Relativity in Rotating Frames
Relativistic Physics in Rotating Reference Frames
Editors: Rizzi, Guido, Ruggiero, Matteo Luca (Eds.)
Buy this book
 About this book

Even if the subject is a longstanding one, this is the first monograph on this field. On the one hand, this book is intended to give a rather wide review on this field, both in a historical and pedagogical perspective; on the other hand, it aims at critically reexamining and discussing the most controversial issues. For instance, according to some authors the celebrated Sagnac effect is a disproval of the theory of relativity applied to rotating frames; according to others, it is an astonishing experimental evidence of the relativistic theory. In order to give the reader a deeper insight into this research field, the contributing authors discuss their opinions on the main subjects in an enthralling virtual round table: in this way, the reader can get a direct comparison of the various viewpoints on the most controversial and interesting topics. This is particularly expedient, since the differences in the various approaches are often based upon subtleties that can be understood only by a direct comparison of the underlying hypotheses.
 Reviews

Foundations of Physics, Vol. 34, No. 8, August 2004 (© 2004)
Book Review
Relativity in Rotating Frames. Relativistic Physics in Rotating Reference
Frames. Edited by G.Rizzi and M.L.Ruggiero, (Fundamental Theories of
Physics 135), 452 pp., $193.00. ISBN 1402018053.
Soon after Einstein’s destruction of absolute simultaneity and Minkowski’s formulation of special relativity, the problem of the relativistic description of extended bodies in rotating reference frames led to Ehrenfest’s paradox with the subsequent Einstein’s answer and to an endless still on going debate about the instantaneous space and the geometry of a rotating disk and the associated Sagnac effect.
As emphasized by Stachel in the Preface of this book, edited by G.Rizzi and M.L.Ruggiero and composed of invited contributions, from both "traditionalists" and "heretics", the existence of a structural difference between translations and rotations goes back to Aristotle. Only with Newton translations with constant velocity where privileged with respect to other types of motion through the introduction of the notion of inertial reference frame and the law of inertia. This notion survived in Einstein’s formulation of special relativity, but at the price of loosing the concept of instantaneous threespace: only the notion of being spacelike with respect to an observer is well de.ned. Since a relativistic, either inertial or no inertial, observer has no "absolute present", the description of extended objects becomes a nontrivial problem. Given only the postulates of special relativity, namely the constancy and isotropy of the roundtrip velocity of light involving only one observer and one clock, there is no unique de.nition of synchronization of clocks, of oneway velocity of light and of spatial distance in an instantaneous threespace. We must make some convention, for instance Einstein’s convention of simultaneity in inertial frames implying an isotropic oneway velocity of light and "equal time" hyperplanes, regarding one of these notions to have the other two de.ned.
1281
00159018/04/08001281/0 © 2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation
1282 Book Review
As a consequence, since in noninertial frames no convention, globally valid like Einstein’s one in inertial frames, is known, different conventions lead to different viewpoints especially in connection with noninertial uniformly rotating frames and to the necessity of a still lacking interpretation of their equivalence.
This so deeply nonNewtonian framework explains why extended objects like the uniformly rotating disk, which presents no conceptual difficulty at the Newtonian level, give rise to a so controversial and nonunique picture at the relativistic level. Grøn’s historical contribution shows how many, often contradictory, viewpoints have been developed in 90 years.
This book is really welcome because it gives a snapshot of the existing spectrum of interpretations regarding rotating coordinate systems (Dieks, Bel, Nikolic, de Felice), the locality hypothesis (Mashhoon), inertial forces (Bini, Jantzen), the anisotropy of the velocity of light in rotating frames and the Sagnac effect (Klauber, Selleri, Sera.ni, Rizzi, Ruggiero, Weber, Sorge, PascualSanchez, Vicente), what is the "space of a rotating disk" and how to de.ne length measurements in rotating frames (Rizzi, Ruggiero,
Tartaglia, Grøn, Klauber, Nikolic), quantum mechanics in rotating frames and the gravitational .eld (Papini, Anandan, Suzuki). Only Mach’s principle is absent!
The absence of agreement among the various interpretations, nicely made explicit through six virtual dialogues at the end of the book, is made more acute by the contributions of Rizzi and Sera.ni on the freedom in the choice of the notion of simultaneity in rotating frames and of Ashby on the relevance of the Sagnac effect in the Global Positioning System especially after the developments of modern technology oriented to space navigation and requiring the synchronization of the now existing ultraprecise atomic clocks till the order 1/c3.
In conclusion, it is hoped that this book will be a stimulus to start a fresh search of the missing elements to arrive at a relativistic description of extended objects in arbitrary noninertial frames. Such a description should include Maxwell equations and should lead to a wellposed Cauchy problem allowing us to get control on the energy balance of every physical system in a noninertial reference frame.
Luca Lusanna
Firenze, Italy
Recommended for you
Bibliographic Information
 Bibliographic Information

 Book Title
 Relativity in Rotating Frames
 Book Subtitle
 Relativistic Physics in Rotating Reference Frames
 Editors

 Guido Rizzi
 Matteo Luca Ruggiero
 Series Title
 Fundamental Theories of Physics
 Series Volume
 135
 Copyright
 2004
 Publisher
 Springer Netherlands
 Copyright Holder
 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
 eBook ISBN
 9789401705288
 DOI
 10.1007/9789401705288
 Hardcover ISBN
 9781402018053
 Softcover ISBN
 9789048165148
 Series ISSN
 01681222
 Edition Number
 1
 Number of Pages
 XXIII, 456
 Number of Illustrations and Tables
 27 b/w illustrations
 Topics