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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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Fields and matter

Fields and matter

Chapter:
(p.246) 8 Fields and matter
Source:
Relativity in Modern Physics
Author(s):

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198786399.003.0026

This chapter discusses the laws of relativistic dynamics for continuous media, namely, the ‘fields’ that mediate interactions in relativistic theories, and also fluids. The concept of field introduced by Faraday and formalized by Maxwell lies at the heart of contemporary physics. The intuitive idea behind this concept is, on the one hand, that massive bodies, owing to their internal constitution, impregnate space with what are called ‘fields’, potential entities which are only revealed by the presence of other bodies possessing the same type of charge. On the other hand, there is the idea that the interactions between these bodies, which determine their motion, are effected through the intermediary of these fields. This physical concept of a field is represented mathematically by one or several functions of points p in Minkowski spacetime.

Keywords:   fields, matter, relativistic dynamics, continuous media, fluids, energy–momentum tensor, free fields, fluid equations of motion, accelerated frames, conservation laws

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