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 Einstein's characterization of “time” as “the position of the little hand of my watch” definitive and binding in the RT?

In Einstein's very first publication dealing with the Theory of Relativity, effectively as a preamble to all subsequent thought-experimental considerations and descriptions, Einsteín put the ...
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Can one create mass from energy?

Due to $ E =m c^2 $, one can convert mass to energy. A classic example would be matter/anti-matter annihilation to produce energy (photons, etc.). Can one do the reverse? So could one do something to ...
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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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Is special relativity a special case of general relativity, qualitatively?

Since Einstein name his theory Special Relativity and General Relativity, there should be some expected relationship between them, particularly "Special Relativity" being a special case of the more ...
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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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How to prove that proper orthochronous Lorentz transformations form a group?

Proper orthochronous Loentz transform are Lorentz transforms that satisfy the conditions (sign convention of Minkowskian metric $+---$) $$\det \Lambda=+1, \qquad \Lambda^0{}_0 \geq +1.$$ How to prove ...
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If a neutrino has a rest frame, why can't a photon have a rest frame as well?

Concerning Rest Frame Wikipedia states: For example, in the rest frame of a neutrino particle travelling from the Crab Nebula supernova to Earth the supernova occurred in the 11th Century AD ...
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How does wind speed affect the velocity of light?

As you know, there is a maximum speed things can go called $c$, the "speed of light." Light in a vacuum goes $c$. Light in the atmosphere, however, goes a little less than $c$. My question is: what ...
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How do I develop an intuitive model of spacetime?

I am your nightmare poster - a layman trying to learn special relativity. (I'm also a refugee from stackoverflow.com: trust me, it's only going to get worse). Apologies in advance if my question is ...
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What is the speed of light relative to?

Consider the scenario where you measure the time it takes for light to travel to the left 10 meters and to the right 10 meters. Both measurements will take the same time, even though we are moving ...
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What is imaginary time? [duplicate]

I am not professional physicist; but I am curious about Stephen Hawking's "imaginary time". It would be better to elaborate exactly what it is. I am not confused because of the word "imaginary" but I ...
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Darwin term and Zitterbewegung

I've noticed that in the discussion of the fine structure of Hydrogen atom standard QM texts claim that the Darwin term, which corrects energy of $\ell=0$ (or $s$-) states only, is related to the ...
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Frequency of cosmic microwave background

Some people refer to cosmic microwave background's (CMB) frame of reference as an absolute one. If I understand correctly, we can measure 'absolute' velocity in this frame by using the Doppler effect. ...
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Do we move at the speed of light relative to light?

My understanding of relativity isn't very sophisticated, but it seems to me that relative to a photon moving at the speed of light, we are moving at the speed of light. Is this the case?
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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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Einstein's Gedanken Experiment that lead to the Special Theory of Relativity

Once, I read that Einstein founded the special relativity theory by imagining how an observer moves at the speed of light. How does this thought experiment work? How to reach from this imagination to ...
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Is Einstein's Special Relativity completely inclusive of Newton's 3 laws of motion?

Relativity has always been explained to me (in books I've read, etc) as a superset of newton's laws - that is; it encapsulates all of Newton's mechanics in addition to other effects (observer effect, ...
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Representations of the Poincare group

Which type of states carry the irreducible unitary representations of the Poincare group? Multi-particle states or Single-particle states?
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What is Relativistic Navier-Stokes Equation Through Einstein Notation?

Navier-Stokes equation is non-relativistic, what is relativistic Navier-Stokes equation through Einstein notation?
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Meaning of spin

I'm pretty astounded that I did not hear about this sooner, but in my course on QFT our professor told us that the concept of spin can be used to mean three things: Mechanical spin (apparently a ...
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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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Spin-Statistics Theorem (SST)

Please can you help me understand the Spin-Statistics Theorem (SST)? How can I prove it from a QFT point of view? How rigorous one can get? Pauli's proof is in the case of non-interacting fields, how ...
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what is the kinematics of a particle with complex mass?

particles with real-mass have time-like kinematics ($ds^2 > 0$). particles with zero-mass have light-like kinematics ($ds^2 = 0$). particles with imaginary-mass have space-like kinematics ($ds^2 < ...
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High speed and low speed photons

Looking at the discovery of the neutron, and I came across this page: http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/neutron/neutron3_1.htm The animation on the left, talks about low energy photons and ...
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What are the linear maps which preserve the time-like cone?

I'm looking at the set of time-like vectors: $\mathcal{T}_+ = \{ x \in \mathbb{R}^4 \mbox{ s.t. } x^T \eta x \geq 0 \:, x^0\geq 0\} $, where $\eta = \mbox{diag}(1, -1, -1, -1)$. I want to be able to ...
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Is the total cross section a Lorentz Invariant?

In Peskin and Schroeder's book (P&S), on the botton of page 106, the authors say that the total cross section transforms as its only non-invariant factor, namely: $$ {1 \over E_{A} E_{B} |v_A - ...
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Can we show that time is orthogonal to space?

It's easy to show that the time we measure is "in a different direction" from the space directions we measure. However, it's not immediately obvious to me that these directions are orthogonal. How do ...
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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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Horizon and Unruh radiation for a finite period of acceleration

It's a well known fact that an observer that accelerates at a constant rate from $-c$ at past infinity to $+c$ at future infinity sees a horizon in flat Minkowski spacetime. This is easy to see from a ...
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What is the formula for the relativistic ellipse?

If an astronomer moves at relativistic speed, the stars and constellations are distorted. He sees the stars towards which he is moving blue shifted, while the ones he's moving away from are red ...
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What if the binding energy becomes larger than the rest mass?

Looking at the equation for binding energy and mass defect, $$ B = m_{\text{free}} - m_{\text{bound}} \\ \Rightarrow m_{\text{bound}} = m_{\text{free}} - B, $$ my question is the following. Suppose ...
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What's the purpose of the arbitary additive constants in Einstein's Inertia of Energy Paper?

In Einstein's paper: Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy content? he introduces arbitary additive constants whose purpose I'm confused about. The paper has a frame $(x,y,z)$ where a ...
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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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Recommended books for a “relativity for poets” class?

I teach physics at a community college and have developed a new course titled "Relativity for Poets," which I will be teaching for the first time in spring 2015. As implied by the title, it's a ...
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A vertical variation of modern versions of Michelson-Morley

For almost a year now, I have been in the uncomfortable position of having an idea. However, there is one nice thing about this idea. It makes a concrete, exact and relatively easy to test physical ...
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Special relativity and massless particles

I encountered an assertion that a massless particle moves with fundamental speed c, and this is the consequence of special relativity. Some authors (such as L. Okun) like to prove this assertion with ...
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Do velocity and acceleration time dilation factors add?

For a spinning space station such as in 2001, A Space Odyssey, what would be the time slowing in the perimeter of the spinning space station with respect to the center axis of the station? The ...
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Classical vs. Quantum use of the spin 4-vector

I have a few basic questions about the Pauli-Lubanski spin 4-vector S. I've used it in quantum mechanical calculations as an operator, that is to say each of the components of S is a matrix operator ...
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Relativistic drift velocity of electrons in a superconductor?

Is there a formula for the effective speed of electron currents inside superconductors? The formula for normal conductors is: $$ V = \frac{I}{nAq}$$ I wonder if there are any changes to this ...
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Does the “Andromeda Paradox” (Rietdijk–Putnam-Penrose) imply a completely deterministic universe?

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietdijk–Putnam_argument Abstract of 1966 Rietdijk paper: A proof is given that there does not exist an event, that is not already in the past for ...
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What does a relativistically moving capacitor “look” like? [duplicate]

Suppose I have a parallel plate capacitor with a vacuum between the plates, a voltage $V$ across them and a capacitance of $C$. What will this arrangement look like to an observer in a uniformly ...
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Disk spinning at the speed of light [duplicate]

Of course, I mean that the edge of the disk is traveling at the speed of light. This is a question that popped into my head a few years ago when I was learning about some basic relativity in high ...
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Relativistic equivalent of a spring-force?

Usually what helps me understand a concept better in physics is to write a simulation of it. I've got to the point where I'm competent in the basics of special relativity, but, I can't figure out how ...
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Is $E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$ correct, or is $E=mc^2$ the correct one?

I have been having trouble distinguishing these two equations and figuring out which one is correct. I have watched a video that says that $E^2=(mc^2)^2+(pc)^2$ is correct, but I do not know why. It ...
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$E=mc^2$ resembles kinetic energy formula?

The simplest equation expressing mass–energy equivalence is the famous $E=mc^2$ where $c$ represents the speed of light. Compare this with $E_K = \frac{1}{2}mv^2$. Since $E=mc^2$ can be applied to ...
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Is energy content of a system different dependending on the observer?

For the sake of simplicity, let's imagine that the entire Universe is empty except for a single lump of (classical) matter with mass $m$. In its center of momentum frame, it is clear that the total ...
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What is $c + (-c)$?

If object A is moving at velocity $v$ (normalized so that $c=1$) relative to a ground observer emits object B at velocity $w$ relative to A, the velocity of B relative to the ground observer is $$ v ...
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Extended Rigid Bodies in Special Relativity

I was reading Landau & Lifshitz's Classical Theory of Fields and I noticed that they mention that an extended rigid body isn't "relativistically correct". For example, if you consider a rigid ...
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Special Relativity and $E = mc^2$

I read somewhere that $E=mc^2$ shows that if something was to travel faster than the speed of light then they would have infinite mass and would have used infinite energy. How does the equation show ...