An Illustrated Guide to Relativity

http://edu-observatory.org/olli/Relativity/Week3.html

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 http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/notes/ http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/practice/ Review of Using Spacetime Diagrams (Minkowski Diagrams) to Order Events http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/practice/problem15.html http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/practice/solution15.html http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/practice/problem17.html http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/practice/solution17.html Review - Inertial Frames of Reference Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertial_frame_of_reference In physics, an inertial frame of reference (also inertial reference frame or inertial frame or Galilean reference frame) is a frame of reference that describes time and space homogeneously, isotropically, and in a time-independent manner. All inertial frames are in a state of constant, rectilinear motion with respect to one another; they are not accelerating in the sense that an accelerometer at rest in one would detect zero acceleration. Measurements in one inertial frame can be converted to measurements in another by a simple transformation (the Galilean transformation in Newtonian physics and the Lorentz transformation in special relativity). In general relativity, in any region small enough for the curvature of spacetime to be negligible one can find a set of inertial frames that approximately describe that region Non-Inertial Frames of Reference Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-inertial_reference_frame A non-inertial reference frame is a frame of reference that is undergoing acceleration with respect to an inertial frame. An accelerometer at rest in a non-inertial frame will in general detect a non-zero acceleration, and in a curved spacetime all frames are non-inertial. The laws of motion in non-inertial frames do not take the simple form they do in inertial frames, and the laws vary from frame to frame depending on the acceleration. 5. Laws of Physics in Non-Inertial Frames http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/notes/section05.html 6. The Special and General Theories of Relativity http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/notes/section06.html 7. Some History <== http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/notes/section07.html 8. The Lorentz Transformation http://www.phys.vt.edu/~takeuchi/relativity/notes/section08.html From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorentz_transformation#History Larmor and Lorentz, who believed the luminiferous ether hypothesis, were seeking the transformation under which Maxwell's equations were invariant when transformed from the ether to a moving frame. Early in 1889, Oliver Heaviside had shown from Maxwell's equations that the electric field surrounding a spherical distribution of charge should cease to have spherical symmetry once the charge is in motion relative to the ether. FitzGerald then conjectured that Heavisideās distortion result might be applied to a theory of intermolecular forces. Some months later, FitzGerald published his conjecture in Science to explain the baffling outcome of the 1887 ether-wind experiment of Michelson and Morley. This idea was extended by Lorentz and Larmor over several years, and became known as the FitzGerald-Lorentz explanation of the Michelson-Morley null result, known early on through the writings of Lodge, Lorentz, Larmor, and FitzGerald. Their explanation was widely known before 1905. Larmor is also credited to have been the first to understand the crucial time dilation property inherent in his equations. In 1905, Henri Poincare was the first to recognize that the transformation has the properties of a mathematical group, and named it after Lorentz. Later in the same year Einstein derived the Lorentz transformation under the assumptions of the principle of relativity and the constancy of the speed of light in any inertial reference frame, obtaining results that were algebraically equivalent to Larmor's (1897) and Lorentz's (1899, 1904), but with a different interpretation. swormley2@gmail.com