Relativistic Analogue Hidden in Projectile Motion

Jae Hoon Lim, Dong Won Jung, U. Rae Kim, Sungwoong Cho, Jungil Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a four-vector analogue Uμ ≡ (U0, U) = (|V′|, V) that can be directly constructed from the velocity of a projectile. Here, V and V′ are the velocities of a projectile at heights h + H and h, respectively. In the non-relativistic regime, the mathematical structure of this four-vector analogue has an exact correspondence to the relativistic counterpart four-velocity uμ = γ(1, β)c of a massive particle. Based on this observation, we illustrate the design of an introductory laboratory experiment to investigate the Lorentz invariance and its covariant nature by measuring the velocity of a projectile. The experiment may help students to acquire a concrete perspective of Lorentz covariance through their own measurements and analyses of a free-fall motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-629
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Korean Physical Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1


  • Four-velocity
  • Free falling
  • Lorentz transformation
  • Special relativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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