Directory of Special Relativity Resources

Resources in This Category

• A Derivation of the Lorentz Transformation From a Simple Definition of Time

http://www.everythingimportant.org/relativity/special.pdf
The fundamental equations of special relativity are derived with only high school algebra and toy universes consisting of moving rulers.

• A Special Relativity Paradox: The Barn and the Pole

http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/barn_pole.html
The answer to the famous barn and the pole paradox is that the two doors are never closed at the same time in the runner's frame of reference.

• Derivation of the Lorentz Transformation

http://www2.physics.umd.edu/~yakovenk/teaching/Lorentz.pdf
This derivation uses the group property of the Lorentz transformations, which means that a combination of two Lorentz transformations also belongs to the class Lorentz transformations.

• Deriving Relativistic Momentum and Energy

http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0402024
Expressions for momentum and energy of a relativistic particle may be derived from the composition law for velocities along one spatial dimension.

• Deriving Relativistic Momentum and Energy. II.

http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0504095
The usual relativistic expressions for momentum and kinetic energy are generalized from the one-dimensional to the three-dimensional case.

• E=mc²

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E%3Dmc%C2%B2
An article from the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

• Einstein Light

http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/
A multimedia tutorial on Special Relativity. The introductory level takes 10 minutes, but has links to over 40 explanatory pages giving greater depth and breadth.

• Generalized Relativistic Velocity Addition with Spacetime Algebra

http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0511/0511247.pdf
The general problem of relativistic addition of velocities – and the successive application of noncollinear Lorentz boosts – is addressed.

• Geometric Algebra for Physicists

http://assets.cambridge.org/052148/0221/sample/0521480221WS.pdf
This is chapter 1 of a book by Chris Doran and Anthony Lasenby on geometric algebra, which is the natural mathematics of spacetime.

• How Do You Add Velocities in Special Relativity?

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/velocity.html
Here is the formula for adding velocities in special relativity when motion occurs in a single direction.

• How Stuff Works: Special Relativity

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/relativity.htm
The major principles of special relativity (SR) are discussed in an accessible way, via 5 segments, to help you understand the lingo and theories involved.

• Imaginary In All Directions

http://arxiv.org/abs/math-ph/0309061
There is a preferred algebra of quaternions and complex numbers that is ideally suited to express the equations of special relativity and classical electrodynamics.

• Lorentz Contraction and Accelerated Systems

http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0301050
Lorentz contraction in systems undergoing constant proper acceleration is proven to be completely self-consistent in the context of special relativity.

• Nothing but Relativity

http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0302045
There are many ways to derive the Lorentz transformation without invoking Einstein's constancy of light postulate. The path preferred in this paper restates a simple, established approach.

• On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies

http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/
Albert Einstein's first paper on relativity, translated here from Annalen der Physik vol XVII 1905 p. 891-921, is of historical interest.

• Quaternions in University-Level Physics Considering Special Relativity

http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0308/0308017.pdf
The quaternions are an expansion of complex numbers and show close relations to numerous physically fundamental concepts (e.g. Pauli Matrices).

• Relativistic Contraction

Relativists consider it a very important exercise to have students decide how to measure the length of a rapidly moving object.

• Relativistic Force Transformation

http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0507099
Formulas relating one and the same force in two inertial frames of reference are derived directly from the Lorentz transformation of space and time coordinates.

• Relativity (Kinematics)

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~djmorin/chap11.pdf
Chapter of a classical mechanics text describes spatiotemporal effects. Includes problems and solutions.

• Relativity Tutorial

http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/relatvty.htm
An introduction to relativity using space-time diagrams.

• Sagnac Effect, Twin Paradox and Space-Time Topology

http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0403111
When viewed with an alternative synchronization convention, the Sagnac effect on a rotating disk is purely topological and the rim of the disk is essentially an inertial system.

• Santa at Nearly the Speed of Light

http://www.fnal.gov/pub/ferminews/santa/
An estimate of the speed and distances covered by Santa Claus on Christmas night. The physics is unassailable. The article is hosted on the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory website.

• Simple Derivation of the Special Theory of Relativity Without the Speed of Light Axiom

http://arxiv.org/abs/0710.3398
Special relativity may be derived just from assuming isotropy, homogeneity and a principle of relativity, without the need to consider the speed of light.

• Space Measurements on a Rotating Platform

http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0309020
The age-old puzzling problem of Lorentz contraction on a rotating platform, i.e., Ehrenfest's paradox, is explained in its proper mathematical context.

• Special Relativity

Tutorial explains about the postulates, paradox, simulaneity, time dilation, Lorentz transformation constructions, spacetime wheel, and the Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction. Page includes some animated illustrations.

• Special Relativity

http://www.motionmountain.net/
Download Christoph Schiller's 1612 page walk through the whole of physics, from classical mechanics to relativity, electrodynamics, thermodynamics, quantum theory, nuclear physics and unification. chapter 2 explains special relativity.

• Special Relativity Lecture Notes

http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/notes
A standard introduction to special relativity where explanations are based on pictures called spacetime diagrams.

• Synchronization Gauges and the Principles of Special Relativity

http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0409105
Synchronization functions set the mathematical clocks represented by the Lorentz transformation and resetting these clocks mathematically only produces a theory equivalent to special relativity in predicting empirical facts. 57 pages.

• The Doppler Shift Equation For An Accelerating Frame of Reference

http://www.everythingimportant.org/SDA/viewtopic.php?f=14&amp;t=969
The exact equation for the Doppler shift in a uniformly accelerating rocket is derived in two different ways. The first method depends on a functional equation and Einstein’s approximation. The second approach is a direct application of several familiar equations in the relativity of uniformly accelerated motion.

• The Special Theory of Relativity

http://astro.physics.sc.edu/selfpacedunits/Unit56.html
Self-tutorial with short essays, questions and answers.

• The Structure of Space-Time Transformations

http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.cmp/1103858408
This theorem by H. J. Borchers and G. C. Hegerfeldt proves that the constancy of light velocity alone implies the Lorentz group (up to dilatations).

• The Twin Paradox in a Spatially Closed and Bounded Universe

http://www.everythingimportant.org/relativity/general.htm
Spatially compact spacetimes break global Lorentz invariance and define absolute inertial frames of reference.

• Time Dilation

http://www.pa.msu.edu/courses/2000spring/PHY232/lectures/relativity/dilation.html
The gamma factor and time dilation can be derived using a very simple clock.

• Understanding Special Relativity

http://www.rafimoor.com/english/SRE.htm
Brief explanation of special relativity, using no more than high-school level mathematics; includes an account of the twin paradox, some remarks on faster-than-light travel, and some material on relativistic mechanics. By Rafi Moor.

• Uniform Acceleration

http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~gleeson/NotesChapter13.pdf
This paper analyzes several simple uniform acceleration problems, including the paradox of John Bell.

• University Lectures on Special Relativity

http://www.physics.mq.edu.au/~jcresser/Phys378/LectureNotes/SpecialRelativityNotes.pdf
Lecture notes on Special Relativity, prepared by J. D. Cresser, Department of Physics, Macquarie University. 44 pages.

• Wikipedia: Introduction to Special Relativity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_special_relativity
Encyclopedia article giving a brief outline of the basic concepts of special relativity (including simple formulas).

• Wikipedia: Special Relativity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity
Online encyclopedia article.

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