Foundations of Physics

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 619–641 | Cite as

Matrix formulation of special relativity in classical mechanics and electromagnetic theory

  • Authur A. Frost


The two-component spinor theory of van der Waerden is put into a convenient matrix notation. The mathematical relations among various types of matrices and the rule for forming covariant expressions are developed. Relativistic equations of classical mechanics and electricity and magnetism are expressed in this notation. In this formulation the distinction between time and space coordinates in the four-dimensional space-time continuum falls out naturally from the assumption that a four-vector is represented by a Hermitian matrix. The indefinite metric of tensor analysis is a derived result rather than an arbitrary ad hoc assumption. The relation to four-component spinor theory is also discussed.


Relativistic Equation Matrix Formulation Classical Mechanic Special Relativity Spinor Theory 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Authur A. Frost
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryNorthwestern UniversityEvanston

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