A Note on Relativity Before Einstein

Macrossan, Michael N. (1986) A Note on Relativity Before Einstein. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 37 2: 232-234.

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Author Macrossan, Michael N.
Title A Note on Relativity Before Einstein
Journal name British Journal for the Philosophy of Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-0882
Publication date 1986-01-01
Sub-type Other
Volume 37
Issue 2
Start page 232
End page 234
Total pages 3
Language eng
Subject 240504 Electrostatics and Electrodynamics
370601 History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Abstract A [1983] review, 'Relativity before Einstein' made no mention of the work of Joseph Larmor, whose early derivation of the Lorentz transformation seems to be less well known than those of Lorentz and Poincare. In 1897, Larmor, starting from a first-order transformation similar to Lorentz's first order version, presented the correct form of what is now known as the Lorentz transformation. In his presentation of the theory in 1900 Larmor saw the time dilation effect as a consequence of Maxwell's electromagnetic theory. It was Lorentz who, in 1895, introduced the notion of the relativity of simultaneity (local time), without the time dilation effect. Poincare in 1900 discussed how Lorentz's local time would arise from the procedure of synchronizing moving clocks by exchanging light signals assumed to travel at the same speed in either direction. Lorentz presented the correct version of the transformation in 1899, and discussed the variation of mass with velocity arising from it. In 1902 Lorentz was aware of Larmor's 1897 work but apparently missed its significance. Nevertheless, the credit for the first presentation of the Lorentz transformation including the crucial time dilation belongs to Larmor.
Keyword Lorentz transformation
history
time dilation
length contraction
origin of special relativity
pre-Einstein
References KESWANI, G. H. and KILMISTER, C. W. [1983]: 'Intimations of Relativity. Relativity before Einstein', Brit. J.. Phil. Science, 34, pp. 343-54. LARMOR, J. [1897]: On a Dynamical Theory of the Electric and Luminiferous Medium', Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. 190, 205-300. LARMOR, J. [1900]: Aether and Matter. Cambridge University Press. LORENTZ, H. A. [1895]: 'Michelson's Interference Experiment' (in: The Principle of Relativity by H. A. Lorentz et al., Methuen). LORENTZ, H. A. [1899]: 'Simplified Theory of Electrical and Optical Phenomena in Moving Systems', Proc. Acad. Sciences Amsterdam, I, pp. 427-42. LORENTZ, H. A. [1902]: 'The Rotation of the Plane of Polarisation in Moving Media', Proc. Acad. Sciences Amsterdam, IV, pp. 669-78. LORENTZ, H. A. [1904]: 'Electromagnetic Phenomena in a System Moving with any Velocity Less than that of Light', Proc. Acad. Sciences Amsterdam, VI, pp. 809-30. POINCARE, H. [1900]: 'La Theorie de Lorentz et le Principe de Reaction', Archives Neerlandaies, V, pp. 253-78. POINCARE, H. [1905]: 'Sur la Dynamique de l'Electron', Comptes Rendues, 140, pp. 1504-8. (English translation in Keswani and Kilmister [1983]). VOIGT, W. [1887]: 'Ueber das Doppler'sche Princip', Nachrichten von der Koniglicher Gesellschaft den Wissenschaft zu Gottingen, 2, pp. 41-51.
Q-Index Code CX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Other
Collection: School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 13 May 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Michael N Macrossan