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Einstein’s introduction of the theory of relativity in 1905. Einstein concluded

that the inconsistencies he found in electromagnetic theory were due to the

assumption that an absolute space exists. In his famous 1905 paper he proposed

doing away completely with the idea of ether and the accompanying assumption

of an absolute reference frame at rest. This proposal was embodied in two

postulates. The first postulate was an extension of the Newtonian relativity

principle to include not only the laws of mechanics but also those of the rest of

physics, including electricity and magnetism.

First postulate (the relativity principle): The laws of physics have the same

form in all inertial reference frames.

The second postulate is consistent with the first.

Second postulate (constancy of the speed of light): Light propagates

through empty space with a definite speed c independent of the speed or the

source of observer.

These two postulates form the foundation of Einstein’s special theory of

relativity.

(5;…)

One of the important consequences of the theory of relativity is that we can

no longer regard time as an absolute quantity. No one doubts that time flows

onward and never turns back. But the time interval between two events, even if

two events are simultaneous, depends on the observer’s reference frame. If the

two events occur at widely separated places, it is more difficult to know whether

the events are simultaneous since we have to take into account the time it takes

for the light from them to reach us. In other words events which are

simultaneous to one observer are not necessarily simultaneous to a second

observer. This fact suggests that time itself is not absolute. Einstein’s theory of

relativity predicts that it may pass differently in one reference frame than in

another. A general result of the theory is known as time dilation. The time

34

Einstein’s introduction of the theory of relativity in 1905. Einstein concluded that the inconsistencies he found in electromagnetic theory were due to the assumption that an absolute space exists. In his famous 1905 paper he proposed doing away completely with the idea of ether and the accompanying assumption of an absolute reference frame at rest. This proposal was embodied in two postulates. The first postulate was an extension of the Newtonian relativity principle to include not only the laws of mechanics but also those of the rest of physics, including electricity and magnetism. First postulate (the relativity principle): The laws of physics have the same form in all inertial reference frames. The second postulate is consistent with the first. Second postulate (constancy of the speed of light): Light propagates through empty space with a definite speed c independent of the speed or the source of observer. These two postulates form the foundation of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. (5;…) One of the important consequences of the theory of relativity is that we can no longer regard time as an absolute quantity. No one doubts that time flows onward and never turns back. But the time interval between two events, even if two events are simultaneous, depends on the observer’s reference frame. If the two events occur at widely separated places, it is more difficult to know whether the events are simultaneous since we have to take into account the time it takes for the light from them to reach us. In other words events which are simultaneous to one observer are not necessarily simultaneous to a second observer. This fact suggests that time itself is not absolute. Einstein’s theory of relativity predicts that it may pass differently in one reference frame than in another. A general result of the theory is known as time dilation. The time 34

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