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Analytical Mechanics for Relativity and Quantum Mechanics$
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Oliver Johns

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780191001628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780191001628.001.0001

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Relativity and Spacetime

Relativity and Spacetime

(p.335) 16 Relativity and Spacetime
Analytical Mechanics for Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

Oliver Davis Johns

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the ideas of special relativity with the assumption that it is an established theory whose experimental efficacy is unquestioned. It attempts to provide a deeper understanding of the theory, and to determine what the relativistic effects may be telling us about the world and the nature of spacetime. The discussion here begins with the relativity principle of Newtonian physics, since it underlies all discussions of relativity. This relativity principle is commonly called Galilean relativity, although the same ideas are found in the Principia and in works before Galileo. Certainly, Galileo provided a detailed and poetic statement of it in a book of wide influence, the Dialog Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Galilei, 1632).

Keywords:   special relativity, experimental efficacy, relativistic effects, spacetime, relativity principle, Newtonian physics

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