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Einstein’s first postulate

Not only are the principles of classical mechanics simplest in inertial frames, but they are the same in all inertial frames. Einstein based the first postulate of his theory on the idea that this is true for all the laws of physics, not merely those in mechanics.

First postulate of special relativity

The laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames of reference.

This postulate denies the existence of a special or preferred inertial frame . The laws of nature do not give us a way to endow any one inertial frame with special properties. For example, we cannot identify any inertial frame as being in a state of “absolute rest.” We can only determine the relative motion of one frame with respect to another.

There is, however, more to this postulate than meets the eye. The laws of physics include only those that satisfy this postulate. We will see that the definitions of energy and momentum must be altered to fit this postulate. Another outcome of this postulate is the famous equation E = m c 2 , which relates energy to mass.

Einstein’s second postulate

The second postulate upon which Einstein based his theory of special relativity deals with the speed of light . Late in the nineteenth century, the major tenets of classical physics were well established. Two of the most important were the laws of electromagnetism and Newton’s laws. Investigations such as Young’s double-slit experiment in the early 1800s had convincingly demonstrated that light is a wave. Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism implied that electromagnetic waves travel at c = 3.00 × 10 8 m/s in a vacuum, but they do not specify the frame of reference in which light has this speed. Many types of waves were known, and all travelled in some medium. Scientists therefore assumed that some medium carried the light, even in a vacuum, and that light travels at a speed c relative to that medium (often called “the aether”).

Starting in the mid-1880s, the American physicist A.A. Michelson, later aided by E.W. Morley, made a series of direct measurements of the speed of light. They intended to deduce from their data the speed v at which Earth was moving through the mysterious medium for light waves. The speed of light measured on Earth should have been c + v when Earth’s motion was opposite to the medium’s flow at speed u past the Earth, and c v when Earth was moving in the same direction as the medium. The results of their measurements were startling.

Michelson-morley experiment

The Michelson-Morley experiment    demonstrated that the speed of light in a vacuum is independent of the motion of Earth about the Sun.

The eventual conclusion derived from this result is that light, unlike mechanical waves such as sound, does not need a medium to carry it. Furthermore, the Michelson-Morley results implied that the speed of light c is independent of the motion of the source relative to the observer. That is, everyone observes light to move at speed c regardless of how they move relative to the light source or to one another. For several years, many scientists tried unsuccessfully to explain these results within the framework of Newton’s laws.

Questions & Answers

For the question about the scuba instructor's head above the pool, how did you arrive at this answer? What is the process?
Evan Reply
as a free falling object increases speed what is happening to the acceleration
Success Reply
of course g is constant
Alwielland
acceleration also inc
Usman
which paper will be subjective and which one objective
jay
photo electrons doesn't emmit when electrons are free to move on surface of metal why?
Rafi Reply
What would be the minimum work function of a metal have to be for visible light(400-700)nm to ejected photoelectrons?
Mohammed Reply
give any fix value to wave length
Rafi
40 cm into change mm
Arhaan Reply
40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm. that cap(^) I have used above is to the power.
Prema
i.e. 10to the power -2 in the first line and 10 to the power -3 in the the second line.
Prema
there is mistake in my first msg correction is 40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm. sorry for the mistake friends.
Prema
40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm.
Prema
this msg is out of mistake. sorry friends​.
Prema
what is physics?
sisay Reply
why we have physics
Anil Reply
because is the study of mater and natural world
John
because physics is nature. it explains the laws of nature. some laws already discovered. some laws yet to be discovered.
Yoblaze
is this a physics forum
Physics Reply
explain l-s coupling
Depk Reply
how can we say dirac equation is also called a relativistic equation in one word
preeti Reply
what is the electronic configration of Al
usman Reply
what's the signeficance of dirac equetion.?
Sibghat Reply
what is the effect of heat on refractive index
Nepal Reply
As refractive index depend on other factors also but if we supply heat on any system or media its refractive index decrease. i.e. it is inversely proportional to the heat.
ganesh
you are correct
Priyojit
law of multiple
Wahid
if we heated the ice then the refractive index be change from natural water
Nepal
can someone explain normalization condition
Priyojit Reply
please tell
Swati
yes
Chemist
1 millimeter is How many metres
Darling Reply
1millimeter =0.001metre
Gitanjali
Practice Key Terms 7

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 3. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12067/1.4
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