The Experiment of Fizeau as a Test of Relativistic Simultaneity

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Scientific Paper
Title The Experiment of Fizeau as a Test of Relativistic Simultaneity
Author(s) Curtis E Renshaw
Keywords Doppler effect, Fizeau experiment, relative simultaneity, special relativity
Published 2008
Journal Electric Spacecraft Journal
Number 44
Pages 30-33


Special relativity (SRT) was born on the basis of a Gedanken experiment involving the relative simultaneity of distant events as perceived by observers with different inertial velocities. It is this assumed aspect of special relativity that is most troubling to one?s intuition, accustomed as we are to living in a world of absolute, not relative, simultaneity. Regardless of the adequacy of special relativity to present a true model of the nature of space and time, the theory at least presents a mathematical equivalence to most problems to which it is applied. Such tests include Doppler effects, clock retardation, and apparent mass increase with velocity. As such, further tests of these effects to ever greater precision are not likely to produce any new insights into the validity of special relativity. Surprisingly, however, an actual test of the most troubling aspect of SRT ? relative simultaneity ? has already been performed, and it demonstrates that relativistic simultaneity, in the form of the relativistic velocity addition formula, is correct (on author?s web site).