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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Occlusion of light with very fast objects

Take this graphic: On the left there is a light emitter, which can fire light on command, towards the right. There are also two receptors, A and B, both $1$ light second away from the emitter. ...
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43 views

Rotating Observers in Special Relativity: Coriolis-like effect?

Do any noninertial "forces" [terms in the metric] (like Coriolis in Newtonian mechanics) appear to a rotating observer (reference frame) in special relativity? Is the resulting spacetime after ...
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2answers
324 views

Will heating up an object increase its mass? [duplicate]

According to the $E=mc^2$ equation, will an object whose thermal energy (temperature) rises also weigh more? And by the same token, will the mass of an object decrease as its temperature approaches ...
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2answers
106 views

Collisions in special relativity

I am wanting to teach some basic trigonometry to school age kids using relativity and would like help to check my reasoning. First, is my problem formulation correct with respect to special ...
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0answers
67 views

Electromagnetic mass of a continuous charge distribution [closed]

I am trying to understand if it is possible to have a consistent solution to Maxwell's equations and Lorentz force equation simultaneously with no other forces present. The Lorentz force density is ...
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2answers
97 views

Why does the equivalence principle not violate special relativity?

If the equivalence principle asserts that there is no way to determine whether our reference frame is accelerating or is being acted upon by gravity (i.e. the laws of physics are the same in both ...
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1answer
47 views

Decompose a massive four vector in to two massless ones

I'm trying to decompose a massive four-vector, $p_1$ with $p_1^2=m^2\neq0$, in to two massless ones, $k_i$ with $k_i^2=0$. But I'm having trouble find basis vectors $k_i$ such that I can always ...
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93 views

Length contraction, front middle or back

I still don't have a solid understanding of Length contraction. Imagine we have a ruler of length $L$ that starts at rest upon a ground with markings on it, then accelerates until nearly the speed of ...
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1answer
59 views

What is the definition of density in a relativistic context?

In this question, there seems to be a clear presence of ambiguity, which raises the question: what is density in relativity? First of all, the question asks for the relativistic mass, "the apparent ...
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1answer
59 views

Textbook for relativity: modern version of Bondi's Relativity and Common Sense?

I am looking for a textbook on relativity for school children. A background in simple vector based mechanics could be assumed. Primarily it needs to be readable at high school English reading level ...
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1answer
67 views

Magnetic force and frames of reference

I'm having a hard time trying to understand the next situation: Suppose that I have a magnet that creates a quite uniform magnetic filed $\vec B$. In the vicinity of this magnet there is a particle ...
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1answer
306 views

What happens in the twin paradox if the ship doesn't return?

What happens if the twin in the spaceship doesn't return? Would he still be younger than his other twin? Is the symmetry broken simply by accelerating out of earth? If it is still symmetrical when ...
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3answers
88 views

Why is light different than sound in terms of the assumptions we make regarding causality?

I am having trouble understanding, from a conceptual point of view, why it would be impossible to travel faster than the speed of light. I have read one explanation given in the form of an example ...
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1answer
110 views

Einstein's space-time theory [closed]

I'm a high school student who never studied any relativity before, but I'm just wondering what was THE question that Einstein asked himself before going into this field. I knew he has done lots of ...
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2answers
70 views

The Relativity of Simultaneity and its Impact on “Seeing” Events

Will the rocket really see the supernova L first for sure? The position of the rocket is not specific. We just know that it is at the left of the galaxy. We know that R will explode first in the ...
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2answers
266 views

Length Contraction Confusion

i'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around special relativity, so i'd like to explain what I think is going on, to see whether or not I have understood. The question i'm thinking about is ...
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1answer
70 views

Does Special Relativity require a “ruler postulate” analogous to the “clock postulate”?

It's fairly well known that the clock postulate is needed in Special Relativity when dealing with accelerated clocks, so does something analogous exist when dealing with accelerated spatial ...
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2answers
103 views

Consistent answers in special relativity [closed]

I was doing a question about if a train fits in a tunnel. From the train frame it does not and from the tunnel frame it does. Then the question asked are these two answers consistent? What does this ...
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1answer
78 views

Can matter be annihilated to form kinetic energy

I don't know much about conversion of energy and all, but I had a simple question: Can the energy released by converting matter into energy be used to set other particles in motion (increase their ...
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2answers
76 views

Question from Griffiths (EM): Synchronized clocks

There's this vague conceptual question from the textbook Introduction to Electrodynamics by David Griffiths Problem 12.5 Synchronized clocks are stationed at regular intervals, a million km apart, ...
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44 views

Spin of an operator in supersymmetric theories

How exactly is the spin of an operator in the context of a supersymmetric theory defined? For example, in page 25 of [1], $\mathcal{N} = 2$ supersymmetry is defined to have operators $J, G^{+}, G^{-}, ...
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1answer
67 views

Scalar products in the spinor helicity formalism

In A. Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (2nd edition), Chapter N.2, page 486, the momentum $p$ is written as a $2\times 2$ matrix: $$ p_{\alpha\dot{\alpha}} = p_{\mu} ...
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26 views

Using Special Relativity in Uniform Circular Motion [duplicate]

Can one utilize the formulas of Special Relativity in uniform circular motion? The radial component of the object does accelerate, but sometimes we are just interested in its tangential speed. Here ...
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1answer
92 views

About the relativistic wagon simultaneity problem [closed]

I'm getting utterly confused with this problem. The situation is basically to know what events to take in one frame in order to see them synchronized in another. I sketched the situation as this: ...
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34 views

Problems when a disc is rotating at extreme speeds (theory)?

I was wondering the problems that would occur (aside from mechanical friction), when a disc rotates at high angular velocity. Is centripetal force an issue if high torque is applied on a disc ...
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1answer
66 views

What it would look like to observe people with a different time flows?

As I learned, that the bigger gravity source you are influenced by the more slow time ticks for you, the farther away you are from a gravity source the faster times ticks. So Imagine two different ...
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1answer
62 views

How can I calculate the time dilation factor for velocities as low as 10 m/s? [closed]

I need to calculate time dilation factors; I tried using my calculator but for some reason my calculator cannot go that low when the velocity is on the order of 10 m s-1. What mathematical techniques ...
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49 views

Perceived direction of light emitted in moving reference frame

I was thinking the other day about the simple example used to demonstrate time dilation effects and to derive the Lorrentz factor - where the time it takes for a light pulse to be emitted, bounce of a ...
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1answer
43 views

Is Helicity an intrinsic property of massive Neutrinos?

Hyperphysics states that, unlike an electron, the helicity of a neutrino is invariant because we cannot change to a reference frame where it is different: This and subsequent experiments have ...
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1answer
83 views

Lorentz transformations: Which coordinate system is marked?

I am confused about a basic special relativity question. So we have the Lorentz transformations $$\begin{align} x' &= \gamma(x-ut) \\ t' &= \gamma(t-ux/c^2)\ , \end{align}$$ where frame $S'$ ...
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2answers
249 views

Why photon only have helicity other than spin? [duplicate]

When learning angular momentum in quantum mechanics, a spin 1 particle have 3 states. Then I saw from sakurai's modern quantum mechanics that photon's two polarization are just like spins, but with ...
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3answers
160 views

Time slowed by gravity

If time moves more slowly on Earth (due to our proximity to a gravitational body) than for someone orbiting Earth in a spaceship, yet the opposite occurs in the frequently cited "twin paradox" of the ...
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1answer
57 views

How much real and how much relative is our universe?

Apologies in advance if my question appears more philosophical than practical. It is indeed philosophy, but a philosophy relating to our scientific understanding of the universe as a whole. Special ...
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4answers
88 views

Why is coordinate time frame dependent? [duplicate]

Here is what I understand by coordinate time. It is the time difference measured between two events, using two synchronized clocks, one present at each event, and the difference is measured in an ...
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2answers
193 views

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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114 views

Can the Cosmos itself be assumed as a reference frame?

Einstein believed that there are no reference frame in the universe in accord to his Special Relativity (SR). Now imagine a man, as the first observer, and his cat, as the second, are both at rest in ...
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1answer
103 views

Question about time dilation and relativity [duplicate]

Take this scenario for example: I am on a rocket ship that will take a trip into space and back at 90% the speed of light. And my friend "Bob" stays on Earth. As soon as I leave Bob and I both start ...
8
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1answer
341 views

Vector spaces for the irreducible representations of the Lorentz Group

EDIT: The vector space for the $(\frac{1}{2},0)$ Representation is $\mathbb{C}^2$ as mentioned by Qmechanic in the comments to his answer below! The vector spaces for the other representations remain ...
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2answers
897 views

Why does time slow down when traveling at high speeds [duplicate]

One of the effects of traveling at high speeds is slowing down of clocks. I can understand gravity time dilation effect but not how would velocity affect clock speeds. How correct it is, if I say ...
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5answers
342 views

Confusion about Length Contraction (ex in Muon decay)

I am a bit confused about the implications of length contractions; For example, in the muon decay problem, we assume that the distance between the muon and the earth is contracted only in the frame ...
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0answers
16 views

Is uncertainty in velocity via HUP reference frame dependent? [duplicate]

Simply put HUP involves position and momentum, further more consider a mass of 1kg. as momentum is mass X velocity = 1X velocity = velocity for calculation purposes. now for a stationary observer the ...
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0answers
45 views

Maxwell's Equations for Accelerated Conductors

I asked a question about accelerated conductors in a magnetic field but nobody unfortunately answered. That is: Ohm's Law for Accelerated Conductors Maybe, I could not state my question well. I ...
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2answers
219 views

If a photon is exists in 'timeless' state, how can objects around it move? [duplicate]

My understanding is that light does not experience time. In attempting to understand what the universe would be like from the perspective of a photon, the answer I get is that the universe would be ...
3
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2answers
92 views

Why scalar function of vector can only depend on norm of vector?

In Field Quantization by Greiner and Reinhardt as well as The Qunatum Theory of Fields by Weinberg, concerning the spectral function, the authors say a scalar function of the four-vector $p^\mu$ can ...
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1answer
206 views

Lever “paradox”?

Let's say we have a lever with two weights A and B with the same mass overlapping at the midpoint. Suppose they start to separate with each other at the speed of light simultaneously. From our point ...
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1answer
39 views

Extreme temperatures, relativity and kinetic theory

According to kinetic theory, average kinetic energy is proportional to temperature. Supposing $k_BT/2$ per particle, can we use relativity and kinetic theory to calculate, e.g., the temperature and ...
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58 views

2 questions on 4-velocity

Firstly 4-velocity is defined by $u^\mu=\frac{dx^\mu}{d\tau}$ let us consider the component $x_i$ of $x^\mu$ then this derivative can be written as: ...
2
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0answers
63 views

$E=mc^2$ what is unique about the speed of light? [duplicate]

What unique property of light, makes it the conversion factor between energy and mass? It has to be more than a coincidence that the speed of light, just happens to be the correct number number to ...
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0answers
50 views

$E=mc^2$ is incomplete? [duplicate]

So I was going through youtube and I found out these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkiCPMjpysc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnMIhxWRGNw Can anyone here explain to me (with derivation if ...
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0answers
39 views

Is time dilation a mechanical slowdown only? [duplicate]

I've recently read about the time dilation occurs at very high speeds. But I'm really wondering if it is just a mechanical slowdown of the clock only? What if we use clocks that does not use moving ...