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Special Relativity

Special Relativity

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Published by Andrew Florit
lecture notes on special relativity by Cresser
lecture notes on special relativity by Cresser

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Published by: Andrew Florit on Feb 16, 2009
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04/02/2013

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Lecture Notes on Special Relativity
prepared by
J D CresserDepartment of PhysicsMacquarie University8
th
August2005
 
Contents
1 Introduction: What is Relativity? 32 Frames of Reference 7
2.1 Constructing an Arbitrary Reference Frame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82.1.1 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102.2 Inertial Frames of Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112.2.1 Newtons First Law of Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
3 Newtonian Relativity 15
3.1 The Galilean Transformation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153.2 Newtonian Force and Momentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163.2.1 Newtons Second Law of Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163.2.2 Newtons Third Law of Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173.3 Newtonian Relativity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173.4 Maxwells Equations and the Ether . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
4 Einsteinian Relativity 21
4.1 Einsteins Postulates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214.2 Clock Synchronization in an Inertial Frame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224.3 Lorentz Transformation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234.4 Relativistic Kinematics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304.4.1 Length Contraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314.4.2 Time Dilation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324.4.3 Simultaneity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334.4.4 Transformation of Velocities (Addition of Velocities) . . . . . . . . . . . 344.5 Relativistic Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364.5.1 Relativistic Momentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374.5.2 Relativistic Force, Work, Kinetic Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384.5.3 Total Relativistic Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404.5.4 Equivalence of Mass and Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424.5.5 Zero Rest Mass Particles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
 
CONTENTS 25 Geometry of Flat Spacetime 45
5.1 Geometrical Properties of 3 Dimensional Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 455.2 Space Time Four-Vectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475.3 Minkowski Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505.4 Properties of Spacetime Intervals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 525.5 Four-Vector Notation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 545.5.1 The Einstein Summation Convention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555.5.2 Basis Vectors and Contravariant Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 575.5.3 The Metric Tensor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 585.5.4 Covectors and Covariant Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 595.5.5 Transformation of Di
ff 
erential Operators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 615.6 Tensors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 615.6.1 Some Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 635.6.2 Transformation Properties of Tensors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
6 Electrodynamics in Special Relativity 65
6.1 The Faraday Tensor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 656.2 Dynamics of the Electromagnetic Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

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