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The Universal ForceGravity - Creator of Worlds$
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Louis Girifalco

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228966.001.0001

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It stands alone

It stands alone

(p.214) 16 It stands alone
The Universal Force

Louis A. Girifalco

Oxford University Press

The theory of relativity is unique and is based on very simple ideas. In fact, it has only one fundamental premise and one physical fact. The premise is that the laws of physics must be the same everywhere. It does not matter where we are or how we are moving, the laws must be the same. This is just an article of faith in the unity of nature. The physical fact is that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same no matter what. If the light source is stationary, or moving towards us, or moving away from us, we always measure the same speed. This is counterintuitive, but experiment shows it to be true and it must be accepted. Relativity then follows by inexorable logic. This minimalist foundation is part of the beauty of relativity. The structure of the theory is also so beautiful that it compels belief.

Keywords:   light speed, axioms of relativity, universality, theory of relativity, unity of nature

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