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The shortening of an object along its direction of motion as its speed approaches the speed of light, as measured by an observer at rest with respect to the object. Also called length contraction, Lorentz contraction.
[After Hendrik Lorentz and George Francis FitzGerald (1851-1901), Irish physicist.]
(General Physics) the supposed contraction of a body in the direction of its motion through the ether, postulated to explain the result of the Michelson-Morley experiment. The special theory of relativity denies that any such real change can occur in a body as a result of uniform motion but shows that an observer moving with respect to the body will determine an apparent change given by a formula similar to that of Lorentz and Fitzgerald
[C20: named after H. A. Lorentz and G. F. Fitzgerald (1851–1901), Irish physicist]