Special Relativity (Spring '10)NSC 437 - 2 credits - Introductory
- Time: Monday 1:30 - 3:30
- Place: Sci117A
- Text: "It's About Time" by N.D. Mermin
- Faculty: Travis Norsen
Course Overview: Einstein's Theory of Relativity was the first of two major revolutions in 20th century physics. It radically altered the way physicists think about space, time, and related concepts like velocity and simultaneity. Yet unlike the other revolutionary 20th century theory (quantum mechanics), special relativity can be understood completely with only a little math: geometry and algebra. This introduction to Einstein's famous theory will thus be accessible and useful for those intending to do more advanced work in the sciences, and for those working in other areas but wanting to broaden their intellectual horizons and find out what Einstein did that was so special.
Assignments and Grading: Weekly homework assignments will presuppose close and careful reading (and re-reading and contemplative studying) of chapters from the text. These assignments will be worth 50% of the overall grade. (I will automatically drop your lowest score before averaging.) A final exam (and maybe one or two short midterm quizzes) will be worth 30%. Class participation (including appropriate preparation for class meetings) will be worth 20%.
- Attendance is mandatory. (Let me know if, and why, you will miss a class.)
- Late work will not be accepted without prior arrangement.
- In addition to being fully present in class and handing in all the assignments, to really succeed in the class you should expect to spend 2-3 hours each week reading and studying the assigned chapter(s) from the text -- prior to then spending another couple of hours writing up solutions to the homework problems.
- Students are encouraged to work together on the homework assignments (and to get help from me or the tutor). However, your final write-up of the solutions must represent your own understanding; copying another person's work is plagiarism and will result in no credit for that assignment (and possibly worse). If there is any question about a specific case, simply cite your sources as you would in any kind of research paper (e.g., "I worked with Joe Schmoe on this problem.").