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The Elements of Relativity$
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David M. Wittman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199658633.001.0001

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Time Skew

Time Skew

Chapter:
(p.56) 6 Time Skew
Source:
The Elements of Relativity
Author(s):

David M. Wittman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199658633.003.0006

This chapter explores one major consequence of the invariance of c: events that are simultaneous in one frame are not necessarily simultaneous in other frames.We will find that the time coordinates of events are just as frame‐dependent as their positions. This is no accident, but a symmetry between space and time. Viewed in a spacetime diagram, a frame change rotates the grid lines marking time just as much as it rotates the grid lines marking position; this preserves c as the same speed in all frames. Along the way, we practice using skewed grids in spacetime diagrams: identifying the time coordinates of events, identifying events that are simultaneous in a given frame, and adding velocities. Although the skewed grids change the time coordinates of events and even their order in time, we show that they do not change causal relationships between events.

Keywords:   speed of light, special relativity, invariance, frame‐dependence, causality, time skew, Lorentz transformation, light cone, spacetime diagram, velocity addition

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