Translation:The Lorentz-Einstein transformation and the universal time of Ed. Guillaume

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The Lorentz-Einstein transformation and the universal time of Ed. Guillaume  (1921) 
by Dmitry Mirimanoff, translated from French by Wikisource
In French: La transformation de Lorentz-Einstein et le temps universel de M. Ed. Guillaume, Archives des sciences physiques et naturelles (supplement) (5) 3: 46–48, Scans

Session of 17 March 1921.

D. Mirimanoff. – The Lorentz-Einstein transformation and the universal time of Ed. Guillaume.

In a series of communications and articles, Ed. Guillaume sought to introduce a mono-parametric representation of time in the theory of relativity. He succeeded in giving to this problem an interesting solution, in the case where the number of reference systems is equal to two. This solution involves, as we know, a simple geometric interpretation.

I'd like to propose to give a new interpretation. I'll show that the -parameter of Guillaume only differs by a constant factor of time of a particular Einstein system which I call median system.[1] Each pair of reference systems correspond to a median system and a -parameter of Guillaume. Then one realizes better why the procedure of Guillaume is no longer successful if the number of reference systems is greater than two. Indeed, for , the number of reference systems and consequently of parameters is greater than one, and these parameters are generally distinct.


1. Median system. and are two Einstein reference systems, animated to move uniformly with respect to one another along axes . I assume that the Lorentz-Einstein transformation is applicable to these systems and therefore coordinates and times are linked by the relations

(1)

[ 47 ] where , , is the velocity of with respect to .

Now a third system parallel to , also conducts a motion of translation along . Let be the velocity with respect to . The Lorentz transformation still applies

(2)

where is the abscissa and the corresponding time in , , etc.

We assume that the velocity of relative to is also . I would say that is the corresponding median system. How can we express , , as functions of , , ? In order to find it, it is sufficient to express , as functions of parameters , (form. (2)) and the latter as functions of , and identify the resulting formulas with (1), which gives

(3)


2. Contraction. Consider two points and . Let ; be their coordinates in , , and at the same moment (Einstein time of the median system). By virtue of (2)

Therefore

(4)

So there is no contraction, provided that and are considered at the same moment .

The converse is true, in other words: If the contraction does not take place by adopting time of an Einstein system, this system is the median system.

3. Another relation. Let P be a point of the abscissas and in and . There, by replacing parameter by its expression as function of and in the first formula (1), it is given

[ 48 ]

(5)

by virtue of (3).


4. The universal time of Guillaume. Let be an arbitrary function of . As is const., is constant. Suppose and put . If we adopt time instead of Einstein time , simultaneity is not altered. Equality (4) remains true, therefore no contraction, equality (5) is written . In particular we assume that , where . Equation (5) is written

(6)

Multiplication of the second equation of the second group (2) by , gives in virtue of (3):

We come, as seen, to the equation that defines the universal time of Guillaume [2]. Therefore the time defined by is the parameter of Guillaume. It only differs from time of the median system by the constant factor .


5. Case of three systems. Imagine three systems conducting a uniform translatory movement parallel to the axes of . Let be the relative velocity of with respect to , of with respect , of with respect , and the parameters of Guillaume. Then we have in virtue of (6)

for example, the abscissa of is given by , that of by . Parameters should not be confused with each other.


  1. This term was suggested to me by Plancherel.
  2. Guillaume, Ed. La théorie de la relativité en fonction du temps universel, Arch. Sc. phys. et nat. (4), 46, p. 809.