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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

where are the mcq
Fred Reply
How does unpolarized light have electric vector randomly oriented in all directions.
Tanishq Reply
unpolarized light refers to a wave collection which has an equal distribution of electric field orientations for all directions
In a grating, the angle of diffraction for second order maximum is 30°.When light of wavelength 5*10^-10cm is used. Calculate the number of lines per cm of the grating.
Micheal Reply
state the law of gravity 6
cletus Reply
what is cathodic protection
Ebe Reply
its just a technique used for the protection of a metal from corrosion by making it cathode of an electrochemical cell.
what is interferometer
Sonu Reply
Show that n1Sino1=n2Sino2
javan Reply
what's propagation
Vikas Reply
is it in context of waves?
It is the manner of motion of the energy whether mechanical(requiring elastic medium)or electromagnetic(non interference with medium)
determine displacement cat any time t for a body of mass 2kg under a time varrying force ft=bt³+csinkt
Felix Reply
A round diaphragm S with diameter of d = 0.05 is used as light source in Michelson interferometer shown on the picture. The diaphragm is illuminated by parallel beam of monochromatic light with wavelength of λ = 0.6 μm. The distances are A B = 30, A C = 10 . The interference picture is in the form of concentric circles and is observed on the screen placed in the focal plane of the lens. Estimate the number of interference rings m observed near the main diffractive maximum.
Jyoti Reply
A Pb wire wound in a tight solenoid of diameter of 4.0 mm is cooled to a temperature of 5.0 K. The wire is connected in series with a 50-Ωresistor and a variable source of emf. As the emf is increased, what value does it have when the superconductivity of the wire is destroyed?
Rupal Reply
how does colour appear in thin films
Nwjwr Reply
yaaa ☺
in the wave equation y=Asin(kx-wt+¢) what does k and w stand for.
Kimani Reply
derivation of lateral shieft
James Reply
total binding energy of ionic crystal at equilibrium is
All Reply
Practice Key Terms 7

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