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Old Apr 13th 2014, 12:52 PM   #1
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No gravity in special relativity

Hello,

I've been looking for some solid treatment of why special relativity doesn't work with gravity. However, I was unable to find any literature regarding this topic. I know that STR deals with inertial frames and in GTR it is possible (under certain circumstances) to work in a local inertial system, although I remember from school there are certain reasons why STR doesn't work with gravity. Speaking about STR alone, I was thinking about gravitational force somehow going against the relativity principle but I would like to make my ideas concrete with the help of literature. Would you happen to know any book that treats this topic or could you point my line of thought in the right direction?

Thank you for your time.
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Old Apr 13th 2014, 04:19 PM   #2
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The issue is that special relativity deals only with inertial frames, meaning no acceleration allowed, and by extension no gravity.

For a good intro to relativity - both special relativity (SR) and general relativity (GR) - try "A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Notes Towards a Very Gentle Introduction to the Mathematics of Relativity," by Peter Collier. He really takes you from scratch - Newton's Laws - so if you have a reasonable background in undergrad physics you can skip much of the first chapter or two. But in short order he's into 4-dimesional tensors and enough deep mathematics to give you some understanding. You can skip the mathematics if you want and still get something from the book. You won't be an expert just from reading this book, but you'll get a good grounding in some of the concepts - how gravity shapes space-time, how time dilation differs between SR and GR, etc. I got it for my Kindle from Amazon - very reasonably priced.

Last edited by ChipB; Apr 22nd 2014 at 03:11 PM.
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Old Apr 30th 2014, 11:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by luinthoron View Post
Hello,

I've been looking for some solid treatment of why special relativity doesn't work with gravity.
The simple answer is that SR is the name we give to the part of relativity that doesn't deal with gravity. So it doesn't treat gravity by definition.

But honestly, special relativity deals with inertial frames. A non-inertial frame is equivalent to a gravitational field. Simple, huh?
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