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Relativity in Modern Physics$
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Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.001.0001

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Minkowski spacetime

Minkowski spacetime

(p.179) 1 Minkowski spacetime
Relativity in Modern Physics

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the main features of the Minkowski spacetime, which is the geometrical framework in which the laws of relativistic dynamics are formulated. It is a very simple mathematical extension of three-dimensional Euclidean space. In special relativity, ‘relative, apparent, and common’ (in the words of Newton) space and time are represented by a mathematical set of points called events, which constitute the Minkowski spacetime. This chapter also stresses the interpretation of the fourth dimension, which in special relativity is time. Here, time now loses the ‘universal’ and ‘absolute’ nature that it had in the Newtonian theory.

Keywords:   Minkowski spacetime, relativistic dynamics, three-dimensional Euclidean space, special relativity, fourth dimension, time

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