relativity[rel′ə tiv′ə tē]
relativity definition by Webster's New World
- the condition, fact, or quality of being relative
- the close dependence of one occurrence, value, quality, etc. on another
- relativity of knowledge
- Physics the fact, principle, or theory of the relative, rather than absolute, character of motion, velocity, mass, etc., and the interdependence of matter, time, and space: as developed and mathematically formulated by Albert Einstein and H. A. Lorentz in the and by Einstein in the (an extension covering the phenomena of gravitation), the theory of relativity includes the statements that: 1) there is no observable absolute motion, only relative motion2) the velocity of light is constant and not dependent on the motion of the source3) no energy can be transmitted at a velocity greater than that of light4) the mass of a body in motion is a function of the energy content and varies with the velocity5) matter and energy are equivalent6) time is relative7) space and time are interdependent and form a four-dimensional continuum8) the presence of matter results in a “warping” of the space-time continuum, so that a body in motion passing nearby will describe a curve, this being the effect known as gravitation, as evidenced by the deflection of light rays passing through a gravitational field
relativity definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The quality or state of being relative.
- A state of dependence in which the existence or significance of one entity is solely dependent on that of another.
- Physics a. Special relativity.b. General relativity.
relativity - Cultural Definition
A theory concerning time, space, and the motion of objects, proposed first in 1905 by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity.
The “special theory of relativity” is based on the principle of special relativity, which states that all observers moving at constant velocities with respect to each other should find the same laws of nature operating in their frames of reference. It follows from this principle that the speed of light would have to appear to be the same to every observer. The theory predicts that moving clocks will appear to run slower than stationary ones (see time dilation), that moving objects will appear shorter and heavier than stationary ones, and that energy and mass are equivalent (see E = mc2). There is abundant experimental confirmation of these predictions.
The general theory of relativity is the modern theory of gravitation, proposed in 1915, also by Albert Einstein. The central point of the theory is the principle of general relativity, which states that all observers, regardless of their state of motion, will see the same laws of physics operating in the universe. The most famous prediction of the theory is that light rays passing near the sun will be bent — a prediction that has been well verified.
- The special and general theories of relativity have had important implications for thought in general. They show that no frame of reference for observation of nature is more correct than any other.
- It is important to distinguish between the theory of relativity, in which the laws of nature are the same for all observers anywhere in the universe, and the philosophical doctrine of relativism, which holds that there are no absolute truths. The similarity in their names has been a source of confusion.
relativity - Science Definition
- relativistic relativistic adjective