relativity

Velocity reciprocity clarified

This is a follow-on to posts here and here. It is common to derive the Lorentz transformation assuming velocity reciprocity, which seems to say that if a body at rest in frame of reference S´ is observed from a frame of reference S that travels with relative velocity +v, then a body at rest in […]

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Galilean relativity defended

Galilean relativity is a relational theory of motion as a function of time, which leads to the Galilean transformation. Here is a defense of Galilean relativity from two postulates: (1) The Galilean principle of relativity, which states that the laws of mechanics are invariant under a Galilean transformation. (2) A convention that rectilinear coordinates for

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Two principles of velocity reciprocity

Velocity reciprocity in relativity theory is the relation between two observers, each associated with a frame of reference and moving at different, but constant, velocities. That is, an observer-frame S observes another observer-frame S´ traveling with velocity +v relative to observer-frame S. A velocity reciprocity relation concerns the velocity of S that is observed by

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What Galileo really demonstrated

Galileo Galilei’s inclined plane experiment is described in his work Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, which I quote from the Dover edition. He speaks (through his character Salviati) of “those sciences where mathematical demonstrations are applied to natural phenomena, as is seen in the case of perspective, astronomy, mechanics, music, and others where the principles,

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Science and Hypothesis excerpts

What follows are excerpts from the book Science and Hypothesis by Henri Poincaré, translated (1905) from La Science et l’hypothèse (1902). p.xxiii The latter [definitions or conventions] are to be met with especially in mathematics and in the sciences to which it is applied. From them, indeed, the sciences derive their rigour; such conventions are

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From racing to relativity

There are three different contexts for 3D time with 1D space (stance), depending on whether stance is continuously increasing and, if so, whether there is a conversion factor between 3D space and 3D time: (A) Stance is not continuously increasing. This is the situation of a race or sport in which game time has a

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Ignatowsky relativity

Vladimir Ignatowski (1875-1942) was a Russian physicist. “In 1910 he was to first who tried to derive the Lorentz transformation by group theory only using the relativity principle (postulate), and without the postulate of the constancy of the speed of light.” K M Browne gave a simplified derivation in the European Journal of Physics, 39

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Time and simultaneity

There are several ways of understanding the time of remote events. What follows is a summary of the basic ways of determining simultaneity. As a way of comparing the different ways consider transmitting a light signal to a remote location where it is reflected back. What is the time when the signal is reflected back?

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Einstein exchanged

Albert Einstein’s book Relativity: The Special and General Theory was originally published in German and translated into English in 1920. In the second chapter he introduces “The System of Co-ordinates”. The following post gives Einstein’s text followed by a revision that exchanges length with duration and space with time. First, Einstein’s text, with alternative wordings

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