Lorentz contraction (lôr´ĕnts), in physics, contraction or foreshortening of a moving body in the direction of its motion, proposed by H. A. Lorentz on theoretical grounds and based on an earlier suggestion by G. F. Fitzgerald; it is sometimes called the Fitzgerald, or Lorentz-Fitzgerald, contraction. The Lorentz contraction hypothesis was put forward in an attempt to explain the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887 designed to demonstrate the earth's absolute motion through space (see ether; relativity). The hypothesis held that any material body is contracted in the direction of its motion by a factor 1-v2/c2, where v is the velocity of the body and c is the velocity of light. Although the Lorentz contraction did not succeed entirely in reconciling the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment with classical theory, it did serve as the basis for the mathematics of Einstein's theory of relativity. The equations used in relativity theory to change from a coordinate system, or frame of reference, in which the observer is at rest to a second system that is moving at constant velocity with respect to the first system are known as the Lorentz transformation. The Lorentz transformation will result in a stationary observer recording an effect equivalent to the Lorentz contraction when observing an object in uniform motion relative to his system of coordinates. Einstein showed, however, that this effect is due not to the actual deformation of the body in question, as Lorentz had originally supposed, but to a change in the way space and time are measured.
"Lorentz contraction." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lorentz-contraction
"Lorentz contraction." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved January 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lorentz-contraction
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.