Terms and concepts from A Beka Book Physics Chapter 28: "Relativity" (pages 441-453)

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  • Albert A. Michelson

    the American physicist who attempted to find the speed of light through an experiment involving a light source and mirrors on two different mountains

    the speed of light (c)

    3.00 x 10^8 m/s^


    the invisible medium of light that was supposed by nineteenth century scientists to permeate the entire universe


    a device that scientists use to observe the interference of light

    (1.) The speed of light is constant in a vacuum.
    (2.) The laws of physics are obeyed in an inertial frame of reference.

    the two physical absolutes, according to the theory of relativity


    the theory that states how related elements of space and time change with respect to speed or gravity; states that there is no absolute point of reference for physical events


    the philosophy that states that all value judgments-- that is, all attempts to distinguish betwee right and wrong-- are relative to the situation (a philosophy which some try to link to relativity)

    special relativity

    the type of relativity that is concerned primarily with motion at a high velocity

    abolute upper limit

    The speed of light is a(n) ____ ___ ___ on velocity in the universe.

    will not

    If an observer measures how fast two objects are moving apart or coming together, the velocity so determined (will, will not) be the same as the velocity of one object as seen from the other.

    mass, accelerate

    With respect to an observer's frame of reference, objects appear to gain ___ as they _____.

    rest mass

    term for an object's mass at rest


    Energy is _____ to mass.

    time dilation, length contraction

    With respect to an observer's frame of reference, a moving object will experience both ___ ____ and ___ ____.

    time dilation

    term meaning that time passes more slowly (takes longer to pass) for the moving clock than the stationary clock, or that from the perspective of a stationary observer, a moving object's clock slows down

    length contraction

    term meaning that, from the perspective of a stationary observer, lengths shorten in the direction (or parallel to the direction) of motion

    general relativity

    the theory which says that all masses produce curves in space, which affect space and time, but not mass

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