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The Elements of Relativity$
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David M. Wittman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199658633.001.0001

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Reasoning with Frames and Spacetime Diagrams

Reasoning with Frames and Spacetime Diagrams

Chapter:
(p.29) 4 Reasoning with Frames and Spacetime Diagrams
Source:
The Elements of Relativity
Author(s):

David M. Wittman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199658633.003.0004

To prepare for the high‐speed world where Galilean relativity breaks down, we now practice the skill of thinking in different frames. Practicing this in our familiar lowspeed world will help us avoid cognitive overload when we enter the more counterintuitive high‐speed world. We examine two problems that illustrate the process of thinking in different frames. Te frst is a brain‐teaser that suddenly becomes easier in a particular frame; the second is a classic problem from introductory physics that we can solve in a new way using symmetry and frame‐based thinking tools alone. Along the way, we will learn how to use the spacetime diagram, a major tool that will appear throughout this book. Te chapter concludes with another look at accelerated vs. inertial frames, from the spacetime diagram point of view

Keywords:   frame of reference, spacetime diagram, inertial frame, accelerated frame, conservation of momentum, worldline, Galilean relativity

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