Thursday, April 5, 2007

Albert Eienstine - The Great

Special relativity

Special relativity is a theory of the structure of spacetime. It was introduced in Albert Einstein's 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies". Special relativity is based on two postulates which are contradictory in classical mechanics:
The laws of physics are the same for all observers in
uniform motion relative to one another (Galileo's principle of relativity),
The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of their relative motion or of the motion of the source of the light.

The resultant theory has many surprising consequences. Some of these are:

Time dilation: Moving clocks tick slower than an observer's "stationary" clock.
Length contraction: Objects are shorter along the direction in which they are moving.
Relativity of simultaneity: two events that appear simultaneous to an observer A will not be simultaneous to an observer B if B is moving with respect to A.
E=mc²: energy and mass are equivalent and interchangeable.
The defining feature of special relativity is the replacement of the
Galilean transformations of classical mechanics by the Lorentz transformations. (See Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism and introduction to special relativity).


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