by Robert J. Buenker
Bergische Universit├Ąt, Wuppertal

The present blog calls attention to an undeclared assumption made by Albert Einstein in his landmark paper [Ann. Physik 17, 891 (1905)] in which he introduced the special theory of relativity (SR). The emphasis in textbooks and periodicals is always on his two postulates of relativity (the relativity principle and the constancy of the speed of light in free space), but the well-known results of his theory such as Fitzgerald-Lorentz length contraction and the symmetry of time dilation (two clocks in motion each running slower than the other) are based just as directly on this totally unsubstantiated assumption as on the latter (please follow this link for the full text of this introduction).

For my proposal for an Alternative Lorentz Transformation (ALT), click here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Relativity Challenge (I)

The following challenges have been issued to physicists and other students of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (STR). The arguments presented in the challenges prove among other things that the Lorentz Transformation (LT) of STR is self-contradictory.

Failure to disprove all of the claims in the challenges is tantamount to admitting that STR needs to be amended relative to its currently accepted form. The consequences of doing this are wide-ranging, as indicated in the following page under the heading "Consequences of Losing the Challenge." For example, it is no longer possible to claim that relativity theory proves that space and time are inextricably mixed. Time is distinct from space, just as our intuition tells us. This is also perfectly consistent with Newton's original view of space and time.

In view of the serious nature of these challenges, it is important that physicists all over the world attempt to find fault with them. All such attempts will be presented in the current blog. They will be followed by arguments indicating any errors in the reasoning given in connection with these attempts.

The light-speed postulate (LSP) of Einstein’s special theory of relativity (STR) has the following consequence when a light pulse is sent between two fixed points in a given inertial rest frame S’. Assume that the distance between the two points measured by a stationary observer in S’ is L’ and the elapsed time is T’, whereas the corresponding values obtained by an observer in another inertial rest frame are L and T, respectively. All these numerical values have been measured according to STR protocols. Since both observers must measure the same value c for the light speed according to the LSP, the following proportionality relationship holds: L’/T’ = L/T = c, whereupon one concludes that L’/L = T’/T. According to the FitzGerald-Lorentz length contraction (FLC) prediction of STR, however, the ratio L’/L varies with orientation of the line connecting the two points, whereas T/T’ is completely independent of orientation when time dilation occurs. These facts make it impossible to satisfy the latter equality (L’/L = T’/T) on a completely general basis. This example therefore proves that STR is self-contradictory and needs to be amended. In particular, it shows that both the FLC and the Lorentz transformation (LT) on which it is based are invalid although the LSP itself is still tenable.

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