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Relativity and Quantum Mechanics Notes. CP Physics Ms. Morrison. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Two parts – Special and General Special: deals with question of whether rest and motion are relative or absolute and the consequences that result from them being relative

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einstein s theory of relativity
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity
  • Two parts – Special and General
  • Special: deals with question of whether rest and motion are relative or absolute and the consequences that result from them being relative
  • General: primarily applies to particles as they accelerate, is a radical revision of Newton’s theory of motion
  • Both theories have been confirmed to be accurate to a very high degree
special theory of relativity 1905
Special Theory of Relativity (1905)
  • Speed of light, c, is a constant
    • 3 x 108 m/s
    • Does not matter the speed of the source of light, the speed of the observer, or the instrument used to measure it – always constant regardless of one’s frame of reference
  • The laws of physics are the same in any frame of reference
  • E = mc2 – mass can be converted into huge amounts of energy and huge amounts of energy are needed to create a tiny amount of matter
special relativity pg 2
Special Relativity, pg 2
  • As approach speed of light:
    • Length gets shorter
    • Mass becomes greater
    • Time slows down
      • Twin paradox – a space traveler could travel at speeds close to speed of light and would return to Earth younger than his twin brother
general theory of relativity 1915
General Theory of Relativity (1915)
  • The effect of gravitational fields cause the space-time continuum to be curved or warped by large masses
    • The more massive the object – the more it bends the space-time around it
    • Real cause of gravitational attraction
  • Gravity not only can bend light but slow it down – time dilation
general relativity pg 2
General Relativity, pg 2
  • Predicted the existence of black holes
    • Because they are so massive, have very high gravity and can bend light, slow light down, and stop light from escaping
    • Can make time stand still – a space probe would appear to slow down and virtually stop as it speeds toward the event horizon of a black hole
  • One of pillars of Big Bang Theory
uncertainty principle
Uncertainty Principle
  • States: the more precisely the position of a particle is determined, the less precisely the momentum is know in this instant and vice versa
  • Sometimes stated differently – the act of measuring one magnitude of a particle, whether it is mass, velocity, or position causes the other magnitudes to blur
  • Blurring of these magnitudes is a fundamental property of nature
uncertainty principle pg 2
Uncertainty Principle, pg 2
  • 1925 – two competing mathematical theories that attempted to explain electron orbits:
    • Heisenberg developed matrix mechanics that interpreted the electron as a particle with quantum behavior – quantum jumps between energy levels
    • Schrodinger – interprets the electron as a wave
  • 1926 – Schrodinger publishes proof that shows that the two theories are equivalent – an electron is a particle that can behave like a wave
uncertainty principle pg 3
Uncertainty Principle, pg 3
  • In an experiment, though, cannot be both a wave and a particle at the same time, the experimenter must choose what to observe in the experiment
  • Notion that observer becomes part of the observed system is fundamentally new in physics – observer no longer external, through the act of the measurement he becomes part of the observed reality (he affects the system)
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