Einsteinian Kinematics

  • Wolfgang Rindler


In this chapter we begin to develop the consequences of Einstein’s “first postulate,” the relativity principle (RP)— a principle of venerable standing in mechanics, now newly extended to all of physics. Einstein chose to ignite it with a spark from electromagnetic theory: his “second postulate,” according to which light travels rectilinearly with constant speed c in vacuum in every inertial frame. After the blaze, the old relativity principle showed its new mathematical core: the Lorentz transformation (LT). Previously “common sense” had shown that the core “must” be the Galilean transformation (GT).


Rest Frame Inertial Frame Lorentz Transformation Lorentz Factor Time Dilation 
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  1. Another argument for linearity can be made from the constancy of the speed of light—see RSR, page 17—and yet another from the “homogeneity of space and time,” together with the uniform motion of one inertial frame relative to another, if that has been independently established—see RSR, page 21.Google Scholar
  2. We are here violating our resolve to work in strict inertial frames only! The conscientious reader may replace the force of gravity acting down the hole by a sandblast from the top—the result will be the same. For a full discussion of this paradox, see W. Rindler, Am. J. Phys. 29, 365 (1961).MathSciNetADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Taken from W. Rindler, “Special Relativity,” Edinburgh and London, Oliver and Boyd, 1966, by permission of the publishers. Note that the roles of the frames S and S″ of Figure 5 are reversed in Figure 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Rindler
    • 1
  1. 1.Southwest Center for Advanced StudiesDallasUSA

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