special relativity


Definition of special relativity

Examples of special relativity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1905, Einstein outlined his theory of special relativity, which established that the laws of physics apply throughout the universe, the speed of light is constant and nothing travels fasters than light. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "Three Scientists Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for Discovering Black Holes," 6 Oct. 2020 When traveling past an observer at 0.9994 c, muons' lifetime stretches to 63.5 microseconds, just as predicted by special relativity. Ronald C. Lasky, Scientific American, "Does Time Tick at the Same Rate for Everyone?," 24 Oct. 2014 The traveler uses the length-contraction equation of special relativity to measure distance. Ronald C. Lasky, Scientific American, "Does Time Tick at the Same Rate for Everyone?," 24 Oct. 2014 While special relativity applies only to objects moving at constant speeds, general relativity also covers accelerating objects. Quanta Magazine, "Arrows of Time," 5 May 2020 The turn of the 20th century was a heady time for physics: In the span of just over a decade, the world was introduced to quantum physics, special relativity and the electron — the first evidence that atoms had divisible parts. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "The Top 10 Science Experiments of All Time," 10 Oct. 2019 Each of these seemed to satisfy the requirements of both quantum mechanics and special relativity — two of nature’s acid tests. George Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "Freeman Dyson, physicist who wrestled with moral questions, dies," 29 Feb. 2020 Another exciting aspect of relativistic astronomy is that humankind can directly test the principles of special relativity using macroscopic measurements for the first time. Scientific American, "Astronomy at the Speed of Light," 3 July 2018 In 1865, physicist James Clerk Maxwell drew the connection between these twin forces, setting the stage for Einstein to form his famed theory of special relativity. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How Do Magnets Work?," 7 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'special relativity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of special relativity

1919, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of special relativity was in 1919

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Statistics for special relativity

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Special relativity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20relativity. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on special relativity

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about special relativity

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