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Special Relativity

Special relativity is a theory of an inertial reference frame. The theory investigates measurements in different reference frames. It can be studied in a variety of aspects which include length contraction, time dilation and relativity of simultaneity. Special relativity is most commonly known for Einstein's famous equation of mass-energy equivalence, E=mc2 where c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

This theory was originally deemed “special” because it applied the principle of relativity only to the special case of inertial reference frame. For example, frames of reference in uniform relative motion with respect to each other. Einstein developed general relativity to apply the principle in the more general case. The term is currently used more generally to refer to any case which gravitation is not significant. 

Categories within Special Relativity

Lorentz Transformation

Postings: 29

The transformation to explain how the speed of light is observed independently of the reference frame.

Galilean Transformation

Postings: 2

Galilean Transformation is used to transform between the coordinates of two reference frames.


Postings: 2

The Michelson-Morley experiment tried to detect relative motion of matter.


Postings: 4

A muon is an elementary particle.

Aberration of Starlight

Postings: 2

Abberation of starlight is a phenomena where the motion of celestial objects depends on the velocity of the observer.

The Linguistic Approach

1. What other research(s) that differs with Lord Zuckerman's view that apes are qualitatively unlike humans with respect to language capabilities. Zuckerman suggests that humans have it and apes do not despite the fact that they can learn semantic content of individual words. Choose a view (apes are or apes are not like us) and

A general overview of the Chinese 5 Element theory.

What are five basic elements in traditional Chinese belief? Describe the origins of Daoism (Taoism) and identify its key teachings (in particular, the Dao). Describe key events in the life of Confucius and evaluate the role of Confucianism in contemporary East Asian societies. An introduction to the founding texts of Tao

Creativity and Critical Thinking

"Without changing our pattern of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we have created with our current pattern of thought." ~Albert Einstein What important message is Einstein attempting to convey?

Special Relativity: Speed of Spaceship, Galilean Velocity

(a) A spaceship moves with speed vs = 0.80c directly towards a space station. It dispatches a food supply package (containing all the main courses) to the station with speed vr = 0.406 with respect to itself. What is the supply package's speed v'r with respect to the station? Your answer for v'r should be greater than either vr


1) How is language linked to gender and what are some examples of this? 2) How do you explain the theory of linguistic relativity? 3) What are some examples of a morpheme? 4) How was anthropological linguistics applied to language development among the Ute? 5) Would it be correct to claim language as a distinguishing

Free-Falling Objects and Vectors

1.) While riding on an elevator descending with a constant speed of 2.4 m/s, you accidentally drop a book from under your arm a.) How long does it take for the book to reach the elevator floor, 1.4 m below your arm? b.) What is the book's speed relative to you when it hits the elevator floor? 2.) A passenger walks

Special relativity

A space ship, at rest in a certain reference frame S, is given a speed increment of 0.46c (call this boost 1). Relative to its new rest frame, the spaceship is given a further 0.46c increment 12s later (as measured in its new rest frame; call this boost 2). This process is continued indefinitely, at 12s intervals, as mea

Addition of velocities in special relativity.

Suppose the speed of light were 100 mph. Trains on parallel tracks are approaching each other at speeds of 92.64 mph and 87.89 mph. A person on one of the trains sees the two trains approaching each other at what speed? Answer in units of mph. After the trains pass a crazy person on the 92.64 mph train fires a rifle with

Special Relativity

A spaceship moves away from Earth at a speed 0.874c and fires a shuttle craft that then moves in a forward direction at 0.21c relative to the ship. The pilot of the shuttle launches a probe forward at a speed of 0.412c relative to the shuttle. Determine the speed of the shuttle relative to Earth. Answer in units of c. Part

Rocket speed: Total travel time of a pulse as measured by observers in S frame

An observer in a rocket moves toward a mirror at a speed 0.6 c relative to a stationary reference frame S. The mirror is stationary with respect to S. A light pulse emitted by the rocket travels toward the mirror and is reflected back to the rocket. The front of the rocket is a distance 1.88 × 10 ^12 m from the mirror (

Problem of distance travelled by pion travelling at a speed of 0.72c.

The proper mean lifetime of subnuclear particles called pions is 2.6 × 10 ^-8 seconds. A beam of pions has a speed of 0.72 c in a laboratory. The speed of light is 2.998 × 10 ^8 m/s. In the reference frame of the pion, how far does the pion travel in a typical lifetime of 2.6 × 10^ -8 seconds? Answer in units of m.

Relativistic Physics Understanding

A spaceship travels with a speed of 0.6 c as it passes by the Earth on its way to a distant star, as shown in the diagram below. The pilot of the spaceship measures the length of the moving ship as 10 m. Determine its length as measured by a per- son on Earth. Answer in units of m. The pilot of the spaceship ob

Special Relativity of Moving Rocket

Part 1 An observer in a rocket moves toward a mirror at a speed 0.6 c relative to the reference frame labeled by S in the figure. The mirror is stationary with respect to S. A light pulse emitted by the rocket travels toward the mirror and is reflected back to the rocket. The front of the rocket is a distance 1.88 10 ^12 m from

Potential Energy

In a television picture tube, electrons strike the screen after being accelerated from rest through a potential difference of 25000 V. The speeds of the electrons are quite large, and for accurate calculations of the speeds, the effects of special relativity must be taken into account. Ignoring such effects, what is the electr

Light signals and time differences in Schwarzchild geometry.

An observer at r = r1 in Schwarzchild geometry sends a light signal in the radial direction toward r = r2 where r2 > r1. (a) Determine the instantaneous coordinate velocity dr/dt of the signal. (b) Suppose the signal is reflected at r = r2 and returns to r1. Determine how long, as measured in coordinate time t, it takes the

Seeing Fireworks from a Spaceship

Fireworks go off at the same time according to earth clocks in two cities, Alum and Boron, that are 300 km apart. The people in a space ship that is flying in a straight line from Alum to Boron at 0.8 c also observe the fireworks. Do they see the fireworks in the two cities simultaneously? If not, how long before or after the se

Special relativity - timelike and spacelike events

See attached file for full problem description. 1. Show that for two timelike separated events, there is some inertial frame in which t does not equal zero, x = 0. Show that for two spacelike separated events there is an inertial frame where t = 0, x does not equal zero.

Moving Observer and Angle Expression

Consider a right triangle with sides of length x and y, a hypotenuse of length r, and an interior angle theta, such that tan(theta) = y/x. To an observer moving parallel to side x with speed v, the triangle has sides of length x' and y', a hypotenuse of length r', and an interior angle "theta prime". (a) Does the moving obs

Speed of light relative to moving observers.

Tom's rocket ship is moving away from Kathy at 0.75c. He fires a laser beam in the backward direction, toward Kathy. According to Galilean relativity. How fast does the laser beam move relative to Kathy, assuming that Tom observes the beam to move away from him at speed c? How fast according to Einstein's relativity? Why?

Special relativity - length contraction, time dilation, relativistic velocity

When Time Flies...It Runs More Slowly Learning Goal: To understand length contraction and time dilation. In classical physics, and in your everyday experience, lengths and times seem to be the same no matter who measures them. In fact, the notion that lengths or time intervals might be different depending on who measures t

Special Theory of Relativity

A.1 Inertial observer O´ moves at speed v in the negative z-direction with respect to inertial observer O. Write down the relationship between the sets of coordinates used by the two different observers. A.2 A rocket moves at speed 4c/5 towards the earth. It fires a miss