November 14th, 2007


(no subject)

I've been reading up on some alternative theories to Einstein's theory of relativity recently. These are theories that claim to match all the experimental evidence that supports relativity but differ in key ways that haven't been tested yet.

The simplest one to understand is basically a modification of the Lorentz Ether Theory, the key being that the "ether" is the locally dominant electromagnetic or gravity field (depending on which version of the theory you're going by.) So the Michelson–Morley didn't detect any such effects because the test was done solely within the Earth's gravity well/magnetosphere.

These theories don't seem to be especially likely to be true, but it's nice to pretend otherwise because although identical in most aspects they _do_ allow for the possibility of FTL. (There is a privileged reference frame in any given location and/or time dilation is a physical rather than temporal effect, so there are no causality violations in getting from one spot to another faster than light could make the trip.)

This of course got me thinking about relativity in general of course, and i've run into a problem i'm stuck on, i'm sure it must have been covered in class at some point but i can't remember now and i'm hoping someone can give me an answer that doesn't go completely over my head. (I'm looking at you steuard ;)

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