Special Theory of Relativity
Theory formulated by Old Earth physicist Albert Einstein that deals with relative motions, and takes as its starting point the fact that the speed of light is a universal constant. During the late Industrial and early Atomic Age, Special Relativity supplanted Newtonian mechanics, yielding different results for very fast-moving objects. Special Relativity is based on the idea that speed has an upper bound; nothing can pass the speed of light. The theory also states that time and distance measurements are not absolute but are instead relative to the observer's frame of reference. Space and time are viewed as aspects of a single phenomenon, called space-time. Energy and momentum are similarly linked. As a result, mass can be converted into huge amounts of energy, and vice versa, according to the formula E=mc2. Contrast with General Theory of Relativity.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 31 December 2001.