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Shiva Prasad
Ext. 7571
Reference Books
Relativity Portion
1. Introduction to Special Relativity: R.
Resnik; Wiley Eastern (New Delhi)
2. An Introduction to Mechanics: D.
Kleppner and R.J. Kolenkow (Tata Mc
Graw Hill) 1973
There would be no Tutorial on
Wednesday this week.
We shall announce when the tutorials
will start.
Evaluation Scheme
In-semester (60%)
Multiple Tests (30% total)
One Mid-semester (30%)
All tests and mid-sem compulsory and no
re-exam or compensation in any form will
be given on any ground whatsoever.
End-semester (40%)
Attendance Policy
Attendance would not affect
Attendance is helpful in understanding
the subject.
Students with poor attendance find it
difficult to cope with tests and often land
up with poor grades or even fail the
Modern Physics (How Modern?)
Not really so modern.

Seeds were grown more than a

century ago.
Michelson in 1899
The more important fundamental laws and
facts of physical science have all been
discovered, and they are so firmly
established that the possibility of their ever
being supplanted in consequence of the new
discoveries is exceedingly remote.Our
future discoveries must be looked for in
sixth place of decimal
Ref: Introduction to Modern Physics : F.K. Richtmyer,
E. H. Kennard, John N. Cooper ( Tata Mc. Graw Hill)
1976, 6th Edition
Clouds on Classical Physics
The beauty and clearness of the
dynamical theory, which asserts light and
heat to be modes of motion is at present
obscured by two clouds-Lord Kelvin in
Cloud1: The motion of Earth in Ether
Cloud2: Failure of Maxwell-Boltzmann
doctrine regarding Equipartition of Energy
Need of new ideas
Classical approach did not lead to
Electromagnetic theory
Newtonian Mechanics
Classical Statistics
Newer ideas required.
The first cloud started disappearing
quickly in 1905.
The second needed much more time
and took almost 25 more years to
show sign of dissolution.
This course
Is meant to give an idea of the failures
of the then well-established Classical
Also give a flavor of the new Physics
that developed after these failures.
We shall start with the first cloud and
discuss the Special theory of Relativity
that developed as a result of it.
We shall then move to the second
cloud and discuss Quantum theory
and then possibly Quantum Statistics.
Inertial Frame of Reference

Isolated Objects move with

constant Velocity
In Special Theory of Relativity

We shall assume , unless

specifically mentioned, that
observations are being made only
in an inertial frame of reference.
Newtons law
Velocity is a frame dependent quantity.
Acceleration is same in all inertial
Newtons law depends on acceleration
and Force. r r
F = ma
Two Inertial Frames
y y
S r S r
r (t ) r
(t )
Or O x,x
R (t )
z z
r r r
r (t ) = R(t ) + r
(t )
Velocity and Acceleration
r r r
r = R + r

r r r
v = vo + v

r r
a = a
Newtons Law in Different
Frames r r
F = ma
Force is normally expected to be frame
Newtons law is valid in all inertial
From this law velocity can be evaluated in
any frame, if needed. We must specify
the frame to know the velocity.
Velocity Dependent force.
r r r r
F = q(E + v B)
Speed of light is related to
fundamental constants.
e o mo
Second Problem Illustrated

r r
v u

r r
v u
Is Speed of light frame
u c

c r
If yes
And if the following expression is valid
in all frames of reference.

e o mo
Fundamental constants o and o
become frame dependent?

That means basic electric and

magnetic forces are also frame
Or is it that?
The following expression valid only in
some specific frame?

e o mo
The Second Option implies
All the inertial frames, though
equivalent from mechanical point of
view are not equivalent from
electromagnetic point of view.
A special inertial frame may then exist,
which can be identified as absolute
What is your pick?
Do you allow fundamental constants to
become frame dependent?
You allow a special inertial frame?
Ideally None?
But if there is no other choice given,
one is likely to prefer lesser evil, which
is the second choice.
Earlier ideas favored the concept of a
special frame
Light also does not seem to require a
medium to travel unlike other waves
like sound wave.
It was imagined that the universe is
filled with ocean of ether. Light needs
this medium to travel.
All planets, stars, galaxies float in
The speed of light is c only in this
medium as given by the expression
involving fundamental constants.
In other frames the speed of light
could be different from c. One can
determine the speed of the frame by
measuring the speed of light in that
Ether can be thought as signifying
absolute rest.
Hence we can ask a question what is
the absolute speed of sun or earth,
without specifying the frame.
Broader Implication
Though all the inertial frames are
equivalent from mechanical point of
view, they need not be from the
electromagnetic point of view.
But is there any process, which is
purely mechanical?
Is it a Chance?
That nature has made mechanical
processes equivalent in inertial frames
but not the electromagnetic
Are you Happy with the situation?
Look at Experiments
Michelson Morley Experiment
Can we experimentally measure
different speeds of light in different

Attempt was unsuccessful.

Postulates of Special Theory of
Laws of Physics are same in all inertial
frames of references. No preferred
inertial frame exists.

The speed of light c is same in all

inertial frames.
First Postulate Implies
No absolute rest.
No absolute velocities.
No ether.
Space is filled with nothing.
We require something real to which we
can attach our frame of reference and
only with respect to that frame we can
talk of velocities.
Second Postulate implies
u c

c r
Quote from Prof. Herman Bondi:
The special theory of relativity is a
necessary consequence of any
assertion that the unity of Physics is
essential, for it would be intolerable for
all inertial systems to be equivalent
from dynamical point of view yet
distinguishable by optical
New Approach Needed
Relative velocity formula requires
A new formulation is needed which
can ensure that the speed of light is
same in all the inertial frames.
The new formulation must be
consistent with the first postulate