Conflicts leading to Special Relativity

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Conflicts leading to Special Relativity

Introduction. Science has been a blessing in many aspects in the world especially in the current world. Mostly, the blessings have come from the new kind of world that we have today whose progress can be attributed from these inventions.  However, controversy has never been far from these inventions, where, some people do not agree at all with what the likes of Einstein, Maxwell, and Newton among others had come up. Three major conflicts were noted in the scientific inventions especially of Galilean transformation, Einstein’s principle of special and general relativity and Maxwell's Laws of Electromagnetism. However, the ultimate resolution was by the use of string theory. This paper looks at these concepts in depth and more so the conflicts of the 19th century as well as how they were solved.

Galilean Transformation. This is a transformation used between coordinates of some two-reference frames, which are different by only the constant relative motion in the constructs of Newtonian physics. These were formulated by Galileo when he was describing a uniform motion where, he was describing motion of a ball which is rolling down on a ramp and where, he measured the numerical value for acceleration of the gravity at the surface or ground of the earth. Essentially, the Galilean transformation embodies intuitive notion of the subtraction and addition of velocities, and there is assumption that it is possible to treat time as being absolute and is at the core of this Galilean transformation. The following equations represent the simple transformation between some coordinates (x, y, z, t).

x’= x- vt           y’=y                 z’=z                 t’=t

At times, this transformation is used in relating the time and space variables of some two uniform moving reference systems in some methods, which can be termed as non –relativistic kinetics. They enable people in how they relate some measurements in one inertial reference frame to some other measures of variables. According to Strauch (220), the Galilean transformation at times turns out to be a non-relativistic limit of another transformation called the Lorentz transformation where; some considered velocity denoted by (v) are small when they are compared to the velocity of light. However, generally, it is noted that the Galilean transformation supersedes the Lorentz transformation in many aspect; and therefore, the later has replaced the former.

The Principle of Relativity. The principle of relativity is applicable in physics, and it is majorly a requirement that the equations, which describes the laws of physics, be made to have the same form in all kinds of admissible frames of reference. For instance, in Einstein field equations and Maxwell equations, it is noted that the two have the same form in all kinds of inertial frames of reference. The two, that is, the Maxwell equations and the Einstein field equations actually have a similar form of the arbitrary frames of reference. There have been successful application of several principles throughout science and this is whether or not it is implicitly; for example, the Newtonian mechanics or explicitly as can be noted in Albert Einstein’s special relativity or even the general relativity by the same person. There are some principles of relativity that have been largely assumed in some scientific disciplines, and one of this is the belief that any kind of law that is of nature ought to be the same all the times; and the scientific investigations assume that the laws of nature are similar no matter the person who could be measuring them. This kind of thinking or the sorts of principles have been put into the scientific inquiry at some very fundamental levels in the study of physics and its concepts/application in the world.

Maxwell's Laws of Electromagnetism. This is defined as set of partial differential equations that are known to form some foundation of the classical electrodynamics when they are combined with the Lorentz force law. They are also known to bring in some classical optics and the electric circuits and in turn, they underlie some modern electrical as well as the communication technologies. This equation has two major variables; the microscopic set of the equations and the macroscopic set of equations; where, the microscopic ones are the ones, which use some total charge and the total current that is including the difficult in calculating atomic level charges and current materials. On the other hand, the macroscopic ones define some two auxiliary fields that are sidestepped in the knowledge that these sized charges and currents. The two are named after James Clerk Maxwell and they are found in four-part paper known as “On Physical Lines of Force.” In this as well, the Lorentz force law is also seen to appear which a mathematical form is, and this is to mean that the two just as the Galilean transformation can be put together.

The Inherent Conflict of the 19th Century. Many scientists attempted to measure absolute velocity of the earth by use of the equations of Galileo and Maxwell where, the Maxwell equations were used to give the velocity of the speed of the light while Galileo’s was used in giving the way of measuring the differences between the stationery and moving systems. This model brought in many controversies and it could not be used until the year 1987 and the reason behind this was that the apparatus for measuring this was to imprecise. However, this idea finally came to be used in determining the velocity of the earth. Nevertheless, conflict was all over and mostly in the 19th century. For example, in the 19th century, there were some raised questions especially of a privileged frame of reference and the conception of light as being an electromagnetic wave. Some other arguments pointed out that the conception of light violated the classical principle of relativity. The attempts by the scientists largely attracted attention and more so in measuring the effects of relative motion.

There was also the abandonment of the ether, this was following some failures in the attempts of measuring some velocity relative to the ether, and in general, terms, the independence that was apparent of all the electro dynamical phenomena of the motion that is relative to the ether. Essentially, it was noted that it did not vindicate the Newtonian inertial frame and required some very dramatically revised conception if they were to be accepted. During this 19th century, it was apparent that the scientists had done little to validate their claims, and that is why most people and especially high critics of the science revolution pointed out the falsehood in the claims of the scientists, and this compelled the scientists to go back to the drawing board to try to validate the claims. Even though overall there were some light in what they were claiming, some of the critics found a ground to point out some errors that are inherent in what was being taught. These teachings were seen as mere philosophical teachings, which required other actors; and therefore, the critics wanted to dismiss what was being found as scientific rather than philosophical.

Assumption of Einstein. In solving the difficulties that were inherent or generally the conflict during the 19th century, Einstein used his analysis of simultaneity; that is, the frames in relative motion which are seen to agree on velocity of the light but only if they disagree on simultaneity. It was seen that only the relativity of simultaneity would make it possible for the invariance of velocity of light. Einstein showed that the same laws of the electrodynamics as well as the optics would be valid for all the frames of references in which the equations of these mechanics would hold well.

Resolutions of the Conflict. There were three major conflicts, which had their unique kinds of resolution. The first concerned the puzzling properties of the movement or the motion of light and this was recognized in the late 19th century. In resolving this problem or conflict, Einstein used his theory of special relativity and in this; he overturned the earlier understanding of space and time. However, this was to set stage for the second conflict on what was noted during that time, it was argued that no item was noted to travel faster than the speed of light and had as well to do with the theory of gravitation as proposed by Newton. Einstein again stepped in and resolved this problem by offering some new conception of the gravity and this was when he used the theory of relativity in the year 1915. However, this was to bring in another conflict where, this third conflict was the deepest, which arose from the incompatibility between the general relativity and the quantum mechanics. What resolved this conflict was the string theory and the problem has come to be known as the central problem of the modern physics. The string theory builds up on the special and general relativity and it requires the revamping of conceptions we have of time and space.

Conclusion. Science has brought its share of goodies; but controversies are never far from such invention, and what is noted in any kind of invention is that there are people who term this as major milestone while others term it as violating the general understanding of what happens in the earth. This is so in the invention of coming up of science such as the Galilean transformation, the two principles of relativity and Maxwell's Laws of Electromagnetism. The problems, which have come with the inventions, are more than three, but they are all classified into three; but no, sooner than these problems are noted than there are solutions to them. For example, conflict one was immediately solved by use of special relativity and the same goes with conflict three, which was solved by use of string theory. The solutions to major problems that have come out of major inventions in the world are by use of Einstein’s theory of special and general relativity; but since even these lead to some other conflicts, the overall resolution was to use the string theory.

Work cited

Strauch, Dieter. Classical Mechanics: An Introduction. Berlin: Springer-Verlag publishers, 2009.



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