The popularity of the special theory of relativity stems from extraordinary predictions about time, distance, mass, Energy and the nature of space. What follows attempts to connect the concepts of time dilation with the equivalence of mass and energy and the concept of four dimensions. Relativity isnt a fact, it is a set of ideas which can be used to interpret the results of experiments and observations and to make predictions in a consistent way, so far it has done so with great accuracy.
NOTE: Throughout this essay an assumption that NO ACCELERATION is going on is implicit, consideration of relativistic effects due to acceleration (or vice versa) are the realm of General relativity and Machs Principle (which has nothing to do with the speed of sound).
There are two principles:
1. The speed of light, in empty space, is the same c independent of the motion of its source.
2. A principle best stated in several forms:
Electrodynamic and mechanical effects do not have properties that require the concept of an absolute state of rest.
The speed of an object cannot be determined IN ANY WAY without external reference. This is hard to prove since EVERY WAY of detecting motion should be checked and we dont know them all!
No object is absolutely stationary (this is well known to the highway patrol).
The concept of absolute (non-accelerating) motion is invalid.
This document was created on 23 August 1995
last modified on 23 August 1995
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