# Questions tagged [special-relativity]

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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### Does superluminal travel imply travelling back in time?

Is this statement true? You can not travel back in time. If I travel fast enough the clock will start to go backwards, but that does not mean I am traveling back in time. It would only mean that ...
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### What exactly is the definition of motion and its relation to Mach's conjecture?

The notion of "movement" seems to be well understood in physics. In fact, I don't recall any physics text-book defining motion. Special relativity theory says that there is no absolute frame of ...
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### Deriving the Lorentz Transformation

I have been trying to understand a more or less geometric derivation of the Lorentz transformation, and I'm getting stuck at one spot. The wikipedia article for the Lorentz transformation for frames ...
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### Interval preserving transformations are linear in special relativity

In almost all proofs I've seen of the Lorentz transformations one starts on the assumption that the required transformations are linear. I'm wondering if there is a way to prove the linearity: Prove ...
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### The relativity of simultaneity

In his popular book on relativity, in chapter IX, "The relativity of simultaneity", Einstein describes an experiment in which a flash happens simultaneously on A and B, as defined by the fact that an ...
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### What conservation law corresponds to Lorentz boosts?

Noether's Theorem is used to relate the invariance of the action under certain continuous transformations to conserved currents. A common example is that translations in spacetime correspond to the ...
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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 - https://en....
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### Rotations in space-time

In Landau's Classical Theory of Fields, one finds the statement: Every rotation in the four-dimensional space can be resolved into six rotations, in the planes $xy,zy,xz,tx,ty,tz$ (just as every ...
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### Commutation of operators in quantum theory

I have always written the commutation rules of quantum theory as , $[q,p] = i\hbar\delta _{ij}$ But seems that some people write this as, $[q^i,v_j]= \frac{i\hbar}{M}\delta^i _{j}$ (..this is ...
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### Time in special relativity and quantum mechanics

The time is treated differently in special relativity and quantum mechanics. What is the exact difference and why relativistic quantum mechanics (Dirac equation etc.) works?
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### whats the rate of energy increase required for constant acceleration between 0.0c and 0.99c?

I was wondering how much energy would be required to accelerate 1000kg to 0.99c at 1G. What I don't understand is what the rate of increase of energy is required as velocity increases. I was looking ...
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### Non-interchangeability of time-like intervals

I am reading Landau's Volume 2 of the course of theoretical physics. I have a doubt after reading the first few pages of it which I explain below. Landau first defines intervals and on pages 5 and 6 ...
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### Why is pseudorapidity defined as $-\log \tan \theta/2$

Why the log? Is it there to make the growth of the function slower? As this is a common experimental observable, it doesn't seem reasonable to take the range from $[0,\infty)$ to $(-\infty,\infty)$ (...
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### Speed of light, observed speed while travelling at the speed of light

I was watching Discovery channel the other night, they were telling that time slows down when you travel at a higher speed. This means there is a difference between the actual speed you travel at, and ...
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### Is the assumption that space-time has to be a continuum just a matter of mathematical taste?

Is the assumption that space-time has to be a continuum just a matter of mathematical taste? Isn't there any physical significance associated with it?
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### Where does the minus sign appear from in the metric tensor?

Trying to understand Schutz's AFCIGR, where does the minus sign appear from in the metric tensor? I understand that this expresses the invariance of the spacetime interval. Schutz says (I think) that ...
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### Max rocket speed in interstellar space?

Interstellar space propulsion...if a spaceship were to get beyond our Sun's gravitational pull and since there is no atmosphere/wind/friction in space...does that mean, if an engine was constantly ...
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### How will the Twin Paradox become, for Time Dilation, if no acceleration was ever involved?

I think one catch in Twin Paradox was about the big acceleration that can turn back the traveling twin from light speed outward bound, to become light speed inward bound. What if there is strictly no ...
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### Maximum speed of a rocket with a potential of relativistic speeds

Ultimately, the factor limiting the maximum speed of a rocket is: the amount of fuel it carries the speed of ejection of the gases the mass of the rocket the length of the rocket ...
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### Relativistic space-time geometry

What subject (suggest book titles, etc.) should I study to get a clear grasping of hypersurfaces, 2-surfaces, and integration on them, mostly in special relativity (I'm not messing with general ...
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### Why absoluteness of time implies galilean transformations?

In Landau course, vol.1 Mechanics, one finds the statement: ...the absoluteness of time necessarily implies that the ordinary law of composition of velocities is applicable to all phenomena. I ...
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### Is special relativity an exact description of reality?

In discussing relativity with a (somewhat mathematical) friend the other day, I ran into a problem showing why special and/or general relativity could be considered as exact descriptions of reality ...
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### Distance in relativistic circular motion in invariant spacetime

I understand that the closer something travels to the speed of light, that time will stretch by a factor, and distance will compress by the same factor. My question is, if something travels in a ...
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### A video conference between earth and a space shuttle

I have just started looking into special relativity and I have come up with an intriguing gedanke, as Einstein himself called such theoretical thought experiments. Imagine a space shuttle traveling ...