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By Ian J. R. Aitchison

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As we will see, since the second postulate implies that nothing travels faster than the speed of light, it will in turn imply that the transmission of all forms of information cannot travel faster than light. Unlike a Newtonian universe (in which an infinite speed of information transmission is possible in principle), finite transmission speeds in a relativistic universe force us to abandon a notion of universal simultaneity. 2 Length Contraction This phenomenon refers to the fact that an object at rest in S is shortened with respect to S.

It could have been otherwise, in which case it is hard to imagine how a coherent physical description of the universe would be possible. Just imagine trying to construct a theory with 1080 different kinds of particles, each of which had its own distinct properties! Of course the existence of these 38 elementary types is our state of knowledge at the present time, and we now know that it is almost certainly incomplete. e. the matter that makes up the elements in the periodic table). Another 23% of the this energy budget is dark matter, whose presence is known to us only by the gravitational attraction it exerts on galaxies and clusters of galaxies [6].

Likewise, a weak interaction has the effect of changing a particle of one flavor (for example an electron) into another flavor (its corresponding neutrino). So in this sense flavor is to weak what electric-charge is to electromagnetism and what color is to strong (and what mass is to gravity). Note that flavor is the property by which we distinguish different types (or species) or particles. This is often the source of some confusion when one first tries to learn about the weak force, and so I have deferred the discussion of weak interactions to appear in Chapter 20 after the electromagnetic and strong forces in order that you can become more comfortable with a number of other concepts first.

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