# 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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### 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 ...
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### Derivation of relativistic energy

The concept of relativistic energy comes from it's conservation in relativistic mechanics for an elastic collision. It seems to me that another possible derivation could equate the energy of a single ...
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### Does throwing a watch into the air cause it to gain or lose time?

Suppose I'm on a non rotating planet. I have two identical, perfect watches. I synchronize them. Then I throw one of them into the air and catch it. Does the one I throw into the air gain or lose time ...
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### How does a particle of light reach the max speed of light? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can a photon have no mass and still travel at the speed of light? First of all I am not a professional physicist. I was curious as to how a particle of light can reach the ...
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### Criticism of the Thomas precession literature

From an earlier version of the Wikipedia article on Thomas precession concerning TP and LP=Larmor precession, regarding the paper: G B Malykin, "Thomas precession: correct and incorrect solutions", ...
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### Does change of coordinate system require acceleration?

This question came about from a side discussion that arose on this: Does GR provide a maximum electric field limit? Can we change our choice of coordinate system completely independent of physical ...
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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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### 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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### If I run along the aisle of a bus traveling at (almost) the speed of light, can I travel faster than the speed of light?

Let's say I fire a bus through space at (almost) the speed of light in vacuum. If I'm inside the bus (sitting on the back seat) and I run up the aisle of the bus toward the front, does that mean I'm ...
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### Quaternions and 4-vectors

I recently realised that quaternions could be used to write intervals or norms of vectors in special relativity: $$(t,ix,jy,kz)^2 = t^2 + (ix)^2 + (jy)^2 + (kz)^2 = t^2 - x^2 - y^2 - z^2$$ Is it ...
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### What is the effect of temperature on electrostatic-gravitational balance?

We have two identical massive metal spheres at the same temperature at rest in free space. Both have an identical charge and the Coulomb force [plus the black-body radiation pressure if the ...
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### Acceleration in special relativity

I am currently studying the motion of relativistic charged particles in electromagnetic fields. More exactly, we first derived the equation of motion in the 4-vector formalism. I was a bit confused ...
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### Relativistic charged particles in a constant uniform magnetic field

How can i derive the dynamic of a relativistic charged particle in a uniform magnetic field $B=(0,0,B)$?
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### How much energy can be extracted from hydrogen?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-L says that the difference between baryon number and lepton number is conserved. Ordinary hydrogen has one of each, but turning it into helium releases only the binding ...
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### Is This The Answer To Artificial Gravity?

Einstein teaches that as an object gets faster, its relativistic mass increases... Newton teaches that as an object's mass increases, so does it's gravitational pull... So... if you a tethered some ...
Consider a rectangular slab of permanently magnetized material. The slab's dimensions are $L_x$, $L_y$, and $L_z$, and the slab is uniformly magnetized in the $\hat{x}$-direction. The slab is not ...