*Louis A. Girifalco*

- Published in print:
- 2007
- Published Online:
- January 2008
- ISBN:
- 9780199228966
- eISBN:
- 9780191711183
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228966.003.0014
- Subject:
- Physics, History of Physics

Events take place in space and time. A fundamental fact is that between any two points, another point can be found and between any two moments, there is always anther moment. There are no gaps in ...
More

Events take place in space and time. A fundamental fact is that between any two points, another point can be found and between any two moments, there is always anther moment. There are no gaps in space or time, and each is therefore said to form a continuum. Einstein showed that time and space are inextricably mixed. Each event requires three space dimensions and a time for its description, so time and space taken together are said to form the space-time continuum. It has four ‘dimensions’: three for space and one for time. The formulation of relativity is greatly simplified by Minkowski's mathematical treatment of physical events as happening in the four dimensional space-time continuum. This is the origin of calling time the ‘fourth dimension’.Less

Events take place in space and time. A fundamental fact is that between any two points, another point can be found and between any two moments, there is always anther moment. There are no gaps in space or time, and each is therefore said to form a continuum. Einstein showed that time and space are inextricably mixed. Each event requires three space dimensions and a time for its description, so time and space taken together are said to form the space-time continuum. It has four ‘dimensions’: three for space and one for time. The formulation of relativity is greatly simplified by Minkowski's mathematical treatment of physical events as happening in the four dimensional space-time continuum. This is the origin of calling time the ‘fourth dimension’.

*Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan*

- Published in print:
- 2018
- Published Online:
- October 2018
- ISBN:
- 9780198786399
- eISBN:
- 9780191828669
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.003.0019
- Subject:
- Physics, Particle Physics / Astrophysics / Cosmology

This chapter presents the main features of the Minkowski spacetime, which is the geometrical framework in which the laws of relativistic dynamics are formulated. It is a very simple mathematical ...
More

This chapter presents the main features of the Minkowski spacetime, which is the geometrical framework in which the laws of relativistic dynamics are formulated. It is a very simple mathematical extension of three-dimensional Euclidean space. In special relativity, ‘relative, apparent, and common’ (in the words of Newton) space and time are represented by a mathematical set of points called events, which constitute the Minkowski spacetime. This chapter also stresses the interpretation of the fourth dimension, which in special relativity is time. Here, time now loses the ‘universal’ and ‘absolute’ nature that it had in the Newtonian theory.Less

This chapter presents the main features of the Minkowski spacetime, which is the geometrical framework in which the laws of relativistic dynamics are formulated. It is a very simple mathematical extension of three-dimensional Euclidean space. In special relativity, ‘relative, apparent, and common’ (in the words of Newton) space and time are represented by a mathematical set of points called events, which constitute the Minkowski spacetime. This chapter also stresses the interpretation of the fourth dimension, which in special relativity is time. Here, time now loses the ‘universal’ and ‘absolute’ nature that it had in the Newtonian theory.