A careful study is made of the operational meaning of the time symbols appearing in the space-time Lorentz transformation. Four distinct symbols, with different physical meanings, are needed to describe reciprocal measurements involving stationary and uniformly-moving clocks. Physical predictions concern only the observed rate of a clock as a function of its relative speed, not its setting. How the failure to make this distinction leads to the conventional predictions of spurious `relativity of simultaneity' and `length contraction' effects in special relativity is explained.
- Pub Date:
- June 2006
- Physics - General Physics
- 7 pages, no figures, no tables. This paper replaces physics/0601131. The same material is presented in a hopefully more transparent manner. V2 typos corrected, improved text, added references. V3 minor text additions. V4 corrected discussion of invariant length intervals. References modified