TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword

1. Basics

1.1 Special relativity and general relativity

1.2 Space measures: the sample ruler problem

1.3 Time measures: the sample clock problem

1.4 Simultaneity and succession of phenomena in time

1.5 Measurements of the speed of light

2. Ether, electromagnetic theory and Lorentz's hypothesis

2.1 Electromagnetic Theory and law of inertia

2.2 The problem of speed as physical constant

2.3 Motion with respect to the ether and the Michelson and Morley experiment

2.4 Propagation of electromagnetic waves

2.5 Lorentz's "physical" relativity theory

2.6 Lorentz contraction factor

2.7 Galilean and Lorentz transformations

2.8 Formula for speed composition

2.9 Length contraction and time dilatation: a recurring misunderstanding

2.10 Relativity of simultaneity and time measurements

2.11 Derivation of Lorentz transformations

3. Einstein's solution

3.1 Two Einstein's postulates

3.2 Synchronization of clocks in distant systems

3.3 Synchronization of distant clocks with other means than light

3.4 Lorentz's transformations come into play

3.5 A question to the reader, and instructions

3.6 Synchronization of distant clocks by means of light

3.7 ED1905 Chapter 1, "Definition of simultaneity"

3.8 ED1905 Chapter 2, "On the relativity of lengths and times"

3.9 ED1905 Chapters 3, 4 and 5, Lorentz transformations and consequences

3.10 Review of previous sections

3.11 ED1905 Chapter 6, application to electrodynamics and invariance of Maxwell equations

3.12 ED1905 Chapter 6, a detail about electrodynamics

3.13 Assumptions and consequences of applying Lorentz's transformations to electrodynamics

3.14 Conventional interpretation of dilatation

3.15 Apparent interpretation of dilatation

3.16 Realist interpretation of dilatation

3.17 Balance of the three interpretations

4. The relativistic concept of mass: E=mc²

4.1 Concept of photon, or electromagnetic quantum

4.2 Basics of elementary physics needed to understand E=mc²

4.3 Convertibility between mass and energy

4.4 E=mc²: non-relativistic derivation by Rohrlich (didactic)

4.5 E=mc² and increase of mass with speed

4.6 Mass, energy and speed: non-relativistic derivation by Lewis (1908)

4.7 Mass, energy and speed: problems revealed by non-relativistic conception

5. Time and space dilatation and law of inertia

5.1 Rewording the problem

5.2 Nature of contradiction

5.3 The conflict between apparent and realist interpretation of relativity

5.4 Interpretation of special relativity shortly after 1905

5.5 Transition from apparent to realist interpretation (1911)

5.6 Realist interpretation of dilatation through general relativity (1918)

6. Discussions of relativity paradoxes

6.1 After Einstein

6.2 The µ meson

6.3 Minkowski geometry, space-time and world lines

6.4 Minkowski geometry and clocks problem

6.5 Fizeau's experiment with water

6.6 The Hafele-Keating experiment and GPS system

6.7 Problem of the relativistic deduction of E=mc²

7. Success of special relativity and opinions

7.1 Success of the theory

7.2 (Perhaps) naive considerations about the unity of time

7.3 Connections with twentieth century culture

7.4 Rational criticism of relativity

7.5 Counterintuitive geometry of space-time

7.6 Experience of the author of this book

Conclusion

Bibliography

Back cover

Alberto Palazzi