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RAGORDON2010

Special Relativity - A Fresh Look

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A fresh look at the underpinnings of Special Relativity is merited for the following reasons -

1. In earlier posts, I’ve shown how to view SR applications as Related Experiments - a pair of matched experiments in which charged particles are subjected to external electromagnetic fields.  In the object experiment, the particle is given an initial velocity v and subjected to fields E and H. In the image experiment, fields E’ and H’ are applied to the particle at rest, where E’ and H’ are the transformed images of E and H under the SR field transformations.  

The 4-space motion of the particle in the image experiment (t’,x’,y’,z’) will then match up with the transformed 4-space motion (t, x, y, z) of the particle in the object experiment under a Lorentz time and space transformation with parameter v.

In approaching SR this way, we avoid any discussions or dependencies on clocks that run slow or fast, and meter sticks that shrink or grow, as we move from one experiment to the other.

2. The Relativistic form of Newton’s Second Law of Motion is a Classical Physics formulation.  We are given a set of initial conditions, a set of prescribed forces and a differential equation from which we can compute the position, velocity and energy of the particle for any time in the future to any degree of accuracy, and, if we insert negative values of time, we can compute the position, velocity and energy of the particle for any time in the past to any degree of accuracy.  This is classical Classical Physics - given knowledge of the initial conditions and applied forces, the entire past and future of the particle is completely determinable.

Contrast this with the stochastic behavior of Modern Physics, where SR plays a major role in nuclear physics, the physics of high energy particle collisions, and quantum field theory (QFT).

3. The mention of QFT brings me to my final point - QFT speaks of relationships between particles and fields characterized by a series of minute, discrete interactions in which the particles are accelerated slightly or decelerated slightly and/or deflected slightly and/or rotated, twisted or spun slightly.  In contrast, conventional SR theory is marked by functions that are everywhere smooth and continuous.

I intend to develop a model of SR which addresses all of the above, stays well within conventional bounds of discussion on the subject, and, here and there, introduces key, defensible ideas.

Finally, I ask that the Forum members allow me to retain control over my terminology.  For example, I shall refer to Minkowski’s S function as a “Minkowski interval”, and I shall refer to his dS function as a “Minkowski differential interval”.

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