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Remarks on the Foundation of Special Relativity

Mario Ludovico
Year: 2006 Pages: 25
Keywords: special relativity
At variance with a largely shared opinion, both the foundation and the logical structure of Special Relativity (SR) have substantially been laid by Hendrik Lorentz and by Henri Poincar?, not by Albert Einstein. Yet, the mathematical generalization of SR comes from Hermann Minkowski, who in 1907 proposed the spacetime reference frame in its current notation, though the first mathematical formulation and use of a spacetime reference frame was clearly made by Poincar? in June 1905. (?Spacetime? is also referred to as ?chronotope?).

In this paper, which forms a \"Special Appendix\" to the book \"Vacuum, Vortices and Gravitation\" (fully and freely readable online at www.mario-ludovico.com), questionable points of Einstein\'s special relativity are given evidence. In particular, the well-known mass-energy equivalence equation is discussed in the light of Lorentz\'s theoretical analysis concerning the motion of a material body with respect to the ether. It is in fact remarked that the mass-energy equivalence equation is not an achievement of Einstein\'s special relativity. That equation is intrinsically inherent in the Lorentz\'s definition of \"transverse mass\", when the body\'s relative speed with respect to the ether is nil.

Perhaps, in a view to attaining - by his own - the \"equivalence\" relationship between mass and energy previously and differently formulated by Poincar?, Einstein published in September 1905 a very short paper, in which - starting from his precedent paper on special relativity - he \"proves\" the equation E = mc2  through the introduction of an unexpected simplification-approximation of the Lorentz\'s factor  1/(1-v2/ c2)1/2 , which Einsteins equals to 1+v2/2c2 cutting the relevant series at the second order term. Should one consider such a formal expedient as logically acceptable and appliable to all special relativity equations, the theory would  take (particularly from the experimental standpoint) a \"physical\" significance remarkably different from that conventionally celebrated.

Accounting for the possible existence of the \"ether\" (or \"plenum\" in the author\'s terminology) the same mass-energy equivalence can be  obtained analytically, with no use of relativistic paradigms. It is also observed that the introduction of Minkowski\'s \"chronotope\" has actually involved the mass-energy equivalence as an axiom proper to the spacetime paradigm.