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Concept# Principle of relativity

Summary

In physics, the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations describing the laws of physics have the same form in all admissible frames of reference.
For example, in the framework of special relativity the Maxwell equations have the same form in all inertial frames of reference. In the framework of general relativity the Maxwell equations or the Einstein field equations have the same form in arbitrary frames of reference.
Several principles of relativity have been successfully applied throughout science, whether implicitly (as in Newtonian mechanics) or explicitly (as in Albert Einstein's special relativity and general relativity).
Galilean invariance and History of special relativity
Certain principles of relativity have been widely assumed in most scientific disciplines. One of the most widespread is the belief that any law of nature should be the same at all times; and scientific investigations generally assume that laws of nature are the same regardless of the person measuring them. These sorts of principles have been incorporated into scientific inquiry at the most fundamental of levels.
Any principle of relativity prescribes a symmetry in natural law: that is, the laws must look the same to one observer as they do to another. According to a theoretical result called Noether's theorem, any such symmetry will also imply a conservation law alongside. For example, if two observers at different times see the same laws, then a quantity called energy will be conserved. In this light, relativity principles make testable predictions about how nature behaves.
Inertial frame of reference
According to the first postulate of the special theory of relativity:
This postulate defines an inertial frame of reference.
The special principle of relativity states that physical laws should be the same in every inertial frame of reference, but that they may vary across non-inertial ones. This principle is used in both Newtonian mechanics and the theory of special relativity.

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Equivalence principle

In the theory of general relativity, the equivalence principle is the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass, and Albert Einstein's observation that the gravitational "force" as experienced locally while standing on a massive body (such as the Earth) is the same as the pseudo-force experienced by an observer in a non-inertial (accelerated) frame of reference. History of gravitational theory Something like the equivalence principle emerged in the early 17th century, when Galileo expressed experimentally that the acceleration of a test mass due to gravitation is independent of the amount of mass being accelerated.

Fictitious force

A fictitious force is a force that appears to act on a mass whose motion is described using a non-inertial frame of reference, such as a linearly accelerating or rotating reference frame. It is related to Newton's second law of motion, which treats forces for just one object. Passengers in a vehicle accelerating in the forward direction may perceive they are acted upon by a force moving them into the direction of the backrest of their seats for instance.

Invariant (physics)

In theoretical physics, an invariant is an observable of a physical system which remains unchanged under some transformation. Invariance, as a broader term, also applies to the no change of form of physical laws under a transformation, and is closer in scope to the mathematical definition. Invariants of a system are deeply tied to the symmetries imposed by its environment. Invariance is an important concept in modern theoretical physics, and many theories are expressed in terms of their symmetries and invariants.

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