The Story So Far: A Brief Review The first coherent statement of what physicists now call relativity was Galileo’s observation almost four hundred years ago that if you were in a large closed room, you could not tell by observing how things move-living things, thrown things, dripping liquids-whether the room was at rest in a building, say, or below decks in a large ship moving with a steady velocity. More technically (but really saying the same thing!) we would put it that the laws of motion are the same in any inertial frame. That is, these laws really only describe relative positions and velocities. In particular, they do not single out a special inertial frame as the one that’s “really at rest”. This was later all written down more formally, in terms of Galilean transformations . Using these simple linear equations, motion analyzed in terms of positions and velocities in one inertial frame could be translated into any other. When, after Galileo, Newton wrote down his Three Laws of Motion, they were of course invariant under the Galilean transformations, and
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.