Inertial Frames and Poincaré Transformations
  • E. G. Peter Rowe
Part of the Springer Monographs in Mathematics book series (SMM)


Special relativity is not a subject that can be comprehended at a single sitting. When one is ready to embark on a study of it, one has a whole lifetime behind one of Newtonian intuitions, preconceptions (the most significant of the pre-relativistic prejudices is the belief in absolute time), concepts, habits and shortcuts in thinking, some appropriate only to pre-relativity which must be identified and abandoned (not always a quick process), but some adaptable and some immediately transferable to the new way of thinking. Even the still-useful concepts must be identified and deliberately cherished. Relativity must therefore be tackled in at least two stages. In the first stage, the old prejudices must be attacked and demolished (if possible), and a preliminary study made of simultaneity, the classical experiments of Michelson and Morley, the Lorentz transformation and its elementary consequences. The subconscious must then have time to work its magic and adjust to the new circumstances. It is assumed here that this stage has already been completed. In the second approach to the subject, beginning now, one considers the whole discipline ab initio, building up a structure in terms of those concepts that will last, using what has been learned before to try to avoid false starts or concentration on inappropriate aspects.


Time Orientation Inertial Frame Lorentz Transformation Absolute Time Timelike Vector 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. G. Peter Rowe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DurhamEngland

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