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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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How Relative Is Relativity With Respect To Visual Effects?

This might seem naive, but here goes. Imagine Albert and Rick, of equal mass, accelerate together to a significant fraction of light-speed (call it v) relative to Earth, enough to clearly see the ...
598 views

Can non-free forces change the rest mass?

While reading Hobsen et al.'s "General Relativity: An Introduction for Physicists", I came across a bit confusing derivation. Multiplying the 4-force and 4-velocity, the following derivation can be ...
574 views

The Particle-Antiparticle Problem in Relation to Special Relativity

Prelude: Let’s consider a pair of events $A(t_1,x_1)$ and $B(t_2,x_2)$,having a spacelike separation wrt an inertial frame denoted by K.In the frame K’ moving along the positive x-x’ direction with a ...
548 views

Confused on Newton's second law being invariant under relativity

I am a math student with some interests in physics. I picked up a book called "A First Course in General Relativity", and I am confused on the second page. I am assuming by notation or convention. ...
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Reducing General Relativity to Special Relativity in limiting case

I understand that general relativity is applicable to gravitational fields and special relativity is applicable to case when there is no gravity. But is there a derivation on how to reduce General ...
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What will happen if we use a speed greater than light speed and find a body'motion and energy relative to it?

In Einstein's papers, he used light speed as a reference speed. What if we use a greater finite speed and do the same calculations. Won't this greater speed then be the limit.
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How does time dilation work without a privileged reference frame?

As I understand special relativity, light travels at the same speed in all reference frames. What I fail to understand is why time dilation would occur in one reference frame, but not by an equal ...
19k views

Does the Pauli exclusion principle instantaneously affect distant electrons?

According to Brian Cox in his A night with the Stars lecture$^1$, the Pauli exclusion principle means that no electron in the universe can have the same energy state as any other electron in the ...
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Motion is relative, right? And most pop sci relativity explanations are somewhat incorrect?

On page 20 of A Brief History of Time: . . . all observers should measure the same speed of light, no matter how fast they are moving. But in an observer's frame of reference, they're actually ...
482 views

Momentum Energy and Higgs

So, as an object accelerates it gains energy. And energy is mass. So an object becomes more massive as it approaches the speed of light. But, if mass is ONLY due to an object's interaction with the ...
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Knowing the mass and force acting on a particle, how do we derive the relativistic function for velocity with respect to time?

Use this scenario: An electron gains speed in the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLA) across 3000 meters, reaching a final velocity of 0.95c due to a constant force pushing on the electron. Given the ...
790 views

Some questions about the logics of the principles of independence of motion and composition of motion

In high-school level textbooks* one encounters often the principles of independence of motion and that of composition (or superpositions) of motions. In this context this is used as "independence of ...
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How can we know, today, that there's something from 100 light-years from here?

In my understanding, to take a picture of something that is 100 light-years from here, our "camera" would have to travel 100 years at light speed, take the picture, send to us, and 100 years later we ...
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That 10km/day error predicted if GPS satellite clocks not corrected for relativity

Some authorities have stated publicly and without explanation that if the theories of Special and General Relativity were not taken into account in the design of the GPS (by building the satellite ...
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Velocity Time Dilation

In Wikipedia article about time dilation, it says: "Hafele and Keating, in 1971, flew caesium atomic clocks east and west around the Earth in commercial airliners...the moving clocks were expected ...
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$E=mc^2$ why is it $c^2$ and not just $c$? [closed]

Why is constant for the conversion of mass to energy square of the ligths speed? is it bedside it's the fastest real matter? .
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Violation of Lorentz symmetry on cosmological distances

This question is about the domain of validity of Lorentz symmetry. As far as I know, general relativity is a generalization of special relativity. Does that mean that Lorentz symmetry is violated on ...
316 views

Relativistic transformation of the wave packet length

Let us suppose we have an excited atom at rest. It has a certain mean lifetime $\tau_0$. If we wait sufficiently long time $t>>\tau_0$, we will find a deactivated atom and a (spherical) ...
114 views

A possible absolute reference system

What about considering the microwave background radiation (2.7K if I remember well) as a reference system with some absolute character? Please explains if this question make sense and possible answers....
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A Paradox in Special Relativity

Two inertial frames K and k’ are considered. They are in relative uniform motion along the x-x’ direction with relative speed =v. In the frame K’ we have a cuboidal piece of dielectric [at rest wrt K’]...
299 views

The time component is $\gamma m c$, so shouldn't $E=mc$?

Basically, the book is Brian Cox's Why Does $E=mc^2$?: (And Why Should We Care?). I just finished Chapter 5, where we derived the spacetime momentum vector (energy-momentum four vector, as he ...
207 views

On BE and FD Statistics

Lets consider the Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics: Bose-Einstein statistics: $$\langle n_i\rangle = \frac{1}{\exp{[(\epsilon_i-\mu)/kT]} - 1}$$ Fermi-Dirac statistics: \langle n_i\rangle ...
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Inertial frames of reference

I'm struggling with the notion of an inertial frame of reference. I suspect my difficulty lies with the difference between Newtonian and relativistic inertial frames, but I can't see it. I've read ...
648 views

Lorentz Transformation via Geometry

Today, I was tutoring and explained the space-time. I explained how one can convert North-South into West-East by rotating, and how you can convert time into space with velocity. Below the Energy-...
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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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Metric tensor of coordinate transformation

How do you find a metric tensor given a coordinate transformation, $(t', x', y', z') \rightarrow (t, x, y, z)$? Our textbook gives a somewhat vague example as it skips some steps ...
1k views

Galilean transformation in relativity

Assume flat spacetime in a general relativistic framework (or special relativity for that matter) and two observers $A$ and $B$, with non-vanishing velocity relative to each other. We know that they ...
4k views

About the Ether Theory acceptance

Why was the Ether Theory refused by Modern Physics? If you please explain me, I just wanted to understand it more.
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Is there a contradiction of the theory of relativity here? — Length contraction and EMR amplitude

Suppose there is a laser beam powerful enough to burn through iron aimed at a piece of iron. You observe this event while you are in the same frame as the piece of iron and the laser-beam generator. ...
6k views

Does a photon in vacuum have a rest frame?

Quite a few of the questions given on this site mention a photon in vacuum having a rest frame such as it having a zero mass in its rest frame. I find this contradictory since photons must travel at ...
10k views

How does Newtonian gravitation conflict with special relativity?

In the Wikipedia article Classical Field Theory (Gravitation), it says After Newtonian gravitation was found to be inconsistent with special relativity, . . . I don't see how Newtonian gravitation ...
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Can an “absolute” frame of reference be determined by measuring the compression of light?

General relativity tells us that there is no absolute frame of reference (actually, it tells us that all frames are relative, which is close but not the same as there is no absolute frame). Special ...
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What happens to speed and frequency of a light beam moving in transparent medium when observed from different inertial frame of reference?

Suppose a transparent medium where speed of light is $c/n$, an inertial frame of reference $K$ which is stationary relatively to the medium and an inertial frame of reference $K'$ which is moving ...
410 views

Relative Synchronicity

Einstein said that the synchronization of two clocks is dependant on the velocity of the observer. But I feel a conceptual contradiction can be made: There are two observers A and B. Observer 'A' ...
680 views

Measuring a Rod in Motion with two Synchronized Clocks

An explanation of special relativity I'm struggling with, goes like this: A rod traveling by a "stationary" observer has its length measured by use of two stationary synchronized clocks (synchronized ...
2k views

Relativistic effects

When are relativistic effects justifiably negligible? (I know that that is true for 'small velocities', but how small is 'small enough'?) 0.1c, 0.01c, etc.? And how does one properly justify that? I ...
6k views

What are the mechanics by which Time Dilation and Length Contraction occur?

What are the mechanics of time dilation and length contraction? Going beyond the mathematical equations involving light and the "speed limit of the universe", what is observed is merely a phenomenon ...
673 views

Inertial and non-inertial frames of references

I've heard from a physics professor that there's no stationary platform to observe and analyze a body in motion. Why did he mention that? Is it because even seemingly stationary objects like a parked ...
788 views

Can the CPT theorem be valid if Lorentz invariance is only spontaneously broken?

Earlier, I asked here whether one can have spontaneous breaking of the Lorentz symmetry and was shown a Lorentz invariant term that can drive the vacuum to not be Lorentz invariant. How relaxed are ...
3k views

The derivation of the Belinfante-Rosenfeld tensor

It seems me that there is a "difference" (at least apparently) in how the Belinfante-Rosenfeld tensor is thought of in section 7.4 of Volume 1 of Weinberg's QFT book and in section 2.5.1 of the ...
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Is traveling at the speed of light the same thing as teleportation? [closed]

If I were on one side of the room and moved at the speed of light to the other side of the room, to an observer it would appear that I teleported. If time stops at that speed, it would be ...
568 views

If it turns out that neutrinos do travel at faster than lightspeed, how will the success of special relativity be explained?

As per in the title. If it turns out that neutrinos do travel faster than the speed of light, how will the success of special relativity be explained? My apologies if this has been asked before; I've ...
530 views

Does the special theory of relativity form the foundation of modern physics?

Does the Special Theory of Relativity "form" the foundation of Modern Physics? My question is in reference to Geoff Brumfiel's Scientific American article "Particles Found to Travel Faster than Speed ...
2k views

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-...