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      On the Relativity of the Speed of Light


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          Einstein's assumption that the speed of light is constant is a fundamental principle of modern physics with great influence. However, the nature of the principle of constant speed of light is rarely described in detail in the relevant literatures, which leads to a deep misunderstanding among some readers of special relativity. Here we introduce the unitary principle, which has a wide application prospect in the logic self consistency test of mathematics, natural science and social science. Based on this, we propose the complete space-time transformation including the Lorentz transformation, clarify the definition of relative velocity of light and the conclusion that the relative velocity of light is variable, and further prove that the relative variable light speed is compatible with Einstein's constant speed of light. The specific conclusion is that the propagation speed of light in vacuum relative to the observer's inertial reference frame is always constant $c$, but the propagation speed of light relative to any other inertial reference frame which has relative motion with the observer is not equal to the constant $c$; observing in all inertial frame of reference, the relative velocity of light propagating in the same direction in vacuum is $0$, while that of light propagating in the opposite direction is $2c$. The essence of Einstein's constant speed of light is that the speed of light in an isolated reference frame is constant, but the relative speed of light in vacuum is variable. The assumption of constant speed of light in an isolated frame of reference and the inference of relative variable light speed can be derived from each other.

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          ScienceOpen Preprints
          21 December 2020
          [1 ] Wutong Mountain National Forest Park

          This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at .

          The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


          Unitary principle; Lorentz transformation; complete space-time transformation; constant speed of light in isolated reference frame; relative variable light speed


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