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RELATIVITY: THE INVARIANCE OF SPACE-TIME INTERVAL

George Mpantes mathematics teacher

The principles of relativity

The Michelson-Morley experiment, employing light waves to determine the


velocity of the earth through the ether the light transmitting
medium- yielded a zero value for the wpeed of the earth through the
ether. This experiment violated common sense stating that the
velocity of light in a vauum was the same for all observers. But it was
true.(my article https://www.scribd.com/document/201222928
Michelson, Maxwell, Lorentz, Einstein)

Einstein was able to settle these questions by a series of thought experiments


using logic based on only two axioms (principles).

The two principles by which Einstein responded to the physics inability to


detect etheric motion and at the same time made space-time a new physical
entity were:

A.Principle of Relativity A system that moves straight and smoothly


relative to an inertial system can not be distinguished from it by any
physical experiment. All inertial systems are equivalent to the formulation
of natural laws. When, for example, we are in a closed wagon and we travel
at steady speed in a straight track, we can not prove this movement with any
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experiment in the wagon. Thus, Galileo's known principle of relativity,


which was already known in engineering and applied only to mechanical
phenomena, now extends to all phenomena (electromagnetism). So there
was no ether! All Galilean observers were to be treated as equals and the
basic physical laws of nature were to be the same for all of them. Adoption
of this principle left open the questionof why Maxwells wave equation was
different for different Galilean observers.

In his original 1905 paper about invariance, "On the Electrodynamics of


Moving Bodies" (here translated from German into English), Albert Einstein
did call his first postulate the Principle of Relativity. But later he regretted
this name for scientific reasons because the logical foundation of his
theory is constancy, and for philosophical reasons because he saw the silly
analogies that people drew between his theory about relativity in
physics and their ideas about relativity in ideology, to claim support for
their non-scientific ideas about relativism and subjectivism. People
extended his scientific claims about the relativity of specific things (time,
space, and mass) into non-scientific claims about the relativitity of
everything (including values and ethical standards) in all areas of life, as if
Einstein was saying everything is relative. But he never said this. Craig
Rusbult, Ph.D.

B. Principle of the stability of light movement The light is propagated in the


straight line, at the same constant velocity c in all directions and time
periods relative to each inertial system. The principle of the invariant
velocity of light, states that in whatever Galilean system we might have
operated, the measured velocity of light in vacuo would always be the same.

Since the posture ultimately means that only the four-dimensional world
emerges from the phenomena and that the projection in space and time can
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still be taken but with different incisions at a time, I prefer to call it the
axiom of the absolute world (or in short secular post) ... Minkowski

This principle, which is verified by fine experiments, is difficult to


understand. It is because our spatial and temporal measurements as we know
them, are adapted to the space and time of our daily experience, which
strongly highlights our intuition of the law of addition of speeds. We have to
understand that the speed of light is the same and constant regardless of the
kinetic state of the light source, which we can not deny in the movement of
a projectile or the movement of a sound source. But the above principle just
attempts to replace the classical space where light is spreading, with a space-
time, a new reality, 'another space' beyond our immediate experience. This
business has as a focal point the finding of a new Pythagorean theorem for
this new space, unaltered for all moving observers as in our common
Euclidean space of geometry.

Space and time of relativity.

The space in relativity, for inertial systems is considered Euclidean. This


means that if its points are represented by coordinates (x, y, z), then the
differences in the coordinates of the edges of a space get the value s, where
s2 = x2 + 2 + z2 and this value remains unchanged for any beginning of
the system and for any axes orientation. This expresses the homogeneous
and the isotropic of space. Physical measurements in such a space are made
with rigid rods used as a unit of measurement and whose length does not
change at the various positions of the system and in the various.
Homogeneous is defined as "the same in all locations" while isotropic
means "the same in all directions."
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Unlike to space, the time of relativity is measured with a new motion,


replacing the Aristotelian movement of Heaven and the Newtonian inertial
motion which measured time. The new motion is the strange and distinct
movement of light: "If we consider a light beam passing through an inertial
system, its velocity in this system will be the same, regardless of the relative
movement of its source and system and irrespective of the radius direction. "
It is clear from the definition that measuring equal lengths of time in
the system will be done by measuring equal spatial spaces along the light
beam path knowing that it will delete them at equal times. It is also clear
that the initial moment measuring of time can be anyone. This is the
homogeneous of time (time flows uniformly)
Of course, classical physics would reject the new definition of time. It
would be argued that the speed of the system in the immobile ether would
create anisotropic problems, that is, a change in the speed of light, in the
direction. We should therefore take these results into account as we take into
account the friction of the tides on the angular velocity of the earth's
rotation. Thus the determination of time would remain uncertain and would
be theoretical as well as its own.
But when even the finer experiments did not show the slightest trace
of anisotropy in light movement, the objections to classical physics lost all
their power. The measurement of time is no longer based on a theoretical
movement that we never observe in nature (the principle of inertia) but in
the motion of light that is instantly measurable. Light beam is the most
accurate tool for measuring time. Let us pay attention to this point. We
could measure time with the help of another process, for example, with a
sound wave. But then its measurement would appear to be uncertain and
complex since we would have to calculate the velocity of the source, the
velocity of the wind-medium, etc., which would reduce the accuracy of the
measurement. This is what Einstein describes
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... the theory of relativity has often been criticized


without foundation, for the central role it gives to the
propagation of light, for establishing the concept of time in
the law of the stability of the speed of light. But the
situation is as follows: to give physical meaning to the
concept of time requires some kind of processes that will
restore relationships in different parts of the world. It does
not matter what kind of process one chooses for such a
definition of time. But it is beneficial for theory to choose
the process for which we know something certain. This
applies to the propagation of light in the vacuum to a
greater extent than any other evolution we would be
considering, thanks to the discoveries of Maxwell and
Lorentz ... "

But how would the new definition answer to the question of


clock synchronization, that is, the universality of time?
I will quote here an excerpt from the original text of Einstein's
"Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" of 1905, where he
introduces the new methods of measuring time:

If we wish to describe the motion of a material point, we give the values


of its co-ordinates as functions of the time. Now we must bear carefully in
mind that a mathematical description of this kind has no physical meaning
unless we are quite clear as to what we understand by time. We have to
take into account that all our judgments in which time plays a part are
always judgments of simultaneous events. If, for instance, I say, That train
arrives here at 7 o'clock, I mean something like this: The pointing of the
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small hand of my watch to 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous
events.

It might appear possible to overcome all the difficulties attending the


definition of time by substituting the position of the small hand of my
watch for time. And in fact such a definition is satisfactory when we are
concerned with defining a time exclusively for the place where the watch is
located; but it is no longer satisfactory when we have to connect in time
series of events occurring at different places, orwhat comes to the same
thingto evaluate the times of events occurring at places remote from the
watch.

We might, of course, content ourselves with time values determined by an


observer stationed together with the watch at the origin of the co-ordinates,
and co-ordinating the corresponding positions of the hands with light
signals, given out by every event to be timed, and reaching him through
empty space. But this co-ordination has the disadvantage that it is not
independent of the standpoint of the observer with the watch or clock, as we
know from experience. We arrive at a much more practical determination
along the following line of thought.

If at the point A of space there is a clock, an observer at A can determine


the time values of events in the immediate proximity of A by finding the
positions of the hands which are simultaneous with these events. If there is
at the point B of space another clock in all respects resembling the one at A,
it is possible for an observer at B to determine the time values of events in
the immediate neighbourhood of B. But it is not possible without further
assumption to compare, in respect of time, an event at A with an event at B.
We have so far defined only an A time and a B time. We have not
defined a common time for A and B, for the latter cannot be defined at all
unless we establish by definition that the time required by light to travel
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from A to B equals the time it requires to travel from B to A. Let a ray of


light start at the A time tA from A towards B, let it at the B time tB be
reflected at B in the direction of A, and arrive again at A at the A time tA.

In accordance with definition the two clocks synchronize if

We assume that this definition of synchronism is free from contradictions,


and possible for any number of points; and that the following relations are
universally valid:

1. If the clock at B synchronizes with the clock at A, the clock at A


synchronizes with the clock at B.

2. If the clock at A synchronizes with the clock at B and also with the
clock at C, the clocks at B and C also synchronize with each other.

Thus with the help of certain imaginary physical experiments we have


settled what is to be understood by synchronous stationary clocks located at
different places, and have evidently obtained a definition of simultaneous,
or synchronous, and of time. The time of an event is that which is
given simultaneously with the event by a stationary clock located at the
place of the event, this clock being synchronous, and indeed synchronous
for all time determinations, with a specified stationary clock.

Thus, the universality of time is finally established, but only for the
observer's inertial system, which seemed unmanageable in the Newtonian
system. Synchronization of the clocks at different points is defined and
measured with the light ray stopping to be a unclear prerequisite.
So finally we have for space and time in a Galilean system in
relativity:
a. space is homogeneous
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b. space is isotropic
c. time is homogenous
d. time is universal

The invariance of space-time interval

The invariance of lights velocity is a physical axiom and the invariance of


the space-time interval will occur by a thought experiment in the region of
physics, using logic, without the knowledge of the transformations between
the two inertial frames (Lorentz).

Consider an event P and a neighbouring event L whose coordinates differ


from those of P by dx, dy, dz, dt in S and by dx, dy, dz, dt in S,the
systems being in standard configuration
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Suppose that at the event P a flash of light is emitted and that L is the
event of some particle in space being illuminated by that flash. In
accordance with the law of light-propagation (second axiom) the observer in
P will find that

dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2=0 dt>0 (1)

and similarly, the observer in S will find that

dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2=0 dt >0 (2)

Now, no matter what the transformations between the coordinates


themselves may be, provided they are differentiable, the transformation
between the differentials are linear and homogeneous (physical axiom) and
thus the left member of (20 equals a homogeneous quadratic in dx, dy, dz
,dt. This quadratic must vanish for all real numbers of the differentials
which satisfy (1). It can easily shown that it must therefore be a multiple of
the quadratic in (1).Thus at any event P the following relation holds:

dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2=K( dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2) (3)

The constant K will be independent of the coordinates in the two


systems since Einstein's homogeneous space and time ensure the
independence of x2 + y2 + z2 and x2 + y2 + z2 from the choice of axes as
well as the independence of c2 t2 and c2t2 from the election of the beginning
of time. So, by choosing P as the (0, 0, 0, 0) in both systems, the space
isotropic, allows us to consider any orientation of the axes of the two
systems so that the relationship between them and the fact P is totally
symmetrical.

So we must have

( dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2)=K (dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2) (4)

From (3) and (4) it follows that K=1. K=-1 can at once be dismissed since
(3) must remain valid as 0
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Consequently

dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2= dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2 . (5)

Now not only will this expression have a zero value for all Galilean
frames , but in addition , if it does not happen to have a zero value in one
frame but have some definite non-vanishing value, it will still maintain this
same non-vanishing value in all other Galilean frames. In other words,
Einstein premises are presented mathematically by the invariance of the
total value dx2 + dy2+dz2 c2 dt2 for all Galilean frames, regardless of
whether this value happens to be zero o non-vanishing. The deep
significance of this condition of invariance was first noticed by Minkowski,
and it led to the discovery of four-dimensional space-time.

The discovery of the above invariant quantity symbolized by s2 and in


differential form with

ds2 = dx2 + dy2 + dz2-c2dt2 ... (6)

opens a new era in the history of physical movement. Finally, there is a


quantity representing the square of the distance that a particle has deleted in
a Galilean system minus twice the square of the time required for that path,
which quantity remains unchanged either the measurements were made in
one system or the other (inertial) .

Minkowski immediately recognized in the mathematical formula of s 2


,the expression of the square of the distance of a four-dimensional
continuous. This distance, was called the Einstein interval or just interval.
Having expressed the distance of two points of this continuous with an
absolute character independent of the movement, we understand the
absolute nature of the continuum itself. This continuum is neither space nor
time, but refers to both, since the distance between two points can be
expressed in spatial and temporal distances in many ways just as the
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distance in the usual space can be expressed in length, width and height in
various ways. For these reasons this continuous was called a space-time (or
Minkowski space)

George Mpantes mathematics teacher

From my book H

www.mpantes.gr

Serres 5/9/17