## Topic outline

• ### General

Special Relativity

NSC564 - 2    Credits - Introductory

Time: Monday      10:30am - 11:20am
Wednesday 10:30am - 11:20am

Place: Sci 117A

Faculty: Sara Salimbeni

An introduction to Einstein's special relativity, investigating how this theory has changed our understanding of space and time. The class will also focus on the discussion of some of the science presented in science fiction movies that incorporate Einstein's theory. Special relativity can be understood completely with only a little math, and this makes this course suitable both for science students and non-science students willing to know more about one of the theories that drastically changed our understanding of physics during the 20th century.

Prerequisite: Basic high school algebra and geometry

Textbooks: It's About Time  by  Mermin

• ### Week 1

8/29 intro class

• ### Week 2

9/3 The assignment for today is to read chapter 1 of the text book.

You should also give me the results on the algebra test. Some of you can skip this test (you know who you are), but you still have to answer the following questions:

Why do you want to attend this class? Are you interested in a scientic curriculum? If not what are your main interests? What do you hope to learn from this class?

9/5 still chapter 1

• ### Week 4

9/17 Chapter 4

9/19 Chapter 4

• ### Week 5

9/24 Chapter 5 & We will discuss the situation: the big and the little ball are fired at each other with the same speed u (end of chaoter 4). How does the little ball move after the collision?

9/26 Chapter 5

• ### Week 6

10/1 Chaper 6, up to "In the rest of this chapter..." (the rest of the chapter is volonteer reading)

• ### Week 7

10/8 Chapter 7

10/10

• ### week 8

10/15 Chapter 8 - Please solve the exercises on the file if you haven't finished them in class. If you missed more than two, please solve at least two exercises chosen from the following: a) Do one exercise from among #1, 2, and 5 and b) Do either #3 or # 4.

• ### Week 9

10/22 Please read and think carefully and try to solve the problems in the file. You should come in class at least with a plan of attack on how to solve them. We will discuss them in class.

• ### week 10

10/29 reading up to page 124 (pag 124 excluded)

• ### week 11

11/5 chapter 10

11/7 chapter 10

• ### week 12

11/12  reading chapter 11 (stop at the end of page 157)

Assignment on the Minkowsky diagram due.
Complete the exercises at the following link http://www.trell.org/div/minkowski.html.

You will have to give me a description of each solution using your own words. These explanations are almost more important to me than the numerical results.
The goals of this assignment are

a) to make you practice with the Minkowsky diagram
b) to make you review the various relativistic effects, by describing them using your own vocabulary.

• ### Week 13

11/19 Exercises due (see file)

11/21

• This topic

### Week 14

11/26 reading chapter 12. Please focus on the questions in the attached file while reading the chapter. We will focus on these questions during the discussion. You do not need to write them down, but think deeply about them.