Lorentz contraction, Bell’s spaceships and rigid body motion in special relativity

European Journal of Physics 31:291-298 (2010)
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The meaning of Lorentz contraction in special relativity and its connection with Bell’s spaceships parable is discussed. The motion of Bell’s spaceships is then compared with the accelerated motion of a rigid body. We have tried to write this in a simple form that could be used to correct students’ misconceptions due to conflicting earlier treatments.
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