An Illustrated Guide to Relativity


This class is based on the book, An Illustrated Guide to Relativity,
by Tatsu Takeuchi, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, a delightful book that uses simple space-time diagrams to
visualize and teach the basic features of special relativity. This is
done so well that the material can, in principle, be learned directly
from the figures and annotations without referring to the main text
at all.

Online Resources

Space Time Diagram

Minkowski Diagram

The Minkowski diagram, also known as a spacetime diagram, was
developed in 1908 by Hermann Minkowski and provides an illustration
of the properties of space and time in the special theory of
relativity. It allows a quantitative understanding of the
corresponding phenomena like time dilation and length contraction
without mathematical equations.

An interactive Minkowski diagram

Background -- Minkowski diagrams from Wikipedia

Street Lamps Problem    

The Mechanical Universe - 42 - The Lorentz Transformation
29:07 minute Video

If the speed of light is to be the same for all observers, then
the length of a meter stick, or the rate of a ticking clock,
depends on who measures it. This series helps teachers demystify
physics by showing students what it looks like. Field trips to
hot-air balloon events, symphony concerts, bicycle shops, and
other locales make complex concepts more accessible. Inventive
computer graphics illustrate abstract concepts such as time,
force, and capacitance, while historical reenactments of the
studies of Newton, Leibniz, Maxwell, and others trace the
evolution of theories.