}^\mu {p_2}_\mu=0$) and corresponding circular polarization vectors ...
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SR: vector field and change of reference [closed]

If $U$ and $V$ are vector fields, then the derivative of $U$ along $V$ is the vector field $\nabla _V U$ with components $$\nabla _V U^a=V^b \frac{\partial U^a}{\partial x^b}.$$ I would like to verify ...
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Special relativity mirror clock experiment inconsistency

Say I set up a relativistic mirror clock experiment in which a spaceship contains a set of mirrors with a photon bouncing between them. Say the photon's motion is parallel to the direction of motion ...
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Would you be able to see yourself in a mirror in front of you as you two are in a room traveling at the speed of light? [duplicate]

Veritasium talked about this in one video. If you are in a room or a train, plane, car or whatever just a closed space traveling at the speed of light and you put a mirror in front of you, could you ...
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Is there experimental evidence supporting the equivalence principle between different particles?

Knowing virtually nothing of GR, and only hints of particle theory, this might be something of a naive question. If I've misunderstood somethings, I would gladly like to know why. Perhaps a more ...
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Space and time variant? But together invariant?

I admit I'm having difficulty with spacetime. I don't understand how unifying space and time, seemingly variant quantities, results in an invariant spacetime. All texts and references talk about using ...
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Deriving the Lorentz factor

Recently, I learned how to derive E = mc^2. However, to do so, one must accept the relativistic mass equation. How does one derive this?
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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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Propagation speed of photons when taking higher-order QFT corrections into account

In our group of experimental physicist who have nothing to do with and know very little about quantum field theory, we recently had a question concerning the propagation speed of photons in vacuum: ...
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Is the universe a quantum computer - is light speed barrier a computational constraint

There is currently a debate ongoing on leading maths blog Gödel’s Lost Letter, between Gil Kalai and Aram Harrow, with the former arguing that building a quantum computer may not be possible due to ...
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Why collide a moving particle with a particle at rest, rather than two moving particles?

I was just reading some lecture notes about relativistic and quantum mechanics, and in the later part of this page the author demonstrates that any relativistic particle collision in the "lab" ...
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How do I derive the Lorentz contraction from the invariant interval?

Reviewing some basic special relativity, and I stumbled upon this problem: From the definition of the proper time: $$c^2d\tau^2=c^2dt^2-dx^2$$ I was able to derive the time dilation formula by using ...
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Why are the proper time and the proper length not defined in the same frame of reference?

I've just read this interesting Wikipedia article about time dilation and length contraction in special relativity. . Derivation of time dilation Applying the above postulates, consider the ...
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Is $E=mc^2$ false?

Recently, I found a YouTube video saying that $$E=mc^2$$ is false. It says that the real one is $$ E^2=m^2 c^4 + p^2 c^2 $$ where $E$: energy, $m$: mass, $c$: speed of light and $p$: momentum. Is ...
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Rindler and Minkowski space future/past infinity

In my black holes course, we are looking at the Penrose diagram for 1+1 D Minkowski space. My notes don't specifically describe $i^{\pm}$ (future/past timelike infinity) but do say all timelike curves ...
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In $1$-dimensional space, how would the gravity generated by an electron affect a photon moving away from the electron if the photon can’t slow down?

Suppose we had a universe obeying the same physical laws as our own. But it had only one spatial dimension (represented by the $x$ axis) and it was totally empty. There are just two point-like ...
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What is $E$ in the Planck-Einstein relation?

The Planck-Einstein relation was first given for photons $$E = h\nu$$ But later, de Broglie extended it to matter waves, and showed that it would hold for all particles as well. The $E$ for a photon ...
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282 views

Energy transfer using quantum entanglement

Can we transfer energy from one place to another separated by arbitrarily large distances without any time lag? For instance, if Alice and Bob are two observers making measurements having a singlet ...
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786 views

Is the change in kinetic energy of a particle frame independent?

Intuitively, I would expect the change in kinetic energy of a particle to be frame independent. It just doesn't "feel" right that between two points in time-space, one frame should measure a change in ...
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563 views

why is the magnetic field circular

According to relativity, If magnetic field is just an electric field viewed from a different frame of reference, why is the magnetic field around the wire is circular?
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Relativity asymmetry?

If you have two bodies that move towards each other at a constant velocity, each body will observe the other body experience time faster. This does not make sense to me because if you had a person ...
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Why do things slow down when you move faster, rather than speed up?

I've been trying to get to grips with SpaceTime. As I understand it, we move at a set rate through spacetime. Any increase in our rate of travel through space results in a decrease in our rate of ...
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170 views

Thought experiment: Tethered galaxies - to the extreme

If two rocks were tied together with a tight, absurdly long, non-elastic rope, and placed on planets at either end of Earth's observable universe - or beyond - What would happen? Is the structural ...
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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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Is a nuclear bomb in some sense a bullet travelling at the speed of light, but along time rather than along space?

Apologies if this is a silly or perhaps obvious question, but $E=mc^2$ just looks so much like classical kinetic energy (except for the factor of 2). So I'm thinking of the to-be-fissioned-away ...