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WELCOME TO RELATIVITY

These pages started to come online from July 2016 onwards - expect references and cross-linking to improve, as more material appears.

The aim of these pages is to try to explain a range of advanced concepts in relativity theory with the minimum of mathematics, so that most people with a very basic grounding or interest in science should be able to understand them.

EB

Sections under preparation:

Albert Einstein
... A range of texts by Einstein on his 1905 and 1916 theories, on relativity in general, and on the fundamental character of theoretical physics. Much more material to come.
General Relativity
... The General Principle of Relativity (GPoR). Mach and Einstein. How GR1916 was supposed to work. How a general theory is supposed to work in general. The 1960 destruction of the original general theory.
Advanced General Relativity
... How general relativity looks if we keep the GPoR as a fundamental principle, and don't insist on "perfect" agreement with SR. A "Cliffordian" universe as a counter-example to the notion that curved-spacetime theories must reduce to flat-spacetime physics. New principles, behaviors and equivalences. Compaction of the current stratified system and increased data-redundancy. Curvature as geometrical "memory". Time-domain vs gravitational domain descriptions. Holographic principles and duality. Observerspace logic. Relativistic acoustic metric behavior derived from stochastic QM. Multiple converging arguments for an extension of current gravitoelectromagnetic theory. Relativistic energy-losses predicted and discovered. The cancellation of GEM and gravitational aberration effects. Necessity of velocity-dependent GEM effects. AGR as the logical endpoint of John Archibald Wheeler's "Geometrodynamics" project. Trans-horizon physics and classical indirect radiation. Convergence with quantum mechanics. Unification of horizon physics. Acoustic metrics. Alternative "Lorentzlike" factors. Changing the equations of motion. Significance and lack of significance in C20th testing procedures. Conceptual filters and "forbidden" concepts in C20th GR. Testing the new system.
Special Relativity
... SR as the perfect answer to an over-idealised question. SR considered as an average. SR as a first approximation of curved-spacetime physics. Limitations of Minkowski spacetime. Einstein on SR's causality. The relativistic ellipse and the generalised relativistic equations of motion. SR as the unique solution for flat spacetime. Rejection of non-SR solutions. The Lorentz factor and the "flat moon". Constructing a "Boogeyman" theory.

The "social problem" in physics

The purpose of most relativity textbooks is to teach students to use, understand and embrace current theory, in order that they can become fully-qualified practitioners. It is considered in the interest of the students not to confuse their minds with the more troubling issues in current theory, lest by failing to "believe", they become sidetracked by troubling inconsistencies in the theory, and become distracted from their studies. Students are taught that special relativity is correct beyond a shadow of a doubt and is to be regarded as fact, that SR testing was carried out to the highest standards, that general relativity is one of the greatest theories of all time, that there are no cracks or flaws in the system, and that everything in the relativistic garden smells lovely.

Unfortunately, none of this is true.

Einstein called the design of his own 1916 general theory "unjustifiable", and the theory was then found to be logically inconsistent in 1960. In short, it was a bad theory. The principles of the relativity of rotation and acceleration are now known to be fundamentally incompatible with the geometry and equations of special relativity (1960), so although Einstein's 1916 theory was designed to incorporate SR, its SR component essentially makes the rest of the theory self-destruct. GR was "fudged" in 1960 as a workaround, and is technically no longer a general theory of relativity, or a "principle theory". Then, in the 1970s, we found that the "fudge" also made the resulting system incompatible with quantum mechanics, making GR1960 incompatible with information theory and thermodynamics. Black hole horizons and cosmological horizons currently operate according to different laws of physics, GR can't derive its own equations of motion for particles with gravitational fields, we have no proper relativistic theory that describes the distortions due to moving particulate matter, we've had to suspend the principle of the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass, and GR1960 breaks down for the simple case of a black hole moving at constant speed in a straight line. A great deal of the theory appears to be broken. Redesigning GR to work properly results in increased nonlinearity, the effects of which now seem to have been measured, but we prefer to explain these using the ad hoc hypothesis of dark matter.

Other relativistic solutions were rejected without public study, testing procedures were compromised, the significance of evidence was misrepresented, and research into full general relativity was blocked. We were told that a theory of quantum gravity would come along soon that could incorporate GR1960 and QM "as-is", but we've been waiting for half a century for it, and it still hasn't arrived. It may never appear.

In short, the current system of inertial and gravitational physics somewhat resembles the aftermath of a plane crash.

On the plus side, if we don't need relativity theory to correspond to the mathematical mess in the current textbooks, the concepts become a lot simpler, and the way forward is not so difficult.

So, welcome to the Twenty-First Century, and congratulations for coming along at the right time. Physics is about to change.