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Wikipedia: Principle of relativity Top Home > Library > Miscellaneous > Wikipedia Wikisource has original text related to this article: Relativity: The Special and General Theory In physics , the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations, describing the laws of physics, have the same form in all admissible frames of reference . For example, the Maxwell equations have the same form in all inertial frames of reference; the Einstein field equation has the same form in arbitrary frames of reference. Several principles of relativity have been successfully applied throughout science , whether implicitly (as in Newtonian mechanics ) or explicitly (as in Albert Einstein 's special relativity and general relativity ). Contents [ hide ] 1 History of relativity 2 Basic relativity principles 3 Special principle of relativity o 3.1 In Newtonian mechanics o 3.2 In special relativity 4 General principle of relativity o 4.1 General relativity 5 See also 6 Further reading 7 Notes and references 8 External links History of relativity Main article: History of special relativity Basic relativity principles Certain principles of relativity have been widely assumed in most scientific disciplines. One of the most widespread is the belief that any law of nature should be the same at all times; and scientific investigations generally assume that laws of nature are the same regardless of the person measuring them. These sorts of principles have been incorporated into scientific inquiry at the most fundamental of levels. Any principle of relativity prescribes a symmetry in natural law: that is, the laws must look the same to one observer as they do to another. According to a deep theoretical result called Noether's theorem , any such symmetry will also imply a conservation law alongside. For

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example, if two observers at different times see the same laws, then a quantity called energy will be conserved . In this light, relativity principles make testable predictions about how nature behaves, and are not just statements about how scientists should write laws. Special principle of relativity See also: Inertial frame of reference According to the first postulate of the special theory of relativity: [1] Special principle of relativity : If a system of coordinates K is chosen so that, in relation to it, physical laws hold good in their simplest form, the same laws hold good in relation to any other system of coordinates K' moving in uniform translation relatively to K. Albert Einstein: The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity, Part A, §1 This postulate defines an inertial frame of reference . The special principle of relativity states that physical laws should be the same in every inertial frame of reference , but that they may vary across non-inertial ones. This principle is used in both Newtonian mechanics and the theory of special relativity . Its influence in the latter is so strong that Max Planck named the theory after the principle.
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