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Q & A: Lorentz transform

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Most recent answer: 06/14/2009
Q:
Does the Lorentz transform only apply to X and X'? Or does it affect Y' and Z' in the same way? Or is it possible to always shift perspective so that motion always occurs relative to the X axis removing the need to make any changes to Y' and Z'?
- Lance (age 18)
College Park, MD
A:
It is always possible, though not always convenient, to pick the X axis along the direction of relative motion. Assuming you have done that, the transform gives exceedingly simple rules for Y and Z: Y'=Y, Z'=Z. There are some simple fundamental, non-mathematical arguments to show that these coordinates at right angles to the relative motion are the same in both frames.

Mike W.

(published on 06/14/2009)

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