


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
 Apparent Paradoxes
 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
 Addition of Velocities
in Classical (Newtonian) Mechanics
 Velocity Transformation in
Special Relativity

SR7 
Relativistic Energy and Momentum
 Newtonian Force
and Momentum
 NonConservation of
Newtonianin Momentum in Special Relativity
 Relativistic Momentum
 Relativistic Energy
 EnergyMomentum Relation

SR8 
Spacetime, Causality and Light Cones
 4Vectors
 Minkowski Metric
 Spacetime Diagrams
 Absolute Causality
 Light Cones

SR9 
Resolving Paradoxes
 The Twin Paradox
 Outwards Journey
 Return Trip
 Resolution of Paradox

 Books recommended as core/background reading
 Nonclassical Physics (Beyond Newton’s View), R. Harris (AddisonWesley)
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
developing intuition about special relativity



