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Level 193

Introductory Special Relativity


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Two predictions of classical/Newtonian/Galilean relativity
Motion is relative - there is no absolute state of rest. The speed of anything changes as you move towards or away from it.
Maxwell's prediction of the speed of light relative to a moving observer
Maxwell predicted that the speed of light is constant for any observer whatever the speed of the observer or the source. The electromagnetic properties of the medium of propagation alone influence the speed of light
The Michelson-Morley Experiment
An experiment intended to discern a difference in speed of photons moving parallel to the Earth's motion through the hypothesized 'aether' compared to photons moving perpendicular to the Earth's motion
Aether
A medium believed to exist throughout space and to define an absolute state of rest
Result of the Michelson-Morley Experiment
The photons had the same speed regardless of the direction of propagation relative to the Earth's motion. This proved that there is no aether that defines an absolute state of rest
Lorenz factor
γ= 1/√(1-v^2/c^2 )
Length contraction
L=L_0/γ, contraction is parallel to direction of motion
T=T_0γ,
Time dilation
Proper length/time
Length/time of an object as measured in the reference frame of the object (i.e. at rest relative to it)
E_total =E_rest+E_k=mc^2
Total mass/energy of an object
E_k=(γ-1)m_0 c^2
Kinetic energy of an object
Mass-energy equivalence
E = ∆mc^2
Relativistic mass
m=m_0 γ