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Homework Help: Lorentz Transformations

  1. May 19, 2012 #1


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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Are the Lorentz transformations empirical laws? If so, are they empirically testable?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I'm guessing they are. But how do you test the LT?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2012 #2

    rude man

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    The LT was originally formulated by an erroneous assumption (by an Irish physicist named Fitzgerald) which postulated an actual shrinking of an object as it passes by an observer at high velocity. The LT exactly agreed with the observations. However, Einstein formulated them based on the uniform motion of two observers relative to each other. They, along with all of Einstein's relativity theories, have withstood 100 years of verification.
  4. May 25, 2012 #3
    Empirical law is a law that contains certain parameters that are unable to be determined by theory, but have to be measured from experiment and be used.
    I don't see why LT should be such.

    A lorentz transformation is being defined by the Ls that have:
    [L]*[n][L]=[n] (n is the metric of minkowski and my notation is notation for matrices)

    I guess that even group theory and symmetries bring the need of such transformations to exist.

    So I guess it is very theoritical as it is, and of course they existed before relativity, or before finding application in physics in order to be "empirical" laws...
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