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Special Relativity

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A combination of space and time, which are viewed in special relativity as two parts of one whole
special theory of relativity
Comprehensive theory of space and time that replaces Newtonian mechanics when velocities are very large; introduced in 1905 by Albert Einstein.
fundamental assumptions
First postulate of special relativity
Object can measure its speed relative to other objects
Second postulate of special relativity
Speed of light in the vacuum will have the same value regardless of the motion of the source/observer
Time Dilation
Moving clocks run slow
Length contraction
L=L_0/γ, contraction is parallel to direction of motion
Mechanical waves require a medium to travel thru.
The flashes move along a diagonal path
A moving space ship contains a light clock. An observer is at rest with
Traveling at the speed of light, how long would it take a person to reach
Relativistic Length Contraction stated mathematically
L=L(at rest) x Radical 1- (v^2/c^2)
t = t0(proper time) / (radical) 1- (v/c)^2
The equation for the relationship between the time t0 (proper
Equivalence Principle
It is impossible to distinguish between gravitational and inertial effects.
frame of reference
A set of rulers and synchronized clocks at every point in space (and at rest with respect to each other) that are used by observers who are at rest in the frame to record…
Gamma Factor (Lorentz factor)
The quantity γ=1/(√(1-v^2/c^2)) Gamma is always bigger than 1, but becomes appreciably bigger than 1 only for speeds larger than 0.5c.
Hafele-Keating experiment
An experiment in which clocks taken on board a fast-moving plane differed from similar clocks left behind when they were returned and compared. Provides evidence for time dilation.
Inertial Observer
An observer who is not accelerating.
Michelson-Morley experiment
An experiment designed to measure the speed of the earth relative to the ether. No such velocity was measured --and this led to the abandonment of the ether idea.
Muon decay experiments
According to Galilean relativity, muons created in the upper atmosphere should not arrive on the surface of the earth because their lifetime is short and they would have decayed.
Newtonian Limit
At low speeds, results of relativity and those of Newtonian mechanics agree,
Postulates of special relativity
(1)the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all inertial observers. (2) the laws of physics are the same for all inertial observers.
Proper Length
the length of an object in its rest frame. It is the greatest length measure by any inertial observer.
Proper Time interval
The time interval between two events at the same point in space. It is the shortest time interval between the events measured by any inertial observer.
Rest Frame
The frame of reference in which a given object is at rest.
Occurring at the same time. In special relativity, two events that are simultaneous in one frame of reference need not be simultaneous in a frame moving relative to the first frame.
velocity addition
If frame A has velocity u with respect with frame B and frame B a velocity v with respect to time.