Newtonian and special-relativistic predictions for the trajectories of a low-speed scattering system

Boon Leong Lan, Florentino Borondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Newtonian and special-relativistic predictions, based on the same model parameters and initial conditions for the trajectory of a low-speed scattering system are compared. When the scattering is chaotic, the two predictions for the trajectory can rapidly diverge completely, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively, due to an exponentially growing separation taking place in the scattering region. In contrast, when the scattering is nonchaotic, the breakdown of agreement between predictions takes a very long time, since the difference between the predictions grows only linearly. More importantly, in the case of low-speed chaotic scattering, the rapid loss of agreement between the Newtonian and special-relativistic trajectory predictions implies that special-relativistic mechanics must be used, instead of the standard practice of using Newtonian mechanics, to correctly describe the scattering dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 6
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review E
Volume83
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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