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Special relativity in a mathematical nutshell

# Special relativity in a mathematical nutshell

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The Galilean transformation with the Galilean relativity principle are generalized to Lorentz's simply by adding the principle of the constancy of the speed of light. Then, velocity addition, acceleration transformation, time dilation, length contraction and Minkowski metric formulas are derived.
Adding Newton's laws gives the relativistic kinetic energy, and the total relativistic energy mc².
Bernard Schaeffer
The Galilean transformation with the Galilean relativity principle are generalized to Lorentz's simply by adding the principle of the constancy of the speed of light. Then, velocity addition, acceleration transformation, time dilation, length contraction and Minkowski metric formulas are derived.
Adding Newton's laws gives the relativistic kinetic energy, and the total relativistic energy mc².
Bernard Schaeffer

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09/29/2010

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Special relativity
Un article de Quantic.
Special relativity is an extension of rational mechanics where velocity is limited to the speed of light c, aconstant in the vacuum of matter and radiation.
Sommaire
1 Speed limit2 Derivation of the Lorentz transformation2.1 Galilean reference frames2.2 Light invariance principle2.2.1 Relativity principle2.3 Expression of the Lorentz transformation3 Velocity addition law4 Minkowski metric5 Time dilation6 Length contraction7 Acceleration transformation8 Relativistic Newton's Second Law of Motion9 Kinetic energy10 Total relativistic energy E=mc
!
11 Notes
Speed limit
In classical mechanics, the absolute velocity is the sum of the velocity of the moving reference frame and thevelocity relative to the moving reference frame. In special relativity one has to take into account the speedlimit, e.g. the light speed. For colinear velocities, we get, as we shall show below :where v
x
is the"absolue" et v'
x
the relative velocity. According to the relativity theory, all the velocities arerelative; that's why the absolute velocity is replaced by the velocity in R, the observer's frame. The relativevelocity v'
x
is the velocity of the frame R' moving relatively to the observer in frame R. The frame R' moves atvelocity v relatively to R. This formula gives a speed limit as may be seen by replacing v'
x
by c to get v
x
=c. Foran inﬁnite light speed one gets the galilean addition of velocities.
Derivation of the Lorentz transformation
Galilean reference frames
In classical kinematics, the total displacement x in reference frame R is the sum of the relative displacement x’in R’ and of the displacement vt of R’ relative to R at a velocity v : x = x’+vt or, equivalently, x’=x-vt. Thisrelation is linear when the velocity v is constant, that is when the frames R and R' are galilean. Time t is thesame in R and R’, which is no more valid in special relativity, where t
"
t’. The more general relationship, withfour constants
#
,
\$
,
%
and v is :The Lorentz transformation becomes the Galilean one for
\$
=
%
= 1 et
#
= 0.
Light invariance principle
http://deonto-ethics.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Special_relativity2/08/09 6:10

The velocity of light is independent of the velocity of the source, as was shown by Michelson. We thus need tohave x = ct if x’ = ct’. Replacing x and x' in these two equations, we haveReplacing t' from the second equation, the ﬁrst one becomesAfter simpliﬁcation by t and dividing by c
\$
, one obtains :
Relativity principle
This derivation does not use the speed of light and allows therefore to separate it from the principle of relativity. The inverse transformation of is :In accord with the principle of relativity, the expressions of x and t should write :They should be identical to the original expressions except for the sign of the velocity :We should then have the following identities, veriﬁed independently of x’ and t’ :This gives the following equalities :
Expression of the Lorentz transformation
Using the above relationshipwe get :and, ﬁnally:
http://deonto-ethics.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Special_relativity2/08/09 6:10

We have now all the four coe
&
cients needed for the Lorentz transformation which writes in two dimensions :The inverse Lorentz transformation writes, using the Lorentz factor
%
:These four equations are used according to the needs.The true base of special relativity is the Lorentz transformation generalizing that of Galieo at velocities nearthat of light. The Lorentz transformation expresses the transformation of space and time, both depending onthe relative velocity between the observer's and relative frames R and R'. Another demonstration may be foundin Einstein's book Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory (http://web.mit.edu/birge/Public/books/Einstein-Relativity.pdf) . The Lorentz transformation is, in two dimensions:In the following, in order to simplify writing, the Lorentz factor will be used:The inverse Lorentz transformation is:We have then four equations to be used as needed.
The Lorentz transformation remains valid in di
erential form for a constant velocity :From these two formulas we get the formula at the top of this page:
Minkowski metric
The euclidean space is caracterised by the validity of the Pythagoras theorem which may be written as atwo-dimensional metric:Wih y=ict, one obtains the Minkowski metric representing the pseudo-euclidean space of special relativity:
http://deonto-ethics.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Special_relativity2/08/09 6:10