By Jeremy I. Pfeffer, Shlomo Nir
This ebook originated from the necessity for an appropriate pupil textual content for the path "An advent to trendy Physics" given on the Hebrew college of Jerusalem. This direction is open to all scholars who've accomplished the traditional first-year physics classes in mechanics, optics, electrical energy and magnetism. Its fundamental aim is to supply graduates who're - no matter what their box of specialisation - "modern-physics-literate". The presentation of the direction fabric emphasises the actual points of the phenomena.
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Extra info for Modern Physics
In order to elucidate this paradox, we will follow in Einstein’s footsteps and start, as he did in his celebrated article on special relativity,33 by reconsidering the very nature of time and space and the methods of measuring them. Einstein wrote: I f an observer at point A has a clock, he can estimate the time of events occurring in the immediate neighbourhood of A, by looking for the position of the hands of the clock that is synchronous with the event. If an observer at point B possesses an identical clock to A B he can similarly estimate the time of events occurring at B.
Implicit in this approach is the assumption that all points in space are equivalent. Newton expressed this idea through his postulate of an absolute space which “in its own nature, without regard to anything external, remains always familiar and immovable”. It is within this space that inertial observers can never be sure if it is they or the objects around them that are moving, and it was relative to this space that change in motion occurred. In this way, unqualified use was made of the Newtonian conception of motion for some two hundred years.
Evidently, Newton’s laws of motion are truly covariant only for a special class of observers: inertial observers. This usually presents no problem, as our mind’s eye can always conjure up a hypothetical inertial observer, positioned at some convenient point in space, relative to whom the motion of the object in question can be analysed using Newton’s laws of motion. Implicit in this approach is the assumption that all points in space are equivalent. Newton expressed this idea through his postulate of an absolute space which “in its own nature, without regard to anything external, remains always familiar and immovable”.