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# Special relativity

## USSR stamp dedicated to Albert Einstein

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" (for the contributions of many other physicists see History of special relativity). Special relativity is based on two postulates which are contradictory in classical mechanics:

1. 2.

The laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion relative

to one another (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 thelight. The resultant theory agrees with experiment better than classical mechanics, e.g. in the Michelson-Morley experiment that supports postulate 2, but also has many surprising consequences. Some of these are: Relativity of simultaneity: Two events, simultaneous for one observer, may not be

simultaneous for another observer if the observers are in relative motion. Time dilation: Moving clocks are measured to tick more slowly than an observer's

"stationary" clock. Length contraction: Objects are measured to be shortened in the direction that they Mass-energy equivalence: E = mc2, energy and mass are equivalent and

## are moving with respect to the observer.

transmutable. Maximum speed is finite: No physical object or message or field line can travel faster

than light.

The defining feature of special relativity is the replacement of the Galilean transformations of classical mechanics by the Lorentz transformations. (See Maxwell's equations ofelectromagnetism and introduction to special relativity). General

relativity

Main article: General relativity General relativity is a theory of gravitation developed by Einstein in the years 19071915. The development of general relativity began with the equivalence principle, under which the states of accelerated motion and being at rest in a gravitational field (for example when standing on the surface of the Earth) are physically identical. The upshot of this is that free fall isinertial motion; an object in free fall is falling because that is how objects move when there is no force being exerted on them, instead of this being due to the force of gravity as is the case in classical mechanics. This is incompatible with classical mechanics and special relativity because in those theories inertially moving objects cannot accelerate with respect to each other, but objects in free fall do so. To resolve this difficulty Einstein first proposed that spacetime is curved. In 1915, he devised the Einstein field equations which relate the curvature of spacetime with the mass, energy, and momentum within it. Some of the consequences of general relativity are: Clocks run more slowly in regions of lower gravitational potential.[7] This is

called gravitational time dilation. Orbits precess in a way unexpected in Newton's theory of gravity. (This has been

observed in the orbit of Mercury and in binary pulsars). Rays of light bend in the presence of a gravitational field. Rotating masses "drag along" the spacetime around them; a phenomenon termed

"frame-dragging". The Universe is expanding, and the far parts of it are moving away from us faster

than the speed of light. Technically, general relativity is a metric theory of gravitation whose defining feature is its use of the Einstein field equations. The solutions of the field equations are metric tensors which define the topology of the spacetime and how objects move inertially. See

also

Special relativity

## For history and motivation, see History of special relativity.

For a generally accessible and less technical introduction to the topic, see Introduction to special relativity.

## USSR postage stamp dedicated to Albert Einstein

Special relativity (SR, also known as the special theory of relativity or STR) is the physical theory of measurement in inertial frames of reference proposed in 1905 by Albert Einstein (after the considerable and independent contributions of Hendrik Lorentz, Henri Poincarand others) in the paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".[1] It generalizes Galileo's principle of relativitythat all uniform motion is relative, and that there is no absolute and well-defined state of rest (no privileged reference frames)from mechanics to all thelaws of physics, including both the laws of mechanics and of electrodynamics, whatever they may be.[2] Special relativity incorporates the principle that the speed of light is the same for all inertial observers regardless of the state of motion of the source.[3] This theory has a wide range of consequences which have been experimentally verified,
[4]

including counter-intuitive ones such as length contraction, time dilation and relativity of

simultaneity, contradicting the classical notion that the duration of the time interval between two events is equal for all observers. (On the other hand, it introduces the space-time interval, which is invariant.) Combined with other laws of physics, the two postulates of special relativity predict the equivalence of matter and energy, as expressed in the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum.[5][6] The predictions of special relativity agree well with Newtonian mechanics in their common realm of applicability, specifically in experiments in which all velocities are small compared with the speed of light. Special relativity reveals that c is not just the velocity of a certain phenomenonnamely the propagation of electromagnetic radiation(light)but rather a fundamental feature of the way space and time are unified as spacetime. One of the consequences of the theory is that it is impossible for any particle that has rest mass to be accelerated to the speed of light. The theory is termed "special" because it applies the principle of relativity only to the special case of inertial reference frames, i.e. frames of reference in uniform relative motion with respect to each other.[7] Einstein developed general relativity to apply the principle in the more general case, that is, to any frame so as to handle general coordinate transformations, and that theory includes

the effects of gravity. From the theory of general relativity it follows that special relativity will still apply locally (i.e., to first order),[8] and hence to any relativistic situation where gravity is not a significant factor. Inertial frames should be identified with non-rotating Cartesian coordinate systems constructed around any free falling trajectory as a time axis.

You are here: Science >> Theory Of Relativity Theory of Relativity A Brief History The Theory of Relativity, proposed by the Jewish physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) in the early part of the 20th century, is one of the most significant scientific advances of our time. Although the concept of relativity was not introduced by Einstein, his major contribution was the recognition that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and an absolute physical boundary for motion. This does not have a major impact on a person's day-to-day life since we travel at speeds much slower than light speed. For objects travelling near light speed, however, the theory of relativity states that objects will move slower and shorten in length from the point of view of an observer on Earth. Einstein also derived the famous equation, E = mc2, which reveals the equivalence of mass and energy. When Einstein applied his theory to gravitational fields, he derived the "curved space-time continuum" which depicts the dimensions of space and time as a two-dimensional surface where massive objects create valleys and dips in the surface. This aspect of relativity explained the phenomena of light bending around the sun, predicted black holes as well as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) -- a discovery rendering fundamental anomalies in the classic Steady-State hypothesis. For his work on relativity, the photoelectric effect and blackbody radiation, Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921.

Theory of Relativity The Basics Physicists usually dichotomize the Theory of Relativity into two parts.

The first is the Special Theory of Relativity, which essentially deals with the question of whether rest and motion are relative or absolute, and with the consequences of Einsteins conjecture that they are relative. The second is the General Theory of Relativity, which primarily applies to particles as they accelerate, particularly due to gravitation, and acts as a radical revision of Newtons theory, predicting important new results for fast-moving and/or very massive bodies. The General Theory of Relativity correctly reproduces all validated predictions of Newtons theory, but expands on our understanding of some of the key principles. Newtonian physics had previously hypothesised that gravity operated through empty space, but the theory lacked explanatory power as far as how the distance and mass of a given object could be transmitted through space. General relativity irons out this paradox, for it shows that objects continue to move in a straight line in space-time, but we observe the motion as acceleration because of the curved nature of space-time.

Einsteins theories of both special and general relativity have been confirmed to be accurate to a very high degree over recent years, and the data has been shown to corroborate many key predictions; the most famous being the solar eclipse of 1919 bearing testimony that the light of stars is indeed deflected by the sun as the light passes near the sun on its way to earth. The total solar eclipse allowed astronomers to -- for the first time -analyse starlight near the edge of the sun, which had been previously inaccessible to observers due to the intense brightness of the sun. It also predicted the rate at which two neutron stars orbiting one another will move toward each other. When this phenomenon was first documented, general relativity

proved itself accurate to better than a trillionth of a percent precision, thus making it one of the best confirmed principles in all of physics. Applying the principle of general relativity to our cosmos reveals that it is not static. Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) demonstrated in 1928 that the Universe is expanding, showing beyond reasonable doubt that the Universe sprang into being a finite time ago. The most common contemporary interpretation of this expansion is that this began to exist from the moment of the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago. However this is not the only plausible cosmological model which exists in academia, and many creation physicists such as Russell Humphreys and John Hartnett have devised models operating with a biblical framework, which -- to date -- have withstood the test of criticism from the most vehement of opponents. Theory of Relativity A Testament to Creation Using the observed cosmic expansion conjunctively with the general theory of relativity, we can infer from the data that the further back into time one looks, the universe ought to diminish in size accordingly. However, this cannot be extrapolated indefinitely. The universes expansion helps us to appreciate the direction in which time flows. This is referred to as the Cosmological arrow of time, and implies that the future is -- by definition -- the direction towards which the universe increases in size. The expansion of the universe also gives rise to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the overall entropy (or disorder) in the Universe can only increase with time because the amount of energy available for work deteriorates with time. If the universe was eternal, therefore, the amount of usable energy available for work would have already been exhausted. Hence it follows that at one point the entropy value was at absolute 0 (most ordered state at the moment of creation) and the entropy has been increasing ever since -- that is, the universe at one point was fully wound up and has been winding down ever since. This has profound theological implications, for it shows that time itself is necessarily finite. If

the universe were eternal, the thermal energy in the universe would have been evenly distributed throughout the cosmos, leaving each region of the cosmos at uniform temperature (at very close to absolute 0), rendering no further work possible. The General Theory of Relativity demonstrates that time is linked, or related, to matter and space, and thus the dimensions of time, space, and matter constitute what we would call a continuum. They must come into being at precisely the same instant. Time itself cannot exist in the absence of matter and space. From this, we can infer that the uncaused first cause must exist outside of the four dimensions of space and time, and possess eternal, personal, and intelligent qualities in order to possess the capabilities of intentionally space, matter -- and indeed even time itself -- into being. Moreover, the very physical nature of time and space also suggest a Creator, for infinity and eternity must necessarily exist from a logical perspective. The existence of time implies eternity (as time has a beginning and an end), and the existence of space implies infinity. The very concepts of infinity and eternity infer a Creator because they find their very state of being in God, who transcends both and simply is.

You are here: Science >> Big Bang Theory Big Bang Theory - The Premise The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.

According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called "singularities." Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know. After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the "Big Bang"), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside of an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown. This is the Big Bang theory. Big Bang Theory - Common Misconceptions There are many misconceptions surrounding the Big Bang theory. For example, we tend to imagine a giant explosion. Experts however say that there was no explosion; there was (and continues to be) an expansion. Rather than imagining a balloon popping and releasing its contents, imagine a balloon expanding: an infinitesimally small balloon expanding to the size of our current universe.

Another misconception is that we tend to image the singularity as a little fireball appearing somewhere in space. According to the many experts however, space didn't exist prior to the Big Bang. Back in the late '60s and early '70s, when men first walked upon the moon, "three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3The singularity didn't appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing. So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don't know. We don't know where it came from, why it's here, or even where it is. All we really know is that we are inside of it and at one time it didn't exist and neither did we. Big Bang Theory - Evidence for the Theory What are the major evidences which support the Big Bang theory?

First of all, we are reasonably certain that the universe had a beginning. Second, galaxies appear to be moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. This is called "Hubble's Law," named after Edwin Hubble (18891953) who discovered this phenomenon in 1929. This observation supports the expansion of the universe and suggests that the universe was once compacted. Third, if the universe was initially very, very hot as the Big Bang suggests, we should be able to find some remnant of this heat. In 1965, Radioastronomers

Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered a 2.725 degree Kelvin (-454.765 degree Fahrenheit, -270.425 degree Celsius) Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB) which pervades the observable universe. This is thought to be the remnant which scientists were looking for. Penzias and Wilson shared in the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery. Finally, the abundance of the "light elements" Hydrogen and Helium found in the observable universe are thought to support the Big Bang model of origins.

Big Bang Theory - The Only Plausible Theory? Is the standard Big Bang theory the only model consistent with these evidences? No, it's just the most popular one. Internationally renown Astrophysicist George F. R. Ellis explains: "People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations.For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that."4 In 2003, Physicist Robert Gentry proposed an attractive alternative to the standard theory, an alternative which also accounts for the evidences listed above.5 Dr. Gentry claims that the standard Big Bang model is founded upon a faulty paradigm (the Friedmann-lemaitre expandingspacetime paradigm) which he claims is inconsistent with the empirical data. He chooses instead to base his model on Einstein's static-spacetime paradigm which he claims is the "genuine cosmic Rosetta." Gentry has published several papers outlining what he considers to be serious flaws in the standard Big Bang model.6 Other high-profile

dissenters include Nobel laureate Dr. Hannes Alfvn, Professor Geoffrey Burbidge, Dr. Halton Arp, and the renowned British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, who is accredited with first coining the term "the Big Bang" during a BBC radio broadcast in 1950. Big Bang Theory - What About God? Any discussion of the Big Bang theory would be incomplete without asking the question, what about God? This is because cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe) is an area where science and theology meet. Creation was a supernatural event. That is, it took place outside of the natural realm. This fact begs the question: is there anything else which exists outside of the natural realm? Specifically, is there a master Architect out there? We know that this universe had a beginning. Was God the "First Cause"? We won't attempt to answer that question in this short article. We just ask the question: Does God Exist?