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Minkowski Space-time and Thermodynamics

Weinert, Friedel (2008) Minkowski Space-time and Thermodynamics. [Preprint]


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The purpose of this paper is twofold: a) to explore the compatibility of Minkowski’s space-time representation of the Special theory of relativity with a dynamic conception of space-time; b) to locate its roots in invariant features - like entropic relations - of the propagation of signals in space-time. From its very beginning Minkowski’s four-dimensional space-time was associated with a static view of reality, e.g. a block universe. Einstein added his influential voice to this conception when he wrote: ‘From a “happening” in three-dimensional space, physics becomes (…) an “existence” in the four-dimensional “world”.’ (Einstein, Relativity 1920, 122) Yet it is by no means clear that Minkowski himself was a believer in the block universe. In his 1908 Cologne lecture on ‘Space and Time’ he speaks of a four-dimensional physics but concedes that a ‘necessary’ time order can be established at every world point. Although the conception of the block universe has gained much currency, an alternative view has been in circulation since the 1910s according to which the trajectories of particles constitute histories in space-time. (Robb 1914, Cunningham 1915, Carathéodorys 1924, Schlick 1917, Reichenbach 1924)

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Item Type: Preprint
Weinert, Friedel
Keywords: Special theory of relativity, Thermodynamics, entropy, invariance
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Friedel Weinert
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:17
Item ID: 4278

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