Special Relativity, PH2011/2A, @StAndrews

• Course Outline and Lecture Notes

Lecture Topics Lecture Topics
SR1 From Galileo Galilei to Einstein
• Galilean Relativity
• Frames of Reference
• Galilean Transformation
• Newton's Laws of Motion
• Galilean Invariance
• Light, Maxwell's Equations,
and the Aether
• Einstein's Postulates
SR2 Consequences of Einstein's
Postulates from Simple Thought
Experiments
• Constancy of Speed of
Light
• Clock Synchronization
• Relative Simultaneity
• Time Dilation
• Length Contraction
SR3 The Lorentz Transformation
• Derivation of the Lorentz
Transformation
• Galileo's Mistake
• Transformations in Matrix
Form
SR4 Main Cosequences of Lorentz
Transformation
• Relative Simultaneity
• Time Dilation
• Length Contraction
• Some Examples
• The Invariant Interval
SR5 The Doppler Effect
• Classical Doppler Effect
for Sound
• Doppler Shift for Light
• Small Velocity Approxi-
mation
SR6 Velocity Transformations
in Classical (Newtonian)
Mechanics
• Velocity Transformation in
Special Relativity
SR7 Relativistic Energy and
Momentum
• Newtonian Force
and Momentum
• Non-Conservation of
Newtonianin Momentum
in Special Relativity
• Relativistic Momentum
• Relativistic Energy
• Energy-Momentum Relation
SR8 Spacetime, Causality
and Light Cones
• 4-Vectors
• Minkowski Metric
• Spacetime Diagrams
• Absolute Causality
• Light Cones
• Outwards Journey
• Return Trip

• Books recommended as core/background reading

• Nonclassical Physics (Beyond Newton’s View), R. Harris (Addison-Wesley)
Chapter 1 – course based strongly on the approach in this chapter

• Fundamentals of Physics, Haliday, Resnick, Walker (Wiley)
Chapter 38 - if you have this book, then reading this chapter will do no harm

• Special Relativity, A.P. French (Chapman and Hall)
Classic text - goes into much more depth than is possible in this course.
Slightly different approach. Useful source of reference.

• Relativity Visualized, Lewis Carroll Epstein (Insight Press)
Popular science book- lots of fun, easy to read, useful background on