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How Special Relativity Determines the Signs of the Nonrelativistic, Coulomb and Newtonian, Forces

Deser, S. (2005) How Special Relativity Determines the Signs of the Nonrelativistic, Coulomb and Newtonian, Forces. American Journal of Physics, 73 (8). pp. 752-755. ISSN 0002-9505. doi:10.1119/1.1898503.

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We show that the empirical signs of the fundamental static Coulomb/Newton forces are dictated by the seemingly unrelated requirement that the photons/gravitons in the respective underlying Maxwell/Einstein physics be stable. This linkage, which is imposed by special relativity, is manifested upon decomposing the corresponding fields and sources in a gauge-invariant way, and without appeal to static limits. The signs of these free field excitation energies determine those of the instantaneous forces between sources; opposite Coulomb/Newton signs are direct consequences of the Maxwell/Einstein free excitations’ odd/even spins.

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Deser, S.0000-0001-9285-9434
Additional Information:© 2005 American Association of Physics Teachers. Received 4 November 2004; accepted 25 February 2005. I thank F. Ravndal for insisting on the pedagogical interest of this ancient lore (updated to include form fields), and J. Franklin for comments. This research was supported by NSF Grant No PHY04-01667.
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Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170123-134618105
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Official Citation:How special relativity determines the signs of the nonrelativistic Coulomb and Newtonian forces S. Deser American Journal of Physics 73, 752 (2005);
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:73625
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 Jan 2017 20:43
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:19

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