Tagged Questions

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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Arguments for finite speed of physical processes

When beginning a study of the special theory of relativity, one discovers that the theory of special relativity has as an axiom that the laws of physics are invariant with respect to transformations ...
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Conservation of 4-momentum in special relativity

I understand that the inner product of two 4-vectors is conserved under the Lorentz transformations, so that the absolute value of the four momentum is the same in any reference frame. This is what I ...
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2answers
219 views

Is time subjective?

In Minkowski spacetime time is subjective [or more precisely: time is different for every particle/ reference frame]. It is the coordinate time of an observer whose reference frame travels up the ...
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what if the time is zero in one reference frame

Consider measuring the length of an object in another frame of reference. Of course this should happen at the same instance in the frame of reference the measurement takes place in. but using Lorentz ...
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A question on an exercise from Gravitation by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler

My question is on problem 4.1 of Gravitation. In a generic case of electric field and magnetic field(i.e not $E=0$ or $B=0$ or $E$ and $B$ perpendicular), define the direction $\hat{n}$ unit vector , ...
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Energy definition in special relativity

I'm going through the early homework assignments for my special relativity course and I've got myself a little confused about energy. I've got a basic understanding of what the 4-momentum is, having ...
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Existence and uniqueness of solutions to $\nabla^a T_{ab}$ in general (or special) relativity

The equation in the title of this question can be a relativistic analogue of the Navier-Stokes equation (in the sense that, in the low-velocity limit, it reduces to Euler's equation when $T_{ab}$ is ...
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Relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation

What exactly is the relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation? Suppose $J^\mu$ is a contravariant vector that satisfies the continuity equation $\partial_\mu J^\mu=0$. Let ...
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2answers
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Equilibrium: Inertia & Applied Force

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am lay and will understand if the question is closed. My understanding is that in a vacuum, a constant force of $n$ applied to an object of mass $m$, ...
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Time dilation derivation of special relativity

In almost all of the derivations using the postulates of special relativity (SR), we use experiments involving light signals. For example, we make a clock using a light signal or measure lengths using ...
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Is proper time an intrinsic value of Minkowski space?

What is proper time? Is it a part of Minkowski space (that is a mere spacetime interval)? Or is it an intrinsic characteristic of massive particles (a sort of "aging")? Example: In the following ...
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Application of special relativity on sound waves

What is the difference between an electromagnetic wave and other waves that amounts to the EM wave following the Special Relativity. I have been reading about the Special Relativity for some time, and ...
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67 views

Deriving Lorentz transformation - Serway

in Serway, the derivation of Lorentz transformation started from these two equations $$x′=\gamma(x−ut),$$ $$x=\gamma(x′+ut′).$$ The book derived the first equation and then deduced the second. Is ...
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How can Lorentz contraction be “directly” measured?

If one is watching a relativistic object of e.g. spherical shape, which emits enough light to be detectable, it will, despite being Lorentz contracted, appear of its natural shape, although rotated. ...
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Explain polarization in RF in which the conductor is stationary

Consider a metal rod parallel to $x$-axis moving with velocity $\vec v =(0,v,0)$ perpendicular to magnetic field $\vec B=(0,0,B)$. Lorentz force will give rise to the electric field $\vec E = - ...
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1answer
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Driving car with (almost) the speed of the light and switch the headlights on [duplicate]

I'm curious what will happen if we 'drive' a car with (almost) the speed of light, and all of sudden we switch the car headlights on? Will the car headlights ray have double speed (speed of ...
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2answers
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“Vectors” (i.e. 1-tensors) their definition and motivation for relativity

I'm reading Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell (by Zee) and here he defines a vector as an object which is invariant under coordinate representation; concretely, if in one coordinate representation, $V$, ...
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How much time passed for the passenger traveling with at speed-of-light spaceship? [duplicate]

Let's suppose we have a spaceship with the exact speed of light. If a traveller takes this spaceship to go to proxima centauri (approximately 4 years light away from Earth) and come back, we (as ...
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Is it ok to have two events $A$ and $B$ so that for one person $A$ occurs before $B$ but for another $B$ preceds $A$

Imagine two laser beams A and B are released at the same moment to bounce between two mirrors, A was moving and B was at rest, doing the calculations I found that for a person at rest B would reach ...
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One question about derivation of Maxwell equations

I saw the following way of derivation of Maxwell equations: author starts from Lorentz transformations for the 3-vector of force, then he applies them for the Coulomb law, after that gets the Lorentz ...
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what about doing the laser beam in a moving reference frame but with a ball

I realize the situation where a laser beam moves vertically in a moving vehicle but what if the laser beam was a normal ball If we do the same steps of the proof considering that the velocity of the ...
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Is it possible to derive Lorentz transformation equation without Einstein's postulates?

Overview Einstein's proof for the Lorentz transformation is given here: From $O$'s view point, $x^2+y^2+z^2 = (ct)^2$. Form $O'$'s view point, $x'^2+y'^2+z'^2 = (ct')^2$. We find that Einstein ...
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Relativity and the Higgs field

We know very well that as the velocity of an object increases, its relativistic mass also increases because of an increase in its energy which is directly equivalent to mass. We also know that the ...
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126 views

Dragon Ball Z: Hyperbolic Time Chamber *(also increased gravity training) [closed]

Firstly, I am sorry if this seems like a joke. It is not. I have always loved the Dragon Ball series, so this question has been on my mind for a while. Can ...
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2answers
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Why does the light intensity increase as I approach a distance light source?

Analogy: assume that I have constant rain fall and I have a water bucket to collect this rain. If I am rest relative to the earth, I will catch a certain amount of rain. However, if I now move towards ...
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Energy carried by photon not conserved?

In an imaginary frame of reference traveling with a photon, the length of the path traveled is 0. If the length of the path is 0, isn't it similar to say that the photon is either at the source or at ...
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1answer
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What invariant counting process derives the Minkowski metric?

Starting with Euclidean space, suppose I make a number of copies of a coordinate system all coincident at the origin, together with copies of a standard unit length. For any space interval common to ...
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Understanding the “$\pi$” of a rotating disk

Let us say you are in an inertial reference frame with a circular planar disk. If you take your meter measuring rods (or perhaps tape measure) you can find the diameter and circumference of the disk. ...
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Would infinite time elapse relative to an outside observer if an object was completely at rest?

Here's my reasoning... time dilation due to velocity: t'=t√(1-v^2) v expressed as a % of the speed of light. If you are moving through distance at the speed of light, to an observer at rest relative ...
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1answer
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Lorentz transformation via light clocks in parallel direction

In order to derive the Lorentz transformation one can use the picture of a light clock. A Photons bounces back and forth between two mirrors. This is then observed in two different inertial systems. ...
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2answers
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Binding energy and invisible mass

The gravitational binding energy of a sphere is: $U=\frac{3GM^2}{5r}$, the mass defect is $\Delta E=\Delta m c^2$. Putting: $M=\frac{4}{3}\rho\pi r^3$, we get: $$U=\frac{16}{15}G\rho^2\pi^2 r^5$$. Now ...
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Why doesn't time change in the non-relativistic limit of Lorentz transformations?

A simple boost in the $x$ direction is given by: $$ \Lambda = \begin{pmatrix} \cosh(\rho) & \sinh(\rho) & 0 & 0 \\ \sinh(\rho) & \cosh(\rho) & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 1 & ...
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Special relativity and imaginary coefficient of the time coordinate

I read somewhere that part of Minkowski's inspiration for his formulation of Minkowski space was Poincare's observation that time could be understood as a fourth spatial dimension with an imaginary ...
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1answer
70 views

Relativity Question Fireworks explosion

A firecracker explodes at the origin of an inertial reference frame. Then, 2.0 microseconds later, a second firecracker explodes 300m away. Astronauts in a passing rocket measure the distance between ...
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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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1answer
139 views

NASA Theoretical Faster Than Light Space Travel (IXS-Enterprise)

I was recently reading about NASA Faster than Light proposed spaceship, it supposedly will bend spacetime behind the spacecraft, so technically instead of bringing the ship to the destination, "it ...
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1answer
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Why does time dilation cause you to age slower? And is time considered relative to the observer?

I understand that the higher your velocity the slower light will move. But how does time itself slow down while you are moving faster?
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1answer
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Can you calculate unix timestamps (universal clock) from any planet?

Given the definition of unix timestamp as the number of seconds elapsed since January 1st, 1970 as GMT+0, without leap seconds, is it possible to create a universal clock that will generate the ...
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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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1answer
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How to get the accurate relativistic momentum form for photons? [duplicate]

I have studied from Griffiths, the relativistic form of momentum is $$p = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}} m_0v$$ Now when I evaluate the momentum for photon, I just insert $v=c$ and $m_0=0$ and I ...
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0answers
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A Subtle Connection Between Time Dilation in SR and GR - Why is this so?

I've been reading a book on General Relativity lately (Gravitation and Cosmology, Weinberg), and I was reading about the weak field approximation. It derived the time dilation in a weak gravitational ...
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2answers
125 views

Why should photons obey the rules of causality? [closed]

This may have a quick answer, but it has been on my mind so here it goes: why, if according to special relativity, do photons obey the rules of causality, if they are inherently timeless. According to ...
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thrust-bursting towards a destination in space

<--burst of thrust------|ME in a ship>----->>--<<--laser radar--<<---->>---||destination In the above, I imagine myself in a ship, marking my speed to a far off destination with laser ...
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1answer
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Finding the total energy in centre of mass frame

I'm working through a problem in a special relativity textbook (Woodhouse) and I'm having some difficulty. I have to show that if I have a particle of rest mass $M$, total energy $E$ colliding with a ...
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1answer
87 views

Exeeding the speed of light by adding velocities [duplicate]

Well you know how it's said that things can't travel at or past the speed of light? However, can't they move at speeds greater than the speed of light relative to another object? For example: What ...
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3answers
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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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Clocks in special relativity

One book on special relativity says: Any observer at rest relative to his own timepiece will see that other clocks moving with respect to him run fast - the greater their speed, the faster they ...
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Most natural tensor structure for a quantum field

A quantum field is described by a Hilbert space. In many instances, the chosen tensor structure on this Hilbert space corresponds to that of space-like separated regions of space-time. The ...
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2answers
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Where did the energy of the charge go?

Suppose there is a positron and an electron, and they both collide, and we get $E=2mc^2$ of energy from the collision. Now, the charge also got vanished. Now suppose, I create neutrinos from the ...
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2answers
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Time and the principle of relativity

We know that every moving clock with respect to some clock A, is running slower than A. My question is simple - why it does not contradict the principle of relativity? Why can't we say that the clock ...