Special Theory of Relativity



  • One of the two theories of relativity theories proposed by Einstein, the other being the General Theory. Special Relativity is of lesser scope than General, and is less controversial because it has proved more amenable to experimental proof. It concentrates upon the theory of motion, and especially upon the effects caused by the velocity of light acting as an absolute speed limit on every kind of motion. Its predictions include the Lorentz transformations of time and distance with increasing velocity, which have been verified experimentally (Fitzgerald Contraction). They lead to the idea of a single entity, spacetime, in which measurements can be made on a consistent basis despite the problems posed for normal measurement systems by relative motion at velocities which are a significant fraction of the velocity of light.