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1. The quality or state of being relative.
2. A state of dependence in which the existence or significance of one entity is solely dependent on that of another.
a. Special relativity.
b. General relativity.
1. (General Physics) either of two theories developed by Albert Einstein, the special theory of relativity, which requires that the laws of physics shall be the same as seen by any two different observers in uniform relative motion, and the general theory of relativity which considers observers with relative acceleration and leads to a theory of gravitation
2. (Philosophy) philosophy dependence upon some variable factor such as the psychological, social, or environmental context. See relativism
3. the state or quality of being relative
rel•a•tiv•i•ty(ˌrɛl əˈtɪv ɪ ti)
1. the state or fact of being relative.
a. Also called special relativity. the first part of Einstein's two-part theory, based on the axioms that physical laws have the same form throughout the universe and that the velocity of light in a vacuum is a universal constant, from which is derived the mass-energy equation, E = mc2.
b. Also called general relativity. the second part, a theory of gravitation based on the axiom that the local effects of a gravitational field and of the acceleration of an inertial system are identical.
3. dependence of a mental state upon the nature of the human mind.
The two-part theory of physical laws developed by Albert Einstein. The first part, called the theory of special relativity, states that the laws of physics apply equally to any body or system of bodies having unchanging motion, and that the speed of light is always constant. The second part, the theory of general relativity, extends the first part to bodies in accelerated motion, such as bodies in gravitational fields. Among the many consequences of the theory are that measurements of speed and time depend on the motion of the observer, that mass and energy are equivalent, and that time and space form a continuum called space-time. See Notes at acceleration, Einstein, gravity, space-time.
Did You Know? Developed as part of the theory of special relativity, Einstein's formula E = mc2 expresses the equivalence of energy and mass. Energy (E) equals mass (m) multiplied by the square of the speed of light (c). Since the speed of light is a large number (186,000 miles per second), the formula shows that even small amounts of mass contain enormous amounts of energy. A mass weighing one-thirtieth of a milligram, if converted into energy, would equal the heat and light put out by a 100-watt light bulb over an entire year! This energy is stored in the mass itself and in the energy that holds it together, such as the energy that keeps the protons and neutrons together in the atomic nucleus. Einstein's formula opened the way to the discovery of nuclear energy, the energy that is released when atomic nuclei break apart or fuse together.
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|Noun||1.||relativity - (physics) the theory that space and time are relative concepts rather than absolute concepts|
scientific theory - a theory that explains scientific observations; "scientific theories must be falsifiable"
natural philosophy, physics - the science of matter and energy and their interactions; "his favorite subject was physics"
Einstein's general theory of relativity, general relativity, general relativity theory, general theory of relativity - a generalization of special relativity to include gravity (based on the principle of equivalence)
Einstein's special theory of relativity, special relativity, special relativity theory, special theory of relativity - a physical theory of relativity based on the assumption that the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant and the assumption that the laws of physics are invariant in all inertial systems
event - a phenomenon located at a single point in space-time; the fundamental observational entity in relativity theory
|2.||relativity - the quality of being relative and having significance only in relation to something else|
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare