Будет опубликовано в Am. J. Phys.
An instructive paradox concerning classical description of energy and momentum of extended physical systems in special relativity theory is explained using an elementary example of two point-like massive bodies rotating on a circle in their center-of-mass frame of reference, connected by an arbitrarily light and infinitesimally thin string. Namely, from the point of view of the inertial observers who move with respect to the rotating system, the sums of energies and momenta of the two bodies oscillate, instead of being constant in time. This result is understood in terms of the mechanism that binds the bodies: the string contributes to the system total energy and momentum no matter how light it is. Its contribution eliminates the unphysical oscillations from the system total four-momentum. Generality of the relativistic approach, applied here to the rotor example, suggests that in every extended physical system its binding mechanism contributes to its total energy and momentum.