# What is Lorentz invariance: Definition and 101 Discussions

In relativistic physics, Lorentz symmetry, named after Hendrik Lorentz, is an equivalence of observation or observational symmetry due to special relativity implying that the laws of physics stay the same for all observers that are moving with respect to one another within an inertial frame. It has also been described as "the feature of nature that says experimental results are independent of the orientation or the boost velocity of the laboratory through space".Lorentz covariance, a related concept, is a property of the underlying spacetime manifold. Lorentz covariance has two distinct, but closely related meanings:

A physical quantity is said to be Lorentz covariant if it transforms under a given representation of the Lorentz group. According to the representation theory of the Lorentz group, these quantities are built out of scalars, four-vectors, four-tensors, and spinors. In particular, a Lorentz covariant scalar (e.g., the space-time interval) remains the same under Lorentz transformations and is said to be a Lorentz invariant (i.e., they transform under the trivial representation).
An equation is said to be Lorentz covariant if it can be written in terms of Lorentz covariant quantities (confusingly, some use the term invariant here). The key property of such equations is that if they hold in one inertial frame, then they hold in any inertial frame; this follows from the result that if all the components of a tensor vanish in one frame, they vanish in every frame. This condition is a requirement according to the principle of relativity; i.e., all non-gravitational laws must make the same predictions for identical experiments taking place at the same spacetime event in two different inertial frames of reference.On manifolds, the words covariant and contravariant refer to how objects transform under general coordinate transformations. Both covariant and contravariant four-vectors can be Lorentz covariant quantities.
Local Lorentz covariance, which follows from general relativity, refers to Lorentz covariance applying only locally in an infinitesimal region of spacetime at every point. There is a generalization of this concept to cover Poincaré covariance and Poincaré invariance.

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1. ### I Proof of Invariance of Spacetime Interval

I was going through Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler and came to a point where they showed a proof of Invariance of Spacetime Interval. You can find the proof Here and Here is the second part of that proof. They used an apparatus that flies straight "up" 3 meters to a mirror. There it...
2. ### B Wavefunction and Lorentz Invariance

What are the implications that the wavefunction is not Lorentz invariant?
3. ### I Non-homogeneous and anisotropic metric and laws of physics...?

In this popular science article [1], they say that if our universe resulted to be non-uniform (that is highly anisotropic and inhomogeneous) then the fundamental laws of physics could change from place to place in the entire universe. And according to this paper [2] anisotropy in spacetime could...
4. ### I Are there non-smooth metrics for spacetime (without singularities)?

Are there non-smooth metrics for spacetime (that don't involve singularities)? I found this statement in a discussion about the application of local Lorentz symmetry in spacetime metrics: Lorentz invariance holds locally in GR, but you're right that it no longer applies globally when gravity...
5. ### I Solutions that break the Lorentz invariance...?

I was reading a discussion where some physicists participated* where the topic of Lorentz invariance violations occurring in cosmology is mentioned. There, they mention that we can imagine a Lorentz-violating solution to the cosmological equations. What do they mean by that? Can anyone specify...
6. ### I Inhomogeneities and topological defects in cosmology...

I have heard that some types of inhomogeneties and topological defects (like cosmic strings) in cosmology have been proposed to be able to break fundamental symmetries of nature such as the Poincaré, Lorentz, diffeomorphism CPT, spatial/time translational...etc symmetries... However, I have not...
7. ### I Explore Spacetimes, Metrics & Symmetries in Relativity Theory

I was discussing this paper with a couple of physicists colleagues of mine (https://arxiv.org/abs/2011.12970) In the paper, the authors describe "spacetimes without symmetries". When I mentioned that, one of my friends said that no spacetime predicted or included in the theory of relativity...
8. ### I Are there types of spacetime where no symmetries are valid?

We derive the most basic laws of physics from several fundamental symmetries (those from Noether's theorems, gauge symmetries, Lorentz symmetry...). But are there any types of spacetime where no symmetries, no matter how fundamental, would be valid? Any special metric, geometry or shape?
9. ### I A paradox for two moving protons?

Before introducing Special Relativity, a textbook highlights the inconsistency of Maxwell's Electrodynamics and Newtonian Mechanics through the standard discussion about the velocity of light in different frames of reference. A further inconsistency discussed. In some inertial frame of...
10. ### B Why is Lorentz Ether Theory Hard to Rule Out?

I am reading pretty much everywhere that LET (Lorentz Ether Theory, or call it Neo-Lorentzian Relativity, or whatever theory that involves a preferred undetectable frame with some yet unknown properties that make all the moving objects with respect to this frame length contact and time dilate)...
11. ### I Lorentz Invariance of Q in Weinberg: Justifying Transformation

If ##\partial_{\alpha} J^{\alpha}(x) = 0## then ##Q \equiv \displaystyle{\int} d^3 x J^t(x)## is time-invariant. To show that if ##J^{\alpha}(x)## is a four-vector then ##Q## is also Lorentz-invariant, he re-writes it as \begin{align*} Q = \int d^4 x J^{\alpha}(x) \partial_{\alpha} H(n_{\beta}...
12. ### I Does Lorentz invariance imply Einstein's synchronization convention?

Hi, I've read a number of posts here on PF about Einstein's clock synchronization convention. In the context of SR we know the transformation law between inertial frame's coordinates is actually the Lorentz one. The invariant speed for Lorentz transformation is c (actually it coincides with...
13. ### I Lorentz Invariance Violation for Manifolds

I was looking at this video , and I was wondering if a (Riemannian)manifold violates the "lorentz invariance" would it become a discrete manifold?
14. ### I Special relativity vs Lorentz invariance

The Lorentz covariance of Maxwell equations was known before Einstein formulated special relativity. So what exactly special relativity brought new with respect to mere Lorentz covariance? Is special relativity just an interpretation of Lorentz invariance, in a sense in which Copenhagen...
15. ### I Why 3-momenta + lorentz invariance = large energy?

Why is that when there is lorentz invariance. Large 3-momentum corresponds to a large energy. And if there was no lorentz invariance. Large 3-momentum does not necessarily need to correspond to a large energy? What has Lorentz invariance got to do with 3-momentum having large energy or not?
16. ### A How does Lorentz invariance help evaluate tensor integrals?

We're trying to reduce the tensor integral ##\int {\frac{{{d^4}k}}{{{{\left( {2\pi } \right)}^4}}}} \frac{{{k^\mu }{k^\nu }}}{{{{\left( {{k^2} - {\Delta ^2}} \right)}^n}}}{\rm{ }}## to a scalar integral (where ##{{\Delta ^2}}## is a scalar). We're told that the tensor integral is proportional...

42. ### I Motivation for the usage of 4-vectors in special relativity

I recently had someone ask me why we use 4-vectors in special relativity and what is the motivation for introducing them in the first place. This is the response I gave: From Einstein's postulates( i.e. 1. the principle of relativity - the laws of physics are identical (invariant) in all...
43. ### B About the Lorentz invariance of Planck constant

Is it proved experimentally that the Planck constant is invariant in the moving system? If that experiment exists, would you show me that in detail?
44. ### A Proof of Lorentz invariance of Klein-Gordon equation

I would like to prove the Lorentz invariance of the Klein-Gordon equation by proving the invariance of the action ##\mathcal{S} = \int d^{4}x\ \mathcal{L}_{KG}## under a Lorentz tranformation. I would like to do this by first proving the Lorentz invariance of the ##\mathcal{L}_{KG}## and then...
45. ### Lorentz invariance of Klein-Gordon eqn & Maxwell Lagrangian

Homework Statement 1. Show directly that if ##\varphi(x)## satisfies the Klein-Gordon equation, then ##\varphi(\Lambda^{-1}x)## also satisfies this equation for any Lorentz transformation ##\Lambda##. 2. Show that ##\mathcal{L}_{Maxwell}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}## is invariant under...
46. ### A Lorentz invariance of the Heaviside function

Consider the Heaviside function ##\Theta(k^{0})##. This function is Lorentz invariant if ##\text{sign}\ (k^{0})## is invariant under a Lorentz transformation. I have been told that only orthochronous Lorentz transformations preserve ##\text{sign}\ (k^{0})## under the condition that ##k## is a...
47. ### Lorentz invariance of the Minkowski metric

I understand that in order to preserve the inner product of two four vectors under a change of coordinates x^{\mu}\rightarrow x^{\mu^{'}}=\Lambda^{\mu^{'}}_{\,\, \nu}x^{\nu} the Minkowski metric must transform as \eta_{\mu^{'}\nu^{'}}=\Lambda^{\alpha}_{\,\...
48. ### Huygens principle in odd/even dimensional flat space

A well known math theorem says that - if the spatial dimension is odd - D'Alembert equation gives rise to a solution containing a term which is completely supported on the light cone. A mathematical wrap up could be the following: "in dimension 3 (and in fact, for all odd dimensions), the...
49. ### Is Lorentz invariance is true in curved spacetime?

Hello, I am re-reading a book about quantum physics and general relativity. To introduce representation of the lorentz group, they explain the definition of lorentz group as the group of transformation that let x² + y² ... -t² unchanged. But in cuved space the distance is not the same as in...
50. ### Finding Function that Vanishes Only When x^mu = y^mu

Hi all, Just doing some hobby physics while I put off working on my research. In one dimension, the function $$f(a,b)=[1-\exp(-(a-b)^2)]$$ vanishes when a=b. In Minkowski spacetime though, such a function is not so easy to find (if you require Lorentz invariance). If...