Unformatted text preview: Einstein's special relativity was "special" because it dealt only with the specific case of intertial reference frames. An inertial reference frame is a body that is either at rest or that moves with a constant velocity. In contrast, his general theory of relativity accounts not only for these, but also for bodies that accelerate (i.e., change their velocity). Einstein began his theory with a thought experiment--that is, an experiment carried out only in the mind of the experimenter. This experiment imagines a physicist in a room on Earth dropping a ball to the ground. The ball falls to the floor at an accelerating rate because of the force of gravity. (link here) However, the physicist would observe the same phenomenon in an accelerating spaceship in a region of outer space without gravity: upon the ball's release, it would hang suspended in mid-air as the floor of the...
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- Fall '09
- Special Relativity, physicist, inertial reference frame, reference frames