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Using Tangent Boost along a Worldline and Its Associated Matrix in the Lie Algebra of the Lorentz Group

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Document pages: 24 pages

Abstract: In order to generalize the relativistic notion of boost to the case of non inertial particles and to general relativity, we look closer into the definition of the Lie group of Lorentz matrices and its Lie algebra and we study how this group acts on the Minskowski space. We thus define the notion of tangent boost along a worldline. This very general notion gives a useful tool both in special relativity (for non inertial particles or and for non rectilinear coordinates) and in general relativity. We also introduce a matrix of the Lie algebra which, together with the tangent boost, gives the whole dynamical description of the considered system (acceleration and Thomas rotation). After studying the properties of Lie algebra matrices and their reduced forms, we show that the Lie group of special Lorentz matrices has four one-parameter subgroups. These tools lead us to introduce the Thomas rotation in a quite general way. At the end of the paper, we present some examples using these tools and we consider the case of an electron rotating on a circular orbit around an atom nucleus. We then discuss the twin paradox and we show that when the one who made a journey into space in a high-speed rocket returns home, he is not only younger than the twin who stayed on Earth but he is also disorientated because his gyroscope has turned with respect to earth referential frame.

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