Special Theory of Relativity : Special Theory of Relativity A Brief introduction
Classical Physics : Classical Physics At the end of the 19th century it looked as if Physics was pretty well “wrapped up”.
Newtonian mechanics and the law of Gravitation had explained how the planets moved and related that to how ordinary objects here on earth responded to forces.
Classical Physics (Cont) : Classical Physics (Cont) Kinetic theory explained the behavior of gases.
Maxwell’s Theory of Electromagnetism explained the phenomena of electricity and magnetism, predicted electromagnetic waves and identified light as an example of same.
Classical Physics (Cont) : Classical Physics (Cont) All this came to be known as classical physics.
Little did the physicist of 1900 realize what was in store during the next 100 years, when the ideas, theories, and results of modern physics were developed.
Twentieth Century Physics : Twentieth Century Physics Special Theory of Relativity
General Theory of Relativity
Quantum Theory
Special Theory of Relativity : Special Theory of Relativity Introduced a new way to view
Space
Time
Simultaneity
General Theory of Relativity : General Theory of Relativity Re-interpreted gravitational theory in terms of space-time.
Quantum Theory : Quantum Theory Introduced a new way to think about atomic processes
Replaced “absolute knowledge” with probabilities
Helped “clear up” some problems that classical theories could not explain.
Galilean-Newtonian Relativity : Galilean-Newtonian Relativity Inertial Reference Frame
Inertial reference frames are those in which Newton’s laws of motion are valid.
Relativity Principle
The basic laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames.
Both understood by Galileo and Newton
Galilean-Newtonian Relativity : Galilean-Newtonian Relativity
Galilean-Newtonian Relativity : Galilean-Newtonian Relativity Straight vertical path in the car.
Parabolic path when reference frame is the earth.
The laws are the same, but the paths are different because of different initial conditions.
But both observers would agree and understand the situation.
Galilean-Newtonian Relativity : Galilean-Newtonian Relativity All inertial reference frames are equivalent for the description of mechanical motion.
There is no test or experiment you can do to “prove” which frame is really at rest or moving with constant velocity.
Enter Maxwell and His Equations : Enter Maxwell and His Equations PROBLEM! Maxwell’s theory predicts that the velocity of light is 3x108 m/s and this is what is measured.
QUESTION!! In what reference frame does light have this velocity?
Enter Maxwell and His Equations : Enter Maxwell and His Equations Maxwell’s Equations did not obey the Relativity Principle.
They were not the same in all inertial reference systems
The form of the equations changes in a moving system.
They were the simplest in a reference frame at rest wrt the ether.
This implied that perhaps there was a reference frame which was at absolute rest and hence the preferred reference system.
The Michelson-Morley Experiment : The Michelson-Morley Experiment
The Michelson-Morley Experiment : The Michelson-Morley Experiment This experiment was designed to detect the speed of the earth through the ether.
The earth’s speed around the sun is 3x104m/s.
Predicted 0.4 fringe shift
The Michelson-Morley Experiment : The Michelson-Morley Experiment Their apparatus was capable of measuring a shift of 0.01 fringe
NO FRINGE SHIFT WHATSOEVER was ever detected!!
Explanation of the negative result: : Explanation of the negative result: The result showed that speed of light is same for all observers which is not true for waves that need a material medium to occur , this is principle of constancy of speed of light.
Lorentz gave an explanation : acc to him the size of a moving body is altered due to its motion through stationary ether.
The moving earth drags the ether with it. Hence there is no relative motion between the two so that no shift is observed.
What to do? : What to do? Are Maxwell’s equations wrong?
They correctly predicted so many observations that physicists were reluctant to give them up.
Ether is “dragged” along by the earth?
Got the same results when the M&M experiment was carried out in balloons and on mountaintops.
Each attempt to determine a way to find a preferred reference system seemed to be doomed to failure
There is a Way Out of This Mess : There is a Way Out of This Mess Henri Poincare finally concluded that such a complete “conspiracy of nature” must itself be regarded as a law of nature. i.e., the Principle of Relativity must be valid!!
This was the state of affairs in 1905 when Einstein presented his Theory of Relativity.
Frames of Reference. : Frames of Reference.
Galilean transformation: : Galilean transformation: The equation relating the coordinates of a particle in two inertial frames(whose relative velocity is negligible in comparison to the speed of light) are called GALILEAN TRANSFORMATION.
Enter Einstein - 1905 : Enter Einstein - 1905 In 1905 Albert Einstein proposed that we accept the fact that the speed of light was the same in all reference systems
(this was consistent with the M&M result) and was tantamount to doing away with the concept of the ether.
Postulates of the Special Theory of Relativity : Postulates of the Special Theory of Relativity First Postulate: The laws of physics have the same form in all inertial reference systems. (This is the Relativity Principle)
Second Postulate: Light propagates through empty space with a definite speed “c” independent of the speed of the source or of the observer. (Agrees with experiment)
Measuring time on a moving clock:Time Dilation : Measuring time on a moving clock:Time Dilation A moving clock runs slower than its counterpart at rest Stationary Clock Moving Clock
Time Dilation : Time Dilation
Length Contraction : Length Contraction Length Contraction
Slide 43: Train
Velocity Midpoint
of train The observer says:
“I see lightning striking
both ends simultaneously!”
Slide 44: During the train’s forward movement
the observer on the train is carried towards
the spot where the lightning struck the front
of the train. Therefore, the light ray from the front
has less distance to travel to the observer’s eye and
arrives sooner than the light ray from the rear. The observer on the train is carried away
from the spot where lightning struck the
rear of the train. Therefore, the light ray
from the rear has more distance to travel
and arrives at the observer’s eye later
than the light ray from the front. The observer says:
“I see lightning strike
the front first and
then the rear!”
Slide 45: So what? For both observers the speed of light travels at the same speed(300 million metres per second). The second observer is therefore not allowed to say: “the lightningreally strikes both ends of the train at the same time.” They mustconclude that the lightning hit the front before it hit the back! Pre-Einstein: the person on the train would say that the lightning strikesstill occurred simultateously.
“The difference in arrival times is just a consequence of the fact that
I rush towards the light coming from the front and away from the light at the back…. But…and it is a massive but…..
They are NOT allowed to say “I rush away from light” or “I rushtowards light”.
Slide 46: The implication is that what is simultaneous toone person need not be simultaneous tosomeone else. This is very weird…it means that the notion of “at the same time” is subjective.
And it is NOT a trick of light…you can imagine that the lightning strikes hit clockslocated at the site of the strikes, causing them to stop.
Clocks on the train at the front and back are stopped at different times.
Whilst two clocks at rest on the platform but still adjacent to the lightning strikesrecord the same time. This immediately implies that time is NOT universal.
Simultaneity? : Simultaneity? Which conclusion is correct?
Einstein said that we must regard both answers as being correct.
Where Does This Leave Us? : Where Does This Leave Us? More to be added later