The description of an observer's measurement in general relativity and the standard model of particle physics is closely related to the spacetime metric. In order to understand and interpret measurements, which test the metric structure of the spacetime, like the classical Michelson-Morley, Ives-Stilwell, Kennedy-Thorndike experiments or frequency comparison experiments in general, it is necessary to describe them in theories, which go beyond the Lorentzian metric structure. However, this requires a description of an observer's measurement without relying on a metric. We provide such a description of an observer's measurement of the fundamental quantities time and length derived from a premetric perturbation of Maxwell's electrodynamics and a discussion on how these measurements influence classical relativistic observables like time dilation and length contraction. Most importantly, we find that the modification of electrodynamics influences the measurements at two instances: the propagation of light is altered as well as the observer's proper time normalization. When interpreting the results of a specific experiment, both effects cannot be disentangled, in general, and have to be taken into account.
Physical Review D
- Pub Date:
- April 2018
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- Physics - Classical Physics;
- 18 pages, updated to journal version, typos corrected, discussion extended