Clock hypothesis

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The clock hypothesis is an assumption in special relativity. It states that the rate of a clock doesn't depend on its acceleration but only on its instantaneous velocity. This is equivalent to stating, that a clock moving along a path measures the proper time, defined by:


The clock hypothesis was implicitly (but not explicitly) included in Einstein's original 1905 formulation of special relativity. Since then, it has become a standard assumption and is usually included in the axioms of special relativity, especially in the light of experimental verification up to very high accelerations in particle accelerators.

See also


  • S.R. Mainwaring, G.E. Stedman, Accelerated Clock Principles in Special Relativity. Physical Review A47 (1993) 3611–3619.
  • R. Anderson, I. Vetharaniam, G.E. Stedman, Conventionality of Synchronization, Gauge Dependence and Test Theories of Relativity., Physics Reports 295 (1998) 94–180.
  • A.M. Eisele, On the Behavior of an Accelerated Clock, Helvetica Physica Acta 60 (1987) 1024–1037.
  • P. Mittelstaedt, H. Heintzmann, Laws of Physics in Accelerated Reference Frames (German), in Springer Tracts in Modern Physics (G. Höhler, ed.) 47 (1968) 185-225.

External links