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Special Relativity
In physics, the special theory of relativity, or special relativity for short, is a scientific theory regarding the relationship between space and time. In Albert Einstein's original treatment, the theory is based on two postulates: # The laws of physics are invariant (that is, identical) in all inertial frames of reference (that is, frames of reference with no acceleration). # The speed of light in vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source or the observer. Origins and significance Special relativity was originally proposed by Albert Einstein in a paper published on 26 September 1905 titled " On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".Albert Einstein (1905)''Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper'', ''Annalen der Physik'' 17: 891; English translatioOn the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodiesby George Barker Jeffery and Wilfrid Perrett (1923); Another English translation On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies by Megh Nad Saha (1920). The ...
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Einstein Patentoffice
Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time. Einstein is best known for developing the theory of relativity, but he also made important contributions to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics. Relativity and quantum mechanics are the two pillars of modern physics. His mass–energy equivalence formula , which arises from relativity theory, has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory. His intellectual achievements and originality resulted in "Einstein" becoming synonymous with "genius". In 1905, a year sometimes described as his ''annu ...
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Maxwell's Equations
Maxwell's equations, or Maxwell–Heaviside equations, are a set of coupled partial differential equations that, together with the Lorentz force law, form the foundation of classical electromagnetism, classical optics, and electric circuits. The equations provide a mathematical model for electric, optical, and radio technologies, such as power generation, electric motors, wireless communication, lenses, radar etc. They describe how electric and magnetic fields are generated by charges, currents, and changes of the fields.''Electric'' and ''magnetic'' fields, according to the theory of relativity, are the components of a single electromagnetic field. The equations are named after the physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who, in 1861 and 1862, published an early form of the equations that included the Lorentz force law. Maxwell first used the equations to propose that light is an electromagnetic phenomenon. The modern form of the equations in their most common ...
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Spacetime Interval
In physics, spacetime is a mathematical model that combines the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional manifold. Spacetime diagrams can be used to visualize relativistic effects, such as why different observers perceive differently where and when events occur. Until the 20th century, it was assumed that the three-dimensional geometry of the universe (its spatial expression in terms of coordinates, distances, and directions) was independent of one-dimensional time. The physicist Albert Einstein helped develop the idea of spacetime as part of his theory of relativity. Prior to his pioneering work, scientists had two separate theories to explain physical phenomena: Isaac Newton's laws of physics described the motion of massive objects, while James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic models explained the properties of light. However, in 1905, Einstein based a work on special relativity on two postulates: * The laws of physics are invariant ...
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Space
Space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction. In classical physics, physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum known as spacetime. The concept of space is considered to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of the physical universe. However, disagreement continues between philosophers over whether it is itself an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a conceptual framework. Debates concerning the nature, essence and the mode of existence of space date back to antiquity; namely, to treatises like the '' Timaeus'' of Plato, or Socrates in his reflections on what the Greeks called ''khôra'' (i.e. "space"), or in the ''Physics'' of Aristotle (Book IV, Delta) in the definition of ''topos'' (i.e. place), or in the later "geometrical conception of plac ...
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Thomas Precession
In physics, the Thomas precession, named after Llewellyn Thomas, is a relativistic correction that applies to the spin of an elementary particle or the rotation of a macroscopic gyroscope and relates the angular velocity of the spin of a particle following a curvilinear orbit to the angular velocity of the orbital motion. For a given inertial frame, if a second frame is Lorentz-boosted relative to it, and a third boosted relative to the second, but non-colinear with the first boost, then the Lorentz transformation between the first and third frames involves a combined boost and rotation, known as the " Wigner rotation" or "Thomas rotation". For accelerated motion, the accelerated frame has an inertial frame at every instant. Two boosts a small time interval (as measured in the lab frame) apart leads to a Wigner rotation after the second boost. In the limit the time interval tends to zero, the accelerated frame will rotate at every instant, so the accelerated frame rotates w ...
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Mass–energy Equivalence
In physics, mass–energy equivalence is the relationship between mass and energy in a system's rest frame, where the two quantities differ only by a multiplicative constant and the units of measurement. The principle is described by the physicist Albert Einstein's famous formula: E = mc^2. The formula defines the energy of a particle in its rest frame as the product of mass () with the speed of light squared (). Because the speed of light is a large number in everyday units (approximately ), the formula implies that a small amount of "rest mass", measured when the system is at rest, corresponds to an enormous amount of energy, which is independent of the composition of the matter. Rest mass, also called invariant mass, is a fundamental physical property that is independent of momentum, even at extreme speeds approaching the speed of light. Its value is the same in all inertial frame of reference, inertial frames of reference. Massless particles such as photons have zero in ...
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Speed Of Light
The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted , is a universal physical constant that is important in many areas of physics. The speed of light is exactly equal to ). According to the special theory of relativity, is the upper limit for the speed at which conventional matter or energy (and thus any signal carrying information) can travel through space. All forms of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, travel at the speed of light. For many practical purposes, light and other electromagnetic waves will appear to propagate instantaneously, but for long distances and very sensitive measurements, their finite speed has noticeable effects. Starlight viewed on Earth left the stars many years ago, allowing humans to study the history of the universe by viewing distant objects. When communicating with distant space probes, it can take minutes to hours for signals to travel from Earth to the spacecraft and vice versa. In computing, the speed of light fixes the ...
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Mass In Special Relativity
The word " mass" has two meanings in special relativity: '' invariant mass'' (also called rest mass) is an invariant quantity which is the same for all observers in all reference frames, while the relativistic mass is dependent on the velocity of the observer. According to the concept of mass–energy equivalence, invariant mass is equivalent to '' rest energy'', while relativistic mass is equivalent to ''relativistic energy'' (also called total energy). The term "relativistic mass" tends not to be used in particle and nuclear physics and is often avoided by writers on special relativity, in favor of referring to the body's relativistic energy. In contrast, "invariant mass" is usually preferred over rest energy. The measurable inertia and the warping of spacetime by a body in a given frame of reference is determined by its relativistic mass, not merely its invariant mass. For example, photons have zero rest mass but contribute to the inertia (and weight in a gravitational field ...
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Doppler Effect
The Doppler effect or Doppler shift (or simply Doppler, when in context) is the change in frequency of a wave in relation to an observer who is moving relative to the wave source. It is named after the Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who described the phenomenon in 1842. A common example of Doppler shift is the change of pitch heard when a vehicle sounding a horn approaches and recedes from an observer. Compared to the emitted frequency, the received frequency is higher during the approach, identical at the instant of passing by, and lower during the recession. The reason for the Doppler effect is that when the source of the waves is moving towards the observer, each successive wave crest is emitted from a position closer to the observer than the crest of the previous wave. Therefore, each wave takes slightly less time to reach the observer than the previous wave. Hence, the time between the arrivals of successive wave crests at the observer is reduced, causing an inc ...
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Time Dilation
In physics and relativity, time dilation is the difference in the elapsed time as measured by two clocks. It is either due to a relative velocity between them ( special relativistic "kinetic" time dilation) or to a difference in gravitational potential between their locations ( general relativistic gravitational time dilation). When unspecified, "time dilation" usually refers to the effect due to velocity. After compensating for varying signal delays due to the changing distance between an observer and a moving clock (i.e. Doppler effect), the observer will measure the moving clock as ticking slower than a clock that is at rest in the observer's own reference frame. In addition, a clock that is close to a massive body (and which therefore is at lower gravitational potential) will record less elapsed time than a clock situated further from the said massive body (and which is at a higher gravitational potential). These predictions of the theory of relativity have been repeated ...
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Length Contraction
Length contraction is the phenomenon that a moving object's length is measured to be shorter than its proper length, which is the length as measured in the object's own rest frame. It is also known as Lorentz contraction or Lorentz–FitzGerald contraction (after Hendrik Lorentz and George Francis FitzGerald) and is usually only noticeable at a substantial fraction of the speed of light. Length contraction is only in the direction in which the body is travelling. For standard objects, this effect is negligible at everyday speeds, and can be ignored for all regular purposes, only becoming significant as the object approaches the speed of light relative to the observer. History Length contraction was postulated by George FitzGerald (1889) and Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1892) to explain the negative outcome of the Michelson–Morley experiment and to rescue the hypothesis of the stationary aether (Lorentz–FitzGerald contraction hypothesis). Although both FitzGerald and Lore ...
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Relativity Of Simultaneity
In physics, the relativity of simultaneity is the concept that ''distant simultaneity'' – whether two spatially separated events occur at the same time – is not absolute, but depends on the observer's reference frame. This possibility was raised by mathematician Henri Poincaré in 1900, and thereafter became a central idea in the special theory of relativity. Description According to the special theory of relativity introduced by Albert Einstein, it is impossible to say in an ''absolute'' sense that two distinct events occur at the same time if those events are separated in space. If one reference frame assigns precisely the same time to two events that are at different points in space, a reference frame that is moving relative to the first will generally assign different times to the two events (the only exception being when motion is exactly perpendicular to the line connecting the locations of both events). For example, a car crash in London and another in N ...
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