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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Relativity addition and signs

I have just covered a very brief module on special relativity as a part of my physics course. I have also done some extra reading mostly; Morrin's Classical Mechanics. While I found the book really ...
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29 views

Heat energy in special theory of relativity [duplicate]

Is heat energy invariant under Lorentz transformation? If so then how?
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48 views

Realtivistic explanation of forces between two conducting wires

The formula for the force between two infinite conducting wires per unit of length, $F_l = \frac{\mu_0}{2\pi} \frac{I_1 I_2}{r}$, is quite well known. It was used for definition of ampere and was ...
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How long would it take me to travel to a distant star?

Suppose I wanted to travel to one of the recently discovered potentially Earth-like planets such as Kepler 186f that is 490 light years away. Assuming I had a powerful rocket and enough fuel, how long ...
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1answer
21 views

Integral Over Hypersurface Simplification

How does one see it as obvious that $$\int_S \frac{\partial A_i}{\partial x^j} dS^{ji} = \int_S\frac{1}{2}(\frac{\partial A_j}{\partial x^i} - \frac{\partial A_i}{\partial x^j})dS^{ij}$$ where $d ...
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54 views

Hyperbolic Cosine and Sine in Terms of 3-D Velocity

Intuitively, why are $\cosh(\theta) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-(v/c)^2}}$ and $\sinh(\theta) = \frac{v/c}{\sqrt{1-(v/c)^2}}$ true in special relativity? Is there some picture I can draw in Minkowski space ...
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54 views

What is the age of the Universe from the big-bang light perspective?

What is the age of the Universe from the big-bang light perspective? We all agree that the universe is around 14 billion years, from the perspective of a hypothetical observer moving in a galaxy, ...
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21 views

Ultrarelativistic limit of helicity values

Let's have helicity operator: $$ \hat {h} = \frac{(\hat {\mathbf S} \cdot \hat {\mathbf p})}{|\mathbf p|}. $$ For massive case spin $s$ representation it has $2s + 1$ eigenvalues $s, s - 1,..., -s$, ...
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Problem in the Ladder paradox in relativity?

The ladder paradox consists of a ladder rushing towards a garage with two open doors. In the actual paradox, proper length of the ladder is greater than that of the garage, but in this case lets ...
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3answers
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Help getting my head around frames of reference in special relativity

OK, so my textbook says that in time dilation and length contraction, the proper time and the proper length is "That which is in the frame of reference of the observer at rest relative to the event". ...
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2answers
241 views

Why the generators of boosts transform like a vector under rotation?

$$\left[J_i,J_j \right]=i\epsilon_{ijk}J_k$$ $$\left[J_i,M_j \right]=i\epsilon_{ijk}M_k$$ $$\left[M_i,M_j \right]=-i\epsilon_{ijk}J_k$$ where $J_i$ is the generator of rotation of Lorentz group, $M_i$ ...
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84 views

What Did Nobelaureate Smoot Mean by “Modern Efforts to Find Violations of Special Relativity”

In George Smoot's 2006 Nobel Lecture, having won the Nobel prize for his research on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), he refers to the possibility of the CMB being a special frame stating ...
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1answer
124 views

Energy-Momentum Tensor under Lorentz Transformation

In relativity, the symmetric energy-momentum tensor is given by $$ T^{ij}, $$ where $T^{00}$ is the energy density and $\frac{1}{c}T^{10}$ is the momentum density. Thus: $$ \left(\frac{1}{c}T^{00}dV, ...
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1answer
102 views

Lorentz transformation of electromagnetic 4-potential

I'm looking for the exact correspondence between Lorentz transfer four vector and the four vector of scalar and vector potential $A^\mu = (\phi(t,\vec{x}),\vec{A}(t,\vec{x}))^{T}$. Does $ct=A(t), ...
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175 views

Why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E = pc$?

See, the energy of a photon is given out by $E = pc = hv$ why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E ^2= p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4$ by putting $p = \gamma mv$ and then get a value for $m$ (which will be $0$ for a ...
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2answers
330 views

Uncertainty of permittivity of vacuum [duplicate]

Question: The value of permittivity of vacuum, $\epsilon_0$, is given with absolutely no uncertainty in NIST Why is this the case? More details: The permeability of vacuum can be given by ...
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2answers
87 views

How much of Minkowski spacetime structure can be recovered from its causal structure?

A beginner's question: I have always understood that (four-dimensional) Minkowski spacetime can be recovered up to a constant factor—i.e. 'up to a dilation' or 'up to global scale'—from its causal ...
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64 views

Electric Magnetic potential and Lorentz transform [closed]

I have heard that the scalar potential and the magnetic vector potential in the electromagnetic four potential become the four vector by the Lorentz transform. Thereafter, the Lorentz transform leads ...
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148 views

What's the purpose of the speed of light in $E = mc^2$?

Is $E=mc^2$ not just $E=m$. What does the speed of light have to do with this other than to give it a really big number so it looks cool? What spectrum of light is used? How can we test the speed of ...
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1answer
51 views

Speed=mass=time? [closed]

I was wondering why objects gain mass with speed? How can we measure speed if there is no truly stationary point to measure from? And if an object comes to a stand still will it loose its mass? ...
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1answer
197 views

What are the eigenvalues of the Lorentz matrix?

The Lorentz matrix defines the transformation of a four-vector between different frames of reference, such that $$ p^{'\mu} = \Lambda^{\mu}_{\ \ \nu}p^{\nu} $$ where in this example $p^{\mu}$ is the ...
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106 views

The speed of light and unstable matter

Mr.E is on a luxury spaceship travelling about 1/2 the speed of light and finds a cubic lump of unstable matter(attached to a bomb) in his cabin. He of course is an expert with bombs but this device ...
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91 views

“Imaginary” Perfect Time

In the definition (in one spatial dimension) of $\Delta \tau$ there is the relation: $(\Delta \tau)^2 = (\Delta t)^2 - (\Delta x)^2$ which is invariant. If $(\Delta x)^2 > (\Delta t)^2$ then there ...
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43 views

Electromagnetism and the principle of relativity

I'm reading the book "Fundamental Physics 2: Electromagnetism" by Alonso and Finn. I understand everything up to the point where everything is "unified". The following example is given in the book: ...
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442 views

What's the relationship between $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$, $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ and $SO(1,3)$?

I'm a beginner of QFT. Ref. 1 states that [...] The Lorentz group $SO(1,3)$ is then essentially $SU(2)\times SU(2)$. But how is it possible, because $SU(2)\times SU(2)$ is a compact Lie group ...
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Relativistic Transverse Doppler Effect

In Minkowski spacetime, two observers, A and B, are moving at uniform speeds u and v, respectively, along different trajectories, each parallel to the y-axis of some inertial frame S. Observer A emits ...
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1answer
62 views

What is the resolution to this apparent contradiction?

Momentum is defined as $$p = \gamma m_0 v$$ And here is another law $$E^2=(m_0c^2)^2+(pc)^2$$ And this website says the energy of a red photon is $1.9074 eV$. Also, light has a rest mass of $0$. The ...
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About the speed of light

If Mr. E is aboard a spaceship traveling near the speed of light the usual reason for the spaceship not going faster than $c$ is the (relativistic) mass of the ship increases without bound, I think. ...
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2answers
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Why do we set $x^0 = ct$ instead of $x^0 = t$?

When we deal with Special Relativity and we start considering spacetime instead of space and time each at once, we usually see books saying that we consider a space with four coordinate $x^\alpha$ ...
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What if photons are not the fastest particles?

Einstein originally thought that special relativity was about light and how it always travelled at the same speed. Nowadays, we think that special relativity is about the idea that there is some ...
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Lagrangian for relativistic massless particle

For relativistic massive particle, the action is $$S ~=~ -m_0 \int ds ~=~ -m_0 \int d\lambda ~(\dot x ^\mu \dot x_\mu)^{\frac{1}{2}} ~=~ \int d\lambda \ L,$$ where $ds$ is the proper time of the ...
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37 views

Concerning a previous possible tachyon observation? [duplicate]

A few years ago there was a story about an experiment involving the Large Hadron Colider and a possible observed tachyon. If this happened maybe this could be explained by the enormous energy levels ...
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1answer
62 views

Relativistic addition of velocities of spaceships

If Spaceship 1 is traveling at speed $.5c$ relative to Earth, and Spaceship 2 is traveling at speed $.3c$ relative to Earth in the same direction, what does Spaceship 2 see Spaceship 1's speed as? I ...
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61 views

Zero photon energy in moving frame

Suppose I have a photon with energy $E$ (in its rest frame) moving along the $z$ direction with momentum $\mathbf{p} = p_z\mathbf{\hat{z}}$: The Lorentz transform in the laboratory frame should be: ...
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Time dilation in special relativity

Suppose a star ship is moving with some velocity. Two light pulses one in direction similar to star ship another opposite to it is shot towards the space ship. Then how time inside space ship adjust ...
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625 views

Minkowski Metric Signature

When I learned about the Minkowski Space and it's coordinates, it was explained such that the metric turns out to be $$ ds^{2} = -(cdx^{0})^{2} +(dx^{1})^{2} + (dx^{2})^{2} + (dx^{3})^{2} $$ where $ ...
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311 views

Breaking the speed of light relative to a moving object [duplicate]

You can't go faster than light, and light can't be additive (if you shine a light from a spaceship, the light is not going $c$+"speed of spaceship", it's just going like it always does). But what ...
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187 views

Detecting absolute motion inside a box

This is not a contradiction and I know it is impossible but still consider a thought experiment by me and point out if something is wrong. See the following picture and then the explanation follows. ...
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How an accelerated object sees another accelerated body in special relativity?

Assume two objects are moving with a constant acceleration $a_1$ and $a_2$, which are the measured accelerations by respective object (or constant force being applied to each of the objects). My ...
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2answers
86 views

Apparent velocity of an approaching object

What would be the apparent velocity of an object approaching us at an actual velocity of $v$? I know $cv/c-v$ is a possible answer but here's another argument - shouldn't the velocity be the Doppler ...
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1answer
55 views

Why is $\phi$ constant in the hyperbolic Lorentz transforms?

If two spacetime events are separated by $(dx,dy,dz,dt),(dx',dy',dz',dt)$ in two reference frames $K,K'$ respectively, whose relative motion is purely along the $x$-axis, then, purely due to the ...
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Distance Between Two Photons Calculated in Different Inertial Frames

I am a self-studier. This is a question from a text I am studying: The distance between two photons traveling along the $x$-axis of an inertial frame, $S$, is always $l$. Show that in a second ...
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36 views

Angles between axes after Lorentz transformations

Consider frame $K_1, K_2, K_3$ such that $K_1$ moves along the $y$ axis of $K_2$ with speed $v$ and $K_2$ moves along the $x$ axis of $K_3$ with speed $u$. Find the angle between the $x$ axis of $K_1$ ...
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1answer
51 views

velocity in inertial and nontial frames

I got confused about the difference between the last term of both pictures. In the first one, we have w x r, but in the second we have w x r underlined. Does anyone have a better explanation? They ...
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2answers
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Why is the Faraday Tensor derived from the Lorentz force?

If we start from the Lorentz force, $$\textbf{F}=q\textbf{E} +q\textbf{v}\times\textbf{B}$$ and use the four velocity u$^{\mu}$ and the four momentum p$^{\nu}$, then we get to ...
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212 views

The scissor paradox: can we pass the information faster than light? [duplicate]

click to view the image Before I start, I want to say that this is not a duplicate of "Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light by using a rigid pole?", Since point A is ...
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48 views

Query into the cumulative velocity of mounted platforms

Consider throwing a stone at an object from rest, it travels at Vms-1. Now throw that stone whilst running at Ums-1. It seems in the latter scenario the total speed of stone is V + U. Now imagine ...
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1answer
101 views

Relativistic Elastic Collision

I am having trouble getting my head around the transfer of energy in a relativistic elastic collision. My understanding of a relativistic elastic collision is one in which the total rest mass on each ...
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1answer
66 views

Electron distribution around atom when moving

I do not have much experience on this but if an atom has some electrons around nucleus and the atom itself it is moving at some speed does that affect the distribution of electrons around? I am ...
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4answers
203 views

How do we know that photons are exactly massless and travel exactly with speed $c$ in vacuum?

I know that this question may sound stupid, but what I mean is that photons have some energy and no mass, yet the mass and energy are said to be equivalent (or maybe I got that part wrong). In an ...