Full Text of Emails with Professor Warren Siegel (Nov 25 – Dec 2, 2015).  

Professor Siegel was replying to this email which was sent in Nov 2015 to those teaching Special Relativity and to others.

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Wednesday, November 25
Subject: Re: Two Mistakes in your Lectures on Special Relativity

 

Maybe you have used too weak a definition of special relativity.

One that is sufficient for most purposes is that the only observer-independent quantity relating 2 spacetime events in terms of position & time, due to Minkowski, is

 

c²(t-t')² - (x-x')² - (y-y')² - (z-z')²

 

Lorentz transformations leave this quantity invariant, but are a less useful way to state this result.

 

I see nothing in your theory that requires something as difficult & inaccurate to observe as quasars to test it.

In fact, the theory of quasars requires understanding of astrophysics & cosmology, theories that are much less well verified than special relativity, so those theories would be modified well before special relativity.

You might as well say that because your car broke down a year before you expected it to that Newton's laws are invalid.

Special relativity has been proven in the extreme situations of particle accelerators, where massive particles travel @ close to the speed of light, & behave similarly to light under even those conditions.

Special relativity has been verified to 12 decimal places by measurement of the anomalous magnetic moment.

This is the most accurate verified prediction in all of science.

It requires Lorentz invariance for both light & massive particles.

In that light, it's hard to see how teaching Lorentz transformations could be "unethical".

If you want to throw out Lorentz invariance, you must replace it with something that still agrees to 12 decimal places.

 

 

From: Ashish Sirohi
To: Warren Siegel

Date: Thursday, November 26, 2015
Subject: Re: Two Mistakes in your Lectures on Special Relativity

 

 

You say: In that light, it's hard to see how teaching Lorentz transformations could be "unethical".

 

I never said the above, that is your version of what I said.

In my email I said: 

However, the Derivation of the Lorentz Transformations that you teach to students is based on unstated and incorrect assumptions. Given that attached counter-example to the derivation exists it would be unethical for you to continue to teach an incorrect derivation.

 

Can you plainly answer this question (without making your own version of the quesion): Does the paper give a counter-example to Einstein's derivation that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz transformations?

 

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Friday, November 27, 2015
Subject: Re: Two Mistakes in your Lectures on Special Relativity

 

Are you complaining about Einstein's derivation, or my (Minkowski's) derivation?


What do you call Einstein's 2 assumption's?

 

 

From: Ashish Sirohi
To: Warren Siegel

Date: Thursday, November 27, 2015
Subject: Re: Two Mistakes in your Lectures on Special Relativity

 

Both. Existence of a counter-example means that any derivation which shows that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz Transformations has to be wrong.

 

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Friday, November 27, 2015
Subject: Re: Two Mistakes in your Lectures on Special Relativity

 

Where did I use 2 postulates?  I used only 1.

It is trivial to show that proper time (the expression I wrote) is invariant under only Poincaré transformations, i.e., space time translations & Lorentz transformations (incl. rotations).

 

From: Ashish Sirohi
To: Warren Siegel

Date: Saturday, November 28, 2015
Subject: Re: Two Mistakes in your Lectures on Special Relativity

There are derivations out there that claim to show that just one postulate is enough to derive the Lorentz Transformations.

 

Existence of my counter-example means that any derivation which shows that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz Transformations has to be wrong.

I can re-state as below:

Existence of my counter-example means that any derivation which shows that Special Relativity's postulates (one postulate alone or both combined) necessarily lead to the Lorentz Transformations has to be wrong.

 

I am not sure what point you are trying to make and why it is relevant to whether I have a counterexample as explained above.

 

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Saturday, November 28, 2015

 

Please read what I wrote.

I wrote my 1 postulate, & I asked you what 2 postulates you assumed.

 

From: Ashish Sirohi
To: Warren Siegel

Date: Saturday, November 28, 2015
Saturday, November 28, 2015

You have to address my paper and tell me what is wrong with it. You (and Minskowski) are looking for transformations between coordinates. 

 

In general Einstein, Lorentz, Poincare, Minkowski, all start with this wrong conclusion: since speed=distance/time the only way speed of light would remain same when measured by different moving observers is if there existed formulas (coordinate transformations) by which distance and time measurements changed between the reference frames of these observers.

 

Please note from my paper.

 

p. 5

Thus, in our velocity-centric theory, these distance-time relations are not transformations from one set of coordinates to another.

 

p. 7

We emphasize again that, unlike relativity, we do not interpret these to be transformations between coordinates. The quantities represent distance travelled as measured by the observers and time for this travel.

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Saturday, November 28, 2015

 

No, I have no need to address your paper because it takes an obsolete approach to relativity.  You have to address my points because that is the approach that led to general relativity, so you need to understand it in any case.  Special relativity is not about just velocity.  Velocity is derived from coordinates.  Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position, so you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position.  In my statement of special relativity, Lorentz invariance is obvious.  And you have consistency avoided giving the "2 postulates" you claim relativity is based on, as is your entire proof.

 

From: Ashish Sirohi
To: Warren Siegel

Date: Sunday, November 29, 2015

You say: No, I have no need to address your paper because it takes an obsolete approach to relativity.  

Can you plainly answer this question regarding Einstein’s derivation which you now call "obsolete": Does my paper give a counter-example to Einstein's derivation that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz transformations?

 

You say: “Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position, so you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position.”

Does the first phrase of this statement, "Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position",  imply the second phrase "you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position." It does not. 

 

In fact starting with velocity is the deliberate approach of my paper. Why this approach? Because the second postulate is about the speed of light and my paper explains why light is seen at same speed by all observers (without deriving this from distance and time formulas).

 

You say: And you have consistency avoided giving the "2 postulates" you claim relativity is based on, as is your entire proof.”

I give those below. But let us see what you are avoiding addressing. Please address below which I repeat from my previous email. 

 

In general Einstein, Lorentz, Poincare, Minkowski, all start with this wrong conclusion: since speed=distance/time the only way speed of light would remain same when measured by different moving observers is if there existed formulas (coordinate transformations) by which distance and time measurements changed between the reference frames of these observers.

 

Please note from my paper.

p. 5

Thus, in our velocity-centric theory, these distance-time relations are not transformations from one set of coordinates to another.

p. 7

We emphasize again that, unlike relativity, we do not interpret these to be transformations between coordinates. The quantities represent distance travelled as measured by the observers and time for this travel.

 

You say: "You have to address my points because that is the approach that led to general relativity..." 

Minkowski reformulation of Special Relativity is based on same above “wrong conclusion". If Lorentz Transformations are not reality then there is no need to understand "in any case" what approach led to general relativity. 

 

 

The two postulates remain today as Einstein stated them in 1905, and this 1905 paper is cited in my paper.  From p. 5 of my paper "Reputable physics textbooks derive the Lorentz transformations, in a claimed mathematically rigorous manner, from the two postulates (assuming homogeneity and isotropy of space)."

 

Check a standard textbook, for example the textbook mentioned at this course-link at you university. http://skipper.physics.sunysb.edu/~joanna/Lectures/PHY-251-252/  

Special Relativity by A.P. French, p. 68

Postulate 1: All inertial frames are equivalent with respect to all laws of physics.

Postulate 2: The speed of light in empty space always has the same value c.

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Sunday, November 29, 2015

[Note that Siegel replies by inserting comments within the text I had written; I have put his comments in italics]

You say: No, I have no need to address your paper because it takes an obsolete approach to relativity.  

Can you plainly answer this question regarding Einstein’s derivation which you now call "obsolete": Does my paper give a counter-example to Einstein's derivation that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz transformations?

You say: “Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position, so you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position.”

Does the first phrase of this statement, "Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position",  imply the second phrase "you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position." It does not. 

 

Of course it does!

 Velocity is DEFINED in terms of space & time.

Do you know what a definition is?

 

In fact starting with velocity is the deliberate approach of my paper. Why this approach? Because the second postulate is about the speed of light and my paper explains why light is seen at same speed by all observers (without deriving this from distance and time formulas).

You say: And you have consistency avoided giving the "2 postulates" you claim relativity is based on, as is your entire proof.”

I give those below. But let us see what you are avoiding addressing. Please address below which I repeat from my previous email. 

In general Einstein, Lorentz, Poincare, Minkowski, all start with this wrong conclusion: since speed=distance/time the only way speed of light would remain same when measured by different moving observers is if there existed formulas (coordinate transformations) by which distance and time measurements changed between the reference frames of these observers.

 

No, Minkowski starts with the Minkowski metric.

All of special relativity follows from there.

 

Please note from my paper.

p. 5

Thus, in our velocity-centric theory, these distance-time relations are not transformations from one set of coordinates to another.

p. 7

We emphasize again that, unlike relativity, we do not interpret these to be transformations between coordinates. The quantities represent distance travelled as measured by the observers and time for this travel.

You say: "You have to address my points because that is the approach that led to general relativity..." 

Minkowski reformulation of Special Relativity is based on same above “wrong conclusion". If Lorentz Transformations are not reality then there is no need to understand "in any case" what approach led to general relativity. 

 

No, Minkowski's approach is based on the metric.

The need to understand is the basis of science.

 

The two postulates remain today as Einstein stated them in 1905, and this 1905 paper is cited in my paper.  From p. 5 of my paper "Reputable physics textbooks derive the Lorentz transformations, in a claimed mathematically rigorous manner, from the two postulates (assuming homogeneity and isotropy of space)."

 

Check a standard textbook, for example the textbook mentioned at this course-link at you university.http://skipper.physics.sunysb.edu/~joanna/Lectures/PHY-251-252/ 

Special Relativity by A.P. French, p. 68

Postulate 1: All inertial frames are equivalent with respect to all laws of physics.

Postulate 2: The speed of light in empty space always has the same value c.

 

I'll have to check the particular book you reference.

I don't know how you define "standard".

Certainly my textbook doesn't start there.

Those 2 postulates are insufficient to define special relativity as it is understood today.

E.g., conformal transformations, which include Lorentz transformations, also preserve those principles.

In fact, "postulate 1" is just a definition of inertial frames, so is irrelevant.

"Postulate 2" then only refers to invariance of vanishing proper time, not non-vanishing.

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Sunday, November 29, 2015

I take back what I said about postulate 1.

If inertial frames are defined to be @ constant velocity with respect to 1 another, then conformal transformations are restricted to Poincaré transformations, so the result is uniquely special relativity.

 

From: Ashish Sirohi
To: Warren Siegel

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I hope you will continue this discussion by replying soon. Thanks again for your time.

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

 

"Velocity" is defined as change in position per unit time:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velocity

Lorentz transformations are defined as transformations of space & time coordinates.
From a standard textbook, Landau & Lifschitz:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivations_of_the_Lorentz_transformations#Landau_.26_Lifshitz_solution

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2015

[Note that Siegel replies by inserting comments within the text I had written; I have put his comments in italics]

You say: No, I have no need to address your paper because it takes an obsolete approach to relativity.  

Can you plainly answer this question regarding Einstein’s derivation which you now call "obsolete": Does my paper give a counter-example to Einstein's derivation that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz transformations?

You say: “Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position, so you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position.”

Does the first phrase of this statement, "Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position",  imply the second phrase "you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position." It does not. 

In fact starting with velocity is the deliberate approach of my paper. Why this approach? Because the second postulate is about the speed of light and my paper explains why light is seen at same speed by all observers (without deriving this from distance and time formulas).

You say: And you have consistency avoided giving the "2 postulates" you claim relativity is based on, as is your entire proof.”

I give those below. But let us see what you are avoiding addressing. Please address below which I repeat from my previous email. 

 

In general Einstein, Lorentz, Poincare, Minkowski, all start with this wrong conclusion: since speed=distance/time the only way speed of light would remain same when measured by different moving observers is if there existed formulas (coordinate transformations) by which distance and time measurements changed between the reference frames of these observers.

Please note from my paper.

p. 5

Thus, in our velocity-centric theory, these distance-time relations are not transformations from one set of coordinates to another.

p. 7

We emphasize again that, unlike relativity, we do not interpret these to be transformations between coordinates. The quantities represent distance travelled as measured by the observers and time for this travel.

 

You say: "You have to address my points because that is the approach that led to general relativity..." 

Minkowski reformulation of Special Relativity is based on same above “wrong conclusion". If Lorentz Transformations are not reality then there is no need to understand "in any case" what approach led to general relativity. 

 

Because special & general relativity both agree with experiment, so it's important to understand them.

The two postulates remain today as Einstein stated them in 1905, and this 1905 paper is cited in my paper.  From p. 5 of my paper "Reputable physics textbooks derive the Lorentz transformations, in a claimed mathematically rigorous manner, from the two postulates (assuming homogeneity and isotropy of space)."

Check a standard textbook, for example the textbook mentioned at this course-link at you university. http://skipper.physics.sunysb.edu/~joanna/Lectures/PHY-251-252/ 

Special Relativity by A.P. French, p. 68

Postulate 1: All inertial frames are equivalent with respect to all laws of physics.

Postulate 2: The speed of light in empty space always has the same value c.

 

From: Warren Siegel
To: Ashish Sirohi

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2015

 

You say: No, I have no need to address your paper because it takes an obsolete approach to relativity.  

Can you plainly answer this question regarding Einstein’s derivation which you now call "obsolete": Does my paper give a counter-example to Einstein's derivation that Special Relativity's two postulates necessarily lead to the Lorentz transformations?

 

You say: “Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position, so you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position.”

Does the first phrase of this statement, "Velocity is the time derivative of spatial position",  imply the second phrase "you can't even discuss velocity without first discussing space and time position." It does not. 

 

In fact starting with velocity is the deliberate approach of my paper. Why this approach? Because the second postulate is about the speed of light and my paper explains why light is seen at same speed by all observers (without deriving this from distance and time formulas).

 

You say: And you have consistency avoided giving the "2 postulates" you claim relativity is based on, as is your entire proof.”

I give those below. But let us see what you are avoiding addressing. Please address below which I repeat from my previous email. 

 

In general Einstein, Lorentz, Poincare, Minkowski, all start with this wrong conclusion: since speed=distance/time the only way speed of light would remain same when measured by different moving observers is if there existed formulas (coordinate transformations) by which distance and time measurements changed between the reference frames of these observers.

 

Please note from my paper.

p. 5

Thus, in our velocity-centric theory, these distance-time relations are not transformations from one set of coordinates to another.

p. 7

We emphasize again that, unlike relativity, we do not interpret these to be transformations between coordinates. The quantities represent distance travelled as measured by the observers and time for this travel.

 

They transform in exactly the same way under Lorentz transformations.

So you don't gain anything by using 1 in place of the other.

 

You say: "You have to address my points because that is the approach that led to general relativity..." 

Minkowski reformulation of Special Relativity is based on same above “wrong conclusion". If Lorentz Transformations are not reality then there is no need to understand "in any case" what approach led to general relativity. 

 

The two postulates remain today as Einstein stated them in 1905, and this 1905 paper is cited in my paper.  From p. 5 of my paper "Reputable physics textbooks derive the Lorentz transformations, in a claimed mathematically rigorous manner, from the two postulates (assuming homogeneity and isotropy of space)."

 

Check a standard textbook, for example the textbook mentioned at this course-link at you university.http://skipper.physics.sunysb.edu/~joanna/Lectures/PHY-251-252/ 

Special Relativity by A.P. French, p. 68

Postulate 1: All inertial frames are equivalent with respect to all laws of physics.

Postulate 2: The speed of light in empty space always has the same value c.