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Unformatted text preview: Math 21a Supplement on Relativity Matrices play an interesting role in Einstein’s theory of special relativity. To set the stage, imagine two observers with the following characteristics: The first observer is at rest at the origin on the x-axis. This observer measures position along the x-axis with the variable x and the passage of time with a variable t, where t = 0 is set to be today at 12 noon here in Boston. Meanwhile, the second observer is moving with constant speed v in the positive x direction, and happens to pass x = 0 at t = 0. This second observer measures position with a variable x´ which takes value zero at his position. Thus, the origin of the x´ coordinate system moves in time with respect to that of the x coordinate system, and vice versa. Also, assume that the second observer measures time with a variable t´ where t´ = 0 today at 12 noon in Boston. Finally, assume that these observers had gotten together previously and agreed to measure distance in units of meters...
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