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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 light

The kinematics of light

(p.200) 3 The kinematics of light
Relativity in Modern Physics

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Oxford University Press

This chapter embarks on the study of light in the vacuum in special relativity. Here, the chapter represents light by world lines of zero length, that is, by particles that propagate at speed c. Such a description does not include the electromagnetic or quantum wave nature of light, but it does allow the interpretation of experiments which measure light travel times (such as the Sagnac experiment) or aberration effects due to motion of the receiver. The chapter first defines the light lines, or the light-like lines, which are lines of zero length, and one of these lines can represent the world line of a signal or photon. It then turns to a discussion of the Sagnac effect, before finally considering the aberration formulas.

Keywords:   light, light corpuscles, photons, special relativity, vacuum, light lines, Sagnac experiment, aberration formulas

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