by Luigi Selmi
Over 100 hundred years ago Einstein published ‘On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.’ This revolutionary theory changed the thinking of science, space and time. Recent developments, however, indicate that there could be intrinsic errors in this theory. Special Relativity, Albert Einstein’s landmark theory may be incompatible with the basic equations upon which this momentous theory is built.
New observations made by many scientists and engineers appear to contradict the great German scientist’s ideas. Apparently there are implicit contradictions present within Relativity’s foundational ideas, documents and equations. One individual has even pointed that quotations from the 1905 document and Einstein’s contemporaries as well as interpretations of the Relativity equations clearly and concisely describe a confused and obviously erroneous theory. It is time therefore, for science to update its thinking on this theory with a comprehensive analysis of the history leading up to, during and after that revolutionary year of Special Relativity.
As over 100 years have now passed from the day of the original release of Special Relativity, a comprehensive study of the original assumptions, documents and concepts which led to the acceptance of this theory is timely and necessary. Students globally are taught the ideas of Special Relativity; however, in this instruction, there is no critical review of Relativity, its foundational document or the assumptions directly inscribed therein by Albert Einstein. For those who have no direct knowledge of these controversies, Relativity Theory consists of two main theories: General Relativity and Special Relativity.
Albert Einstein borrowed from the ideas of Fitzgerald, Lorentz and Voigt to create a new concept of the universe. His first work in this regard later came to be known as Special Relativity and contained many controversial ideas that today are considered axiomatic. Amongst these are Length Contraction, Time Dilation, the Twin Paradox and the equivalence of mass and energy summarized in the equation E=mc2. This equation became the shining capstone of the new theory along with its first & second postulates, namely, that the laws of nature are the same from all perspectives and that the speed of light ‘c’ is constant in a vacuum regardless of perspective. Further, the theory also predicted an increase in mass with velocity. Numerous examples have been given of the ‘proof’ of the validity of Special Relativity.
Tiny microscopic objects speeding at near the speed of light seem to confirm his ideas. In spite of this however, there are many disquieting rumblings in the scientific world that intrinsically prefers the ideas of the old world. For instance, many scientists can not get past calling Special Relativity a ‘theory’ while Gravity is referred to as the Law of Gravity; General Relativity receives similar treatment as a theory. In spite of their misgivings, Albert Einstein continued his ground-breaking attempts to bring forth a universal theory through the latter even more notorious theory.
In his later more comprehensive work called the Theory of General Relativity (1916), Einstein proposed a major re-thinking of cosmology. He conceived of a space time continuum that is curved by mass; in other words, planets, stars, galaxies and other stellar objects cause a curvature of space time. The movement of these objects is determined by the aforementioned curvature. As a result of these ideas, our understanding of geometry, math, physics, science and the universe would never be the same. However, some scientists are reporting that speed of light is not constant from different experimental observations. One has even reported errors in the fundamental equations. If so, this would require a major rethinking of the known cosmological models and assumptions of modern physics.
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* (April 9, 2012) In the first lecture of the series Leonard Susskind discusses the concepts that will be covered throughout the course.
In 1905, while only twenty-six years old, Albert Einstein published “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” and effectively extended classical laws of relativity to all laws of physics, even electrodynamics. In this course, Professor Susskind takes a close look at the special theory of relativity and also at classical field theory. Concepts addressed here includes space-time and four-dimensional space-time, electromagnetic fields and their application to Maxwell’s equations.
Originally presented in the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.
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Special Relativity | Lecture 1