Category archives for theory of relativity

Questioning Relativity 18: Textbook Truth

Is Einstein’s special theory of relativity an empty non-physical mathematical theory which is true by definition? Let us see what text books say: W Rindler in Introduction to Special Relativity, chapt 1 (1982): In 1905 Einstein proposed the principle of relativity. Actually Poincare had discussed essentially the same principle during the previous year, but it […]

Questioning Relativity 17: Physicists vs Physics

A study of the rich literature on Einstein’s theory of relativity shows that it is a theory about physicists rather than a theory about physics. This difference is expressed by Einstein’s use of the term Principle rather than Law to express his basic assumptions: Principle of Relativity Principle of Equivalence. The Principle of Relativity prescribes […]

Questioning Relativity 16: Definition vs Axiom

How can we know if a theory is a physical theory about some real physics or a mathematical theory which does not say anything about physical reality? Easy enough: Look at the fundamental postulates of the theory and check if they connect to real physics or not. If there is no physics there, then there […]

Questioning Relativity 15: Absolute Space and Time

Physicists  motivate  the need of departure from Newtonian mechanics into the space-time of Einstein’s theory of relativity, by stating that Newtonian mechanics requires absolute space and time, and this is an unreasonable request. Therefore Newton’s mechanics has to be replaced by Einstein’s. But this argument is not correct: There is no absolute space and time  in […]

Questioning Relativity 14: Principle of Relativity

Einstein’s theory of relativity is based on a Principle of Relativity: In physics, the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations describing the laws of physics have the same form in all admissible frames of reference. For example, in the framework of special relativity the Maxwell equations have the same form in all inertial frames of reference. In the […]

Questioning Relativity 13: Time Dilation

Wikipedia informs us In the theory of relativity, time dilation is an actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from gravitational masses. An accurate clock at rest with respect to one observer may be measured to tick at a different rate when compared to a second observer’s own […]

Questioning Relativity 12: Simultaneity

Modern physics, both quantum mechanics and relativity theory, is obsessed with a narcissistic observer perspective in which the World only goes around when observed by human observers. The upshot of special relativity was a perceived difficulty for different observers moving with a speed close to the speed of light with respect to each other, to […]

Questioning Relativity 11: Galileo’s Law of Free Fall

Let us ask how to motivate Galileo’s Law of Free Fall stating that all bodies irrespective of size and composition fall freely under gravitation in the same way according to where is the velocity of a body with position as a function of time , its acceleration and is a gravitational potential with field strength […]

Questioning Relativity 10: Equivalence Principle 2

What is the mass of Stephen Hawking? What difference does it make? Einstein explained The Equivalence Principle of his general theory of relativity as follows: A little reflection will show that the law of the equality of the inertial and gravitational mass is equivalent to the assertion that the acceleration imparted to a body by a […]

Questioning Relativity 9: Obsessions

Einstein had an unhappy love to mathematics which came to dominate his work as a physicist with a very unhappy influence on modern physics. Einstein’ university math teacher Minkowski characterized him as a “lazy dog”. If you have difficulties with mathematics, then there is a risk that you cannot separate trivialities from essentials and inflate […]

Questioning Relativity 8: Hype

Einstein’s theory of relativity is prized as the pinnacle of human intelligence and creativity all times: R. Feynman in Feynman Lectures on Gravitation: Einstein’s gravitational theory is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics. A. Eddington in Space-Time and Gravitation: By his theory of relativity, Einstein has provoked a revolution of thought […]

Questioning Relativity 7: Beauty

Einstein could not but accept the criticism by Kretschmann that the basic general covariance postulate of general relativity is without physical content: I believe Kretschmann’s argument to be correct, but…of two theoretical systems compatible with experience, the one is to be preferred that is the simpler and more transparent from the standpoint of the absolute […]

Questioning Relativity 6: Perplexion

Most physicists are ready to pay lip service to relativity theory by stating that they do not understand it, but there are quite a few dissidents who are critical because they do not understand. Below are some examples of these attitudes. More of the same is given in Many-Minds Relativity. R. Feynman (Nobel Prize in Physics […]

Questioning Relativity 5: General Covariance

A basic postulate of Einstein’s general theory of relativity named general covariance, states that the mathematical representations of a law of physics in different coordinate systems must be connected by the mathematics of coordinate transformations. With this interpretation general covariance is a postulate which is vacuous of physical content and does not say anything about […]

Questioning Relativity 4: Radiation

RRelativity of velocity and position in Newtonian mechanics. There is an aspect of relativity of Planck’s Law of blackbody radiation which connects to relativity of motion or velocity and position. We shall compare these aspects of relativity with the aspect of absolutism of absolute temperature and absolute motion. We recall that Newtonian mechanics is commonly […]

Questioning Relativity 3: Equivalence Principle 1

The Equivalence Principle EP states that inertial mass is equal to gravitational (or heavy) mass. In Newtonian mechanics EP can be seen as a definition of inertial mass in terms of gravitational mass and a definition of force in terms of gravitational force via Newton’s 2nd Law Force = Mass x Acceleration, or F = […]

Questioning Relativity 2: Unphysical Lorentz Transformation

The special theory of relativity is defined by the Lorentz transformation between two systems of of space-time coordinates and defined by (normalizing the speed of light to 1): , , . This transformation is supposed to connect observations in two coordinate systems with space-axes moving with velocity with respect to each other as indicated in […]

Questioning Relativity 1: Herbert Dingle

Modern physics is deeply troubled by the incompatibility of Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, which has resisted almost 100 years of fruitless efforts of forming a unified theory of gravitation and electro/quantum mechanics. Einstein’s (special and general) theory of relativity was widely questioned from start in 1905 into the 1950s but the criticism […]

Newtonian Unified Field Theory?

No Unified Field Theory Modern physics is supposedly based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity for gravitation, Maxwell’s electromagnetics  and quantum mechanics, but there is no unified field theory including both gravitation and electro/quantum mechanics. Einstein spent the later half of his life in lonely fruitless search of a unified theory, while the physics community came […]

Dark Age of Physics: Parallel Universes

The recent book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of Cosmos by Brian Greene is presented as follows: The possibility of other universes existing alongside our own like holes in “a gigantic block of Swiss cheese” seems more likely every day.  Beginning with relativity theory, the Big Bang, and our expanding universe, Greene […]

Holy Principles of Physics

To name an ad hoc assumption in physics a PRINCIPLE is a way to give something possiby without substance a very heavy weight. Einstein was the master of this form of science by founding his special and general theory of relativity on: Equivalence Principle (intertial and heavy mass the same) Principle of Relativity (physical laws the same in […]

Dark Age of Physics

The more I see of modern physics the more difficult is it to resist the suspicion that something is wrong. Today I listened to the presentation The Accelerating Universe by the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt and their teams of more than 50 people. The Nobel Prize was awarded partly to the […]