How Speed of Light Is the Same Speed in All Frames

  • Thread starter kant
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In summary: This is where the idea of the speed of light being the same in all frames of reference comes in.Can you reduce this postulate to a more fundamental postulate in nature? How do we know this postulate is true? Can more modern physics explain this postulate?Einstein's equation is a mathematical equation that helps us understand how energy behaves. It states that energy is always conserved. This means that the total energy in an object never changes. Can you calculate Energy of humans using E=mc^2This is a difficult question. It would require understanding Einstein's equation and how to calculate energy in terms of mass and speed.
  • #1
kant
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In regard to einstein s second postulate on special relativity:

The speed of light is the same in all frame of reference.


____________

Can physics explain why this is true?
 
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  • #2
If you are looking for proof, then I am afraid you will be disappointed. Postulates can not be proven, they are assumptions or statements made.
 
  • #3
Can you reduce this postulate to a more fundamental postulate in nature? How do we know this postulate is true? Can more modern physics explain this postulate?
 
  • #4
kant said:
Can you reduce this postulate to a more fundamental postulate in nature? How do we know this postulate is true? Can more modern physics explain this postulate?
The definition of a postulate is that it cannot be described using more basic statement since there are non. We believe the invariance of c to be true because experimental evidence agrees with this postulate (The Doppler effect for light would be a good example).
 
  • #5
What I don't understand about Einstein's equation is that can you calculate Energy of humans using E=mc^2
 
  • #6
pizza1512 said:
What I don't understand about Einstein's equation is that can you calculate Energy of humans using E=mc^2
Dare I ask what you mean by "the Energy of humans"?
 
  • #7
No matter how hard I try, I still can't grasp Einstein's second postulate of special relativity. It seems to defy common sense, yet we accept it as true. Another example of "doublethink"...
 
  • #8
What most people get confused by in relativity is the fact that simultaneity is relative. There is no "doublethink" involved, it's just a case of a non-intuitive result.

Mathematically, SR can be understood by studing the Lorentz transforms

[tex]
t' = \frac{t - {\color{red}v\,x/c^2}}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}[/tex]
[tex]
x' = \frac{x - v\,t }{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}
[/tex]

The relativity of simultaneity is due to the term in red. This is the key and non-intuitive point in relativity. Note that the Lorentz transforms have the mathematical property that

[tex]c^2 t'^2 - x'^2 = c^2 t^2 - x^2 [/tex]

this can be interpreted as the constancy of the speed of light, because x=ct implies x' = c t', both of which imply that the value of the Lorentz interval (the equation above) is zero.
 
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  • #9
Pete81t said:
No matter how hard I try, I still can't grasp Einstein's second postulate of special relativity. It seems to defy common sense, yet we accept it as true. Another example of "doublethink"...

It does defy common sense... that's why it's not intuitive.
However, the theory makes predictions (which differ from the "common sense" physics of Galileo and Newton) that can and have been measured experimentally with precision instruments. So, we know that "common sense" isn't correct.

However, with modern technology, our "common sense" is changing and may one day make relativity more "common sense" to us. If our daily lives involved traveling with relative-speeds close to the speed of light or, more practically, we rely on precision wristwatches, we'd begin to appreciate relativity. (The GPS is an often cited example where relativity is needed.)
 
  • #10
Pete81t said:
No matter how hard I try, I still can't grasp Einstein's second postulate of special relativity. It seems to defy common sense, yet we accept it as true. Another example of "doublethink"...
"Doublethink" is holding two mutually exclusive ideas in your head at the same time and accepting both as true. In this case, we know from evidence that this postulate is true. So you just plain need to stop believing anything else because those other things go against experimental data we have.
robphy said:
It does defy common sense...
It only defies common sense when that common sense is based on certain preconceptions about how the universe should operate. Drop those preconceptions and look at the data available and it becomes logical.
 
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  • #11
russ_watters said:
It only defies common sense when that common sense is based on certain preconceptions about how the universe should operate. Drop those preconceptions and look at the data available and it becomes logical.

Easier said than done...I remember learning for the first time that there's really no real force called centrifugal force and that gravity isn't an actual force. We should remember that our modern view of the universe didn't develop overnight, but rather, was a gradual process spanning over centuries, and took such minds as Galileo and Newton to come up with them. Something to think about...
 
  • #12
kant said:
In regard to einstein s second postulate on special relativity:

The speed of light is the same in all frame of reference.
____________
Can physics explain why this is true?

kant,

You ask a most challenging question indeed. If you can answer this with mathematical proof, you will hold a nobel prize if you live long enough to receive it. They only award it to living folks, and they generally are not quick to give it out.

One typical answer is this ...

All mediums support energy at a constant speed. The fabric of space should be no different. Hence, spacetime supports light at only speed c.​

The big question, which is yours here, is WHY is it c in the first place?

No one knows yet! If I were to make an educated "guess", I would venture that it has something to do with the expansion of spacetime. That the speed at which light goes by is the speed of spacetime.​

But then, what do I know :-)

pess
 
  • #13
kant said:
In regard to einstein s second postulate on special relativity:

The speed of light is the same in all frame of reference.


____________

Can physics explain why this is true?
the light postulate has been exhaustively verified a number of times. a good example is comparison of speed of light emitted by high speed pions in an accelerator and that by a stationary source. interestingly, both were found to be equal.
 

Related to How Speed of Light Is the Same Speed in All Frames

1. What is the speed of light and how is it measured?

The speed of light is a fundamental constant in physics and is denoted by the letter 'c'. In a vacuum, it has a numerical value of approximately 299,792,458 meters per second. It is measured using various techniques, such as the time it takes for light to travel a known distance or the frequency of light waves.

2. How is the speed of light the same in all frames?

In the theory of special relativity, it is postulated that the speed of light is the same for all observers, regardless of their relative motion. This is a fundamental principle of the theory and has been confirmed by numerous experiments. It means that the speed of light will always be measured as the same value, regardless of the observer's frame of reference.

3. Why is the speed of light considered the ultimate speed limit?

According to special relativity, as an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases and the amount of energy required to accelerate it further also increases. At the speed of light, an object's mass would become infinite, making it impossible to reach or exceed this speed. Therefore, the speed of light is considered the ultimate speed limit in the universe.

4. Does the speed of light have any exceptions?

Based on current scientific understanding, the speed of light is the same in all frames and there are no known exceptions to this rule. However, scientists are continually conducting experiments and researching new theories, so our understanding of the universe may change in the future.

5. How does the constancy of the speed of light impact our understanding of time and space?

The constancy of the speed of light has significant implications for our understanding of time and space. It means that the laws of physics are the same for all observers, regardless of their frame of reference. This has led to the development of the theory of relativity, which has revolutionized our understanding of time, space, and the relationship between matter and energy.

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