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Relativistic Physics: From Paradoxes to Good Sense, Part 1

Franco Selleri
Year: 2009
Keywords: Relativity, Paradox
The present paper reviews the results obtained in recent years by the author in relativistic physics. Historically the two theories of relativity were born from the clash of positivism and realism. The former current of thought used relativism as a weapon against ideas of realistic inclination, like Lorentz\'s. Paradoxes were the consequence in the new relativistic paradigm of emarginating realism. The recent understanding of the role of the conventional definition of simultaneity in relativistic physics has opened the doors to new lines of thought. Epistemologists have stressed that the coefficient of the space variable x in the Lorentz transformation of time (we call it e1) has a nonphysical (\"conventional\") nature. Therefore, it should be possible to modify e1 without touching the empirical predictions of the theory. Given that Einstein\'s principle of relativity leads necessarily to the Lorentz transformations, such a modification implies however a reformulation of the relativistic idea itself. With respect to this ideal picture, the concrete development of the research has produced some exciting surprises. Nature does not seem to be so indifferent about the value of e1, given that several phenomena, in particular those taking place on a rotating platform (Sagnac effect, and all that) converge in a strong indication of the value e1 = 0 .This implies absolute simultaneity and a new type of space and time transformations which we call \"inertial\". Today we count on six proofs of absolute simultaneity, which are essentially independent of one another (three are contained in the second part of the paper). The cosmological consequences of the new structure of space and time go against the big bang model. After our results relativism, although weakened, is not dead and keeps proposing itself under milder forms.