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Date: 2009
Page count: 154 pages
Format: B/5
ISBN: 978-963-2790-27-5
Category: Math, Informatics and Science
Series: Theoretical physics

Original price: 2500 Ft

Basic Relativity

Traditional presentations of relativity theory start with the introduction of Lorentz-transformations from which the peculiar phenomena of the theory  ─ time dilatation, Lorentz-contraction, the velocity addition formula, etc. ─ follow. Though this is certainly the most logical approach, it seems  rather unfortunate from a pedagogical point of view since a convincing and conceptually transparent explanation of the Lorentz-transformation itself presents a task of considerable difficulty. Lorentz-transformation is based on both the constancy of the velocity of light and Einstein-synchronization prescription, and the interrelation between these two constituents is open to the frequent misunderstanding that the constancy of the light velocity is enforced by the special  synchronization of clocks rather than being the law of nature. In order to avoid this pitfall  an ad hoc though rigorous presentation of the theory's observational peculiarities in Part 1 precedes the introduction of the Lorentz-transformation (and any synchronization procedure). After the introduction of these transformations in Part 2 those same relativistic effects are reconsidered  this time in a systematic manner. Part 3 is devoted  to the fundamentals of general relativity.




Part 1. From time dilatation to E = mc2

 Reference frames and coordinate systems

The optical Doppler-effect and time dilatation

Relativity of simultaneity

The proper time and the twin paradox


The velocity addition formula

Equation of motion of a point mass

Does the mass increase with the velocity?

The kinetic energy of  a point mass

Rest energy:  The E = mc2 law

Are mass and energy equivalent to each other?


Part 2. The Lorentz-transformation

The coordinate-time

One way measurement of the speed of light

Minkowskian coordinate-systems

The Lorentz-transformation

Classification of space-time intervals

Space-time diagrams

The causality paradox

Time-dilatation reconsidered

Doppler-effect reconsidered

Interrelation of proper time and coordinate time in inertial frames

Calculation of the twin paradox

Coordinates in accelerating reference frames: Twin paradox as seen from the

            accelerating frame

Coordinates in accelerating reference frames: The rotating Earth

Lorentz-contraction reconsidered

Does the perimeter of a rotating disk become contracted?

Do moving bodies seem shorter?

Addition of velocities reconsidered

Equation of motion of a point mass reconsidered

The momentum four-vector

Zero mass particles

Transformation of the electromagnetic field




Part 3. Fundamentals of general relativity

Inertial and gravitational mass

The principle of equivalence

The precise meaning of the relation m* = m

Locality of the inertial frames

The weight

The GP-B experiment

Light bending

Perihelion precession

Gravitational red shift.


Concluding remarks