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Relativity in Modern Physics$
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Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.001.0001

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The kinematics of a point particle

The kinematics of a point particle

(p.190) 2 The kinematics of a point particle
Relativity in Modern Physics

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the kinematics of point particles undergoing any type of motion. It introduces the concept of proper time—the geometric representation of the time measured by an accelerated clock. It also describes a world line, which represents the motion of a material point or point particle P, that is, an object whose spatial extent and internal structure can be ignored. The chapter then considers the interpretation of the curvilinear abscissa, which by definition measures the length of the world line L representing the motion of the point particle P. Next, the chapter discusses a mathematical result popularized by Paul Langevin in the 1920s, the so-called ‘Langevin twins’ which revealed a paradoxical result. Finally, the transformation of velocities and accelerations is discussed.

Keywords:   point particles, kinematics, motion, proper time, world line, Langevin twins, velocities and accelerations, curvilinear abscissa

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