Relativity principle

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One of the most fundamental physical laws, according to which any process runs identically in an isolated material system in a state of rest, and in another such system in a state of uniform rectilinear motion. The state of motion or rest is defined relative to an arbitrarily chosen inertial system; in physical terms, these states are completely equivalent. An equivalent formulation of the relativity principle is as follows: The laws of physics take an identical form in all inertial systems.

The relativity principle and the postulate on the independence of the speed of light in vacuum from the motion of the light source, form the basis of special relativity theory.



[a1] W. Rindler, "Essential relativity" , Springer (1977) pp. Chapt. 1
[a2] R.K. Sachs, H. Wu, "General relativity for mathematicians" , Springer (1977)
[a3] A.S. Eddington, "The mathematical theory of relativity" , Cambridge Univ. Press (1960)
[a4] A.P. Trench, "Special relativity" , Norton & Cy (1968)
[a5] P.G. Bergmann, "Introduction to the theory of relativity" , Dover, reprint (1976)
How to Cite This Entry:
Relativity principle. BSE-3 (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This text originally appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098