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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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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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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What does it mean when physical theories are inconsistent?

I am hoping that someone can explain in layman terms why Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's equations are inconsistent. Wikipedia says that this inconsistency is what led to the development of ...
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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 is the ratio of velocity to the speed of light squared in the Lorentz factor?

Why is the ratio of velocity to the speed of light squared in the Lorentz factor? $${\left( {{v \over c}} \right)^2}$$ My only guess is the value must be positive.
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Why does the Lorentz transformation in special relativity have 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 light-...
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Are gravitational time dilation and the time dilation in special relativity independent?

There are two kinds of time dilation: One because the other clock moves fast relative to me (special relativity). Another one because the other clock is in a stronger gravitational field (general ...
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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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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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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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Spacetime and quantum mechanics

In special relativity, the particle has a fixed world line in spacetime. So its whole trajectory is determined. But how can we represent the world line of the particle in spacetime when we take ...
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Can one deduce absolute motion through magnetism? [closed]

I am trying to understand forces in relativity: Suppose there are two electrons A , B travelling side by side at 1 cm distance at .99 c (in space or at lHC, ignoring all other factors). I know that ...
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Alongside a light ray (in another medium)

It is a said fact that the speed of light is insurmountable. But can the validity of this fact be questioned in another medium? If I pass a beam of light in, say water (here the light speed is ...
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Lorentz transformation of the Spinor Field

I'm reading chapter 3 of Peskin and Schroeder and am stuck on page 43 of P&S. They have defined the Lorentz generators in the spinor representation as: \begin{equation} S^{\mu \nu} = \frac{i}{4}[\...
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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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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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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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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 - http://en....
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One particle states in an interacting theory

Question: What is the general definition of one particle states $|\vec p\rangle$ in an interacting QFT? By general I mean non-perturbative and non-asymptotic. Context. 1) For example, in Weigand'...
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What spacelike, timelike and lightlike really mean?

Suppose we have two events $(x_1,y_1,z_1,t_1)$ and $(x_2,y_2,z_2,t_2)$, then we can define $$\Delta s^2 = -(c\Delta t)^2 + \Delta x^2 + \Delta y^2 + \Delta z^2$$ which is called the spacetime ...
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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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Help Me Gain an Intuitive Understanding of Lorentz Contraction

I'm having a hard time getting an intuitive understanding of Lorentz Contraction. I understand what it is by definition but I don't 'get it.' I'm not a physicist, just an amateur, so sorry if this ...
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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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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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Why Negative Energy States are Bad

The argument is often given that the early attempts of constructing a relativistic theory of quantum mechanics must not have gotten everything right because they led to the necessity of negative ...
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How can relativistic effects be the cause of magnetic forces when the normal speeds of carrier charges are so low?

I had read here that magnetism arises from a current because of the special relativistic effect associated with the speed of the moving charges in that current. However that speed is only on 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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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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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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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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Why can't massless particle exceed speed of light?

Why massless particle can't exceed speed of light?
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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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Do the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations have limited applicability because of retardation?

In the usual bookwork treatment, it is easy to show that the differential and integral forms of Maxwell's equations are equivalent using Gauss's and Stokes's theorems. I have always thought that ...
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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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Why do we identify symmetric 2nd rank tensors with spin-2 particles in string theory?

I am going through Tong's lecture notes on String Theory and came across the following irrep decomposition (Chap 2, p.43) of the bosonic string first excited states: $$\text{traceless symmetric} \...
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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: $$ E^{2}=\Omega^{2}(p^{2}...
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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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Trajectories in Rindler space with zero net time dilation

I've discovered a family of curves in Rindler space that have zero net time dilation. However I struggle to see why this should be so, i.e. what the physical significance of these curves is. My ...
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Is there a maximum energy for a relativistic particle?

So I was told today that the Standard Model breaks down at really, really high energies. The lecturer mentioned particles such as electrons hypothetically having energies equivalent to that of entire ...
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Time Dilation - How does it know which Frame of Reference to age slower?

Okay, I'm asking a question similar to this one here: Time Dilation - what happens when you bring the observers back together?. Specifically, I am curious about a specific angle on the second part of ...
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What's the difference between space and time?

I'm having a hard time understanding how changing space means changing time. In books I've read people are saying "space and time" or "space-time" but never explain what the difference is between the ...
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Would it be possible to develop special relativity without knowing about light?

My understanding of special relativity is that it is fundamentally based on the constancy of the speed of electromagnetic radiation - that this speed is a physical law (or derivable from physical laws ...
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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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How to derive $E=mc^{2}$?

Is there some way to derive $E=mc^{2}$? I can understand that energy in something is proportional to its mass, but the $c^{2}$ part. I have no idea. It seems like the way the units are going it would ...
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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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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 (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 ...