Relativistic dynamics

For classical dynamics at relativistic speeds, see relativistic mechanics.

Relativistic dynamics refers to a combination of relativistic and quantum concepts to describe the relationships between the motion and properties of a relativistic system and the forces acting on the system. What distinguishes relativistic dynamics from other physical theories is the use of an invariant scalar evolution parameter to monitor the historical evolution of space-time events. In a scale-invariant theory, the strength of particle interactions does not depend on the energy of the particles involved.[1] Twentieth century experiments showed that the physical description of microscopic and submicroscopic objects moving at or near the speed of light raised questions about such fundamental concepts as space, time, mass, and energy. The theoretical description of the physical phenomena required the integration of concepts from relativity and quantum theory.

Vladimir Fock [2] was the first to propose an evolution parameter theory for describing relativistic quantum phenomena, but the evolution parameter theory introduced by Ernst Stueckelberg [3][4] is more closely aligned with recent work.[5][6] Evolution parameter theories were used by Feynman,[7] Schwinger [8][9] and others to formulate quantum field theory in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Silvan S. Schweber [10] wrote a nice historical exposition of Feynman’s investigation of such a theory. A resurgence of interest in evolution parameter theories began in the 1970s with the work of Horwitz and Piron,[11] and Fanchi and Collins.[12]

Invariant Evolution Parameter ConceptEdit

Some researchers view the evolution parameter as a mathematical artifact while others view the parameter as a physically measurable quantity. To understand the role of an evolution parameter and the fundamental difference between the standard theory and evolution parameter theories, it is necessary to review the concept of time.

Time t played the role of a monotonically increasing evolution parameter in classical Newtonian mechanics, as in the force law F = dP/dt for a non-relativistic, classical object with momentum P. To Newton, time was an “arrow” that parameterized the direction of evolution of a system.

Albert Einstein rejected the Newtonian concept and identified t as the fourth coordinate of a space-time four-vector. Einstein's view of time requires a physical equivalence between coordinate time and coordinate space. In this view, time should be a reversible coordinate in the same manner as space. Particles moving backward in time are often used to display antiparticles in Feynman-diagrams, but they are not thought of as really moving backward in time usually it is done to simplify notation. However a lot of people think they are really moving backward in time and take it as evidence for time reversibility.

The development of non-relativistic quantum mechanics in the early twentieth century preserved the Newtonian concept of time in the Schrödinger equation. The ability of non-relativistic quantum mechanics and special relativity to successfully describe observations motivated efforts to extend quantum concepts to the relativistic domain. Physicists had to decide what role time should play in relativistic quantum theory. The role of time was a key difference between Einsteinian and Newtonian views of classical theory. Two hypotheses that were consistent with special relativity were possible:

Hypothesis IEdit

Assume t = Einsteinian time and reject Newtonian time.

Hypothesis IIEdit

Introduce two temporal variables:

  • A coordinate time in the sense of Einstein
  • An invariant evolution parameter in the sense of Newton

Hypothesis I led to a relativistic probability conservation equation that is essentially a re-statement of the non-relativistic continuity equation. Time in the relativistic probability conservation equation is Einstein’s time and is a consequence of implicitly adopting Hypothesis I. By adopting Hypothesis I, the standard paradigm has at its foundation a temporal paradox: motion relative to a single temporal variable must be reversible even though the second law of thermodynamics establishes an “arrow of time” for evolving systems, including relativistic systems. Thus, even though Einstein’s time is reversible in the standard theory, the evolution of a system is not time reversal invariant. From the perspective of Hypothesis I, time must be both an irreversible arrow tied to entropy and a reversible coordinate in the Einsteinian sense.[13] The development of relativistic dynamics is motivated in part by the concern that Hypothesis I was too restrictive.

The problems associated with the standard formulation of relativistic quantum mechanics provide a clue to the validity of Hypothesis I. These problems included negative probabilities, hole theory, the Klein paradox, non-covariant expectation values, and so forth.[14][15][16] Most of these problems were never solved; they were avoided when quantum field theory (QFT) was adopted as the standard paradigm. The QFT perspective, particularly its formulation by Schwinger, is a subset of the more general Relativistic Dynamics.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Relativistic Dynamics is based on Hypothesis II and employs two temporal variables: a coordinate time, and an evolution parameter. The evolution parameter, or parameterized time, may be viewed as a physically measurable quantity, and a procedure has been presented for designing evolution parameter clocks.[23][24] By recognizing the existence of a distinct parameterized time and a distinct coordinate time, the conflict between a universal direction of time and a time that may proceed as readily from future to past as from past to future is resolved. The distinction between parameterized time and coordinate time removes ambiguities in the properties associated with the two temporal concepts in Relativistic Dynamics.


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See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Flego, Silvana; Plastino, Angelo; Plastino, Angel Ricardo (2011-12-20). "Information Theory Consequences of the Scale-Invariance of Schröedinger's Equation". Entropy. MDPI AG. 13 (12): 2049–2058. doi:10.3390/e13122049. ISSN 1099-4300.
  2. ^ Fock, V.A. (1937): Phys. Z. Sowjetunion 12, 404.
  3. ^ Stueckelberg, E.C.G. (1941): Helv. Phys. Acta 14, 322, 588.
  4. ^ Stueckelberg, E.C.G. (1942): Helv. Phys. Acta 14, 23.
  5. ^ Fanchi, J. R. (1993). "Review of invariant time formulations of relativistic quantum theories". Foundations of Physics. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 23 (3): 487–548. doi:10.1007/bf01883726. ISSN 0015-9018. S2CID 120073749.
  6. ^ Fanchi, J.R. (2003): “The Relativistic Quantum Potential and Non-Locality,” published in Horizons in World Physics, 240, Edited by Albert Reimer, (Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, New York), pp 117-159.
  7. ^ Feynman, R. P. (1950-11-01). "Mathematical Formulation of the Quantum Theory of Electromagnetic Interaction" (PDF). Physical Review. American Physical Society (APS). 80 (3): 440–457. doi:10.1103/physrev.80.440. ISSN 0031-899X.
  8. ^ Schwinger, Julian (1951-06-01). "On Gauge Invariance and Vacuum Polarization". Physical Review. American Physical Society (APS). 82 (5): 664–679. doi:10.1103/physrev.82.664. ISSN 0031-899X.
  9. ^ Schwinger, Julian (1951-06-15). "The Theory of Quantized Fields. I". Physical Review. American Physical Society (APS). 82 (6): 914–927. doi:10.1103/physrev.82.914. ISSN 0031-899X.
  10. ^ Schweber, Silvan S. (1986-04-01). "Feynman and the visualization of space-time processes". Reviews of Modern Physics. American Physical Society (APS). 58 (2): 449–508. doi:10.1103/revmodphys.58.449. ISSN 0034-6861.
  11. ^ Horwitz, L.P. and C. Piron (1973): Helv. Phys. Acta 46, 316.
  12. ^ Fanchi, John R.; Collins, R. Eugene (1978). "Quantum mechanics of relativistic spinless particles". Foundations of Physics. Springer Nature. 8 (11–12): 851–877. doi:10.1007/bf00715059. ISSN 0015-9018. S2CID 120601267.
  13. ^ Horwitz, L.P.; Shashoua, S.; Schieve, W.C. (1989). "A manifestly covariant relativistic Boltzmann equation for the evolution of a system of events". Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications. Elsevier BV. 161 (2): 300–338. doi:10.1016/0378-4371(89)90471-8. ISSN 0378-4371.
  14. ^ Fanchi, J.R. (1993): Parametrized Relativistic Quantum Theory (Kluwer, Dordrecht)
  15. ^ Weinberg, S. (1995): Quantum Theory of Fields, Volume I (Cambridge University Press, New York).
  16. ^ Prugovečki, Eduard (1994). "On foundational and geometric critical aspects of quantum electrodynamics". Foundations of Physics. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 24 (3): 335–362. doi:10.1007/bf02058096. ISSN 0015-9018. S2CID 121653916.
  17. ^ Fanchi, John R. (1979-12-15). "A generalized quantum field theory". Physical Review D. American Physical Society (APS). 20 (12): 3108–3119. doi:10.1103/physrevd.20.3108. ISSN 0556-2821.
  18. ^ Fanchi, J.R. (1993): Parametrized Relativistic Quantum Theory (Kluwer, Dordrecht)
  19. ^ Pavšič, Matej (1991). "On the interpretation of the relativistic quantum mechanics with invariant evolution parameter". Foundations of Physics. Springer Nature. 21 (9): 1005–1019. doi:10.1007/bf00733384. ISSN 0015-9018. S2CID 119436518.
  20. ^ Pavšič, M. (1991). "Relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum field theory with invariant evolution parameter". Il Nuovo Cimento A. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 104 (9): 1337–1354. doi:10.1007/bf02789576. ISSN 0369-3546. S2CID 122902647.
  21. ^ Pavšič, Matej (2001). "Clifford-Algebra Based Polydimensional Relativity and Relativistic Dynamics". Foundations of Physics. 31 (8): 1185–1209. arXiv:hep-th/0011216. doi:10.1023/a:1017599804103. ISSN 0015-9018. S2CID 117429211.
  22. ^ Pavsič, M. (2001): The Landscape of Theoretical Physics: A Global View (Kluwer, Dordrecht).
  23. ^ Fanchi, John R. (1986-09-01). "Parametrizing relativistic quantum mechanics". Physical Review A. American Physical Society (APS). 34 (3): 1677–1681. doi:10.1103/physreva.34.1677. ISSN 0556-2791. PMID 9897446.
  24. ^ Fanchi, J.R. (1993): Parametrized Relativistic Quantum Theory (Kluwer, Dordrecht)

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