# Homework Set 1 Solutions

Lecture 1 Problem:
Assume that visible light of wavelength 400 nm was used in a Michelson-Morley experiment, and the
apparatus is capable of measuring differences in paths of two beams as small as that wavelength.
Assuming L = 50 m, calculate the smallest possible value of velocity u that the experiment can measure.
Can the velocity of earth, 30 km/s, be measured by this setup? Note that the path length difference is
given by twice the time difference times the speed of light, Δd = 2cΔt.
Δd = 2cΔt
Substitute λ for Δd and Lu
2
/c
3
for Δt.
λ = 2 Lu
2
/c
2
Plug in numerical values for λ and L
400 nm = 100 m u
2
/c
2
Solve for u
4 ∙ 10
-9
= u
2
/c
2

u = 2 ∙ 10
-9/2
c
u = 6 ∙ 10
7/2
m/s
u = 1.9 ∙ 10
4
m/s
Lecture 2:
Serway P 1.9:
Lengths of objects in motion appear to be contracted in the direction of motion by a factor of 1/γ (length
contraction).
y = 1 ¸1 − :
2
c
2
⁄ ⁄
L
earth
= L/γ
v = 0.900c
L
earth
= L[1-(0.900)
2
]
1/2
= 0.436L
Serway P 1.28:
v = 0.95c
a) clocks in motion relative to an observer appear to be slowed down by a factor of 1/γ (time dilation)
t
earth
= 4.4 years v = 0.95c (d
earth
= 4.2 c-yrs)
t
astronauts
= t
earth
/γ = (4.4 yrs)[1-(0.95)
2
]
1/2
= 1.37 yrs
b) L
astronauts
= L
earth
/γ = (4.2 c-yrs)[1-(0.95)
2
]
-1/2
= 1.31 c-yrs
Serway P1.32:
Δt’ = Δt/γ
d = 20 c-hrs Δt = 25 hrs v = ?
v = d/Δt = (20 c-hrs)/(25 hrs) = 0.8c
Δt’ = (25 hrs)[1-(0.8)
2
]
1/2
= 15 hours
Compare time elapsed: Δt – Δt’ = 10 hrs; clocks on space ship tick through 10 hours less than those on
earth
Lecture 3:
Serway P 1.20:
Lab frame: Electron frame:
Electron: v = 0.90c Proton: u
x
’ = 0.70c
Proton = u
x
= ?
Lorentz transformation for velocities:
u
x
=
u
x
i+¡
1+u
x
i¡ c
2

u
x
= (0.7c + 0.90c)/[1+(0.7)(0.9)] = 0.98c
Serway P 1.24:
Earth’s frame: Spaceship A’s frame:
Spaceship A: u
Ay
= -0.90c = v Spaceship B: u
By
’ = ?; u
Bx
’ = ?
Spaceship B: u
By
= 0.90c
Lorentz transformation for velocities:
u
x
i
=
u
x

1-u
x
¡ c
2

u
¡
i
=
u
j
y(1-u
x
¡ c
2
⁄ )

γ = [1-(0.92)
2
]
-1/2
= 2.29
u
Bx
’ = (0 – 0.9c)/(1 – 0) = -0.9c
u
By
’ = -0.9c/[2.29(1-0)] = -0.39c
|u| = (u
Bx

2
+ u
By

2
)
1/2
= 0.98c
Serway P1.38:
Earth’s frame: Second ship’s frame:
First ship: |u| = 0.600c, θ = 50° from horizontal First ship: u
y
’ = ?; u
x
’ = ?
Second ship: v = -0.700c |u’| = ?; θ’ = ?
u
x
= |u| cos(θ) = (0.600c)cos(50°) = 0.386c
u
y
= |u| sin(θ) = (0.600c)sin(50°) = 0.460c
Lorentz transformation for velocities:
u
x
i
=
u
x

1-u
x
¡ c
2

u
¡
i
=
u
j
y(1-u
x
¡ c
2
⁄ )

γ = [1 – (0.700)
2
]
-1/2
= 1.40
u
x
’ = [0.386c – (-0.700c)]/[1 – (0.386)(-0.700)] = 0.855c
u
y
’ = 0.460c/[1.40(1 – 0.386(-0.700))] = 0.259c
|u’| = (u
Bx

2
+ u
By

2
)
1/2
= 0.893c
θ’ = tan
-1
(u
y
’/u
x
’) = tan
-1
(0.259c/0.855c) = 16.9°
Lecture 4:
Serway P 2.2:
p' is 90% larger than p; p’ = 1.9p =γp
a) γ = 1.9 = [1 – v
2
/c
2
]
-1/2
0.277 = 1 – v
2
/c
2
v
2
/c
2
= 0.723 v = 0.850c
b) it wouldn’t change, γ only depends on velocity (mass cancels on both sides of relativistic momentum
expression)
Serway P 2.13:
a) E’ = γm
p
c
2
= 400m
p
c
2

γ = 400 = [1 – v
2
/c
2
]
-1/2
6.25*10
-6
= 1 – v
2
/c
2
v
2
/c
2
= 0.99999375 v = 0.999997c
b) m
p
c
2
= 938.3 MeV
K = γm
p
c
2
– m
p
c
2
= 399m
p
c
2
= 399(938.3 MeV) = 374000 MeV
Serway P2.15:
ΔK = eΔV = 50,000 eV = 0.05 MeV m
e
c
2
= 0.511 MeV
a) K = γm
e
c
2
- m
e
c
2

γ = (K + m
e
c
2
)/m
e
c
2
= (0.05 MeV + 0.511 MeV)/(0.511 MeV) = 1.098
γ = 1.098 = [1 – v
2
/c
2
]
-1/2
0.829 = 1 – v
2
/c
2
v
2
/c
2
= 0.171 v = 0.413c
b) ΔK = ½m
e
v
2
v = (2ΔK/m
e
)
1/2

v = [2(0.05 MeV)/(0.511 Mev/c
2
)]
1/2
v = 0.442c
c) % difference is |0.413c – 0442c|/0.413c = 0.066; 6.6% difference, is that significant for you?
Lecture 5:
Serway P 2.19:
Δm = 6m
p
= 6m
n
– m
C
= 0.095646 u
ΔE = Δm(931.49 MeV/u) = 89.09 MeV
Serway P 2.21:
Before collision: After collision:
K
e-
= 1.000 MeV 2 gamma rays, equal E
f
= ?
m
e-
c
2
= 0.511 MeV |p
f
| = E
f
/c at equal angles θ w.r.t electron’s initial direction
p
e-
2
c
2
= E
e-
2
– m
e-
2
c
4

K
e+
= 0, m
e+
c
2
= 0.511 MeV
Conservation of energy:
K
e-
+ m
e-
c
2
+ m
e+
c
2
= 2E
f
1.000 MeV + 0.511 MeV + 0.511 MeV = 2E
f
E
f
= 1.011 MeV
p
f
= E
f
/c = 1.011 MeV/c
Conservation of momentum:
(E
e-
2
– m
e-
2
c
4
)
1/2
/c = 2p
f
cos θ cos θ = (E
e-
2
– m
e-
2
c
4
)
1/2
/(2p
f
c)
cos θ = [(1.000 MeV + 0.511 MeV)
2
– (0.511 MeV)
2
]
1/2
/(2*1.011 MeV) = 0.703 θ = cos
-1
(0.703) = 45.3°
Serway P2.26:
m
1
= 900 kg v
1i
= 0.850c
m
2
= 1400 kg v
2i
= 0
stick together with final velocity v
f
= ? and composite mass M = ?
Before collision: After collision:
E
1
= γ
i
m
1
c
2
E
f
= γ
f
Mc
2

E
2
= m
2
c
2
p
f
= γ
f
Mv
f

P
1
= γ
i
m
1
v
1

p
2
= 0
Conservation of energy:
m
1
c
2
/(1 – v
1i
2
/c
2
)
1/2
+ m
2
c
2
= Mc
2
/(1 – v
f
2
/c
2
)
1/2

Conservation of momentum:
m
1
v
1i
/(1 – v
1i
2
/c
2
)
1/2
= Mv
f
/(1 – v
f
2
/c
2
)
1/2

Divide COM by COE to solve for final velocity:
v
f
/c
2
= [m
1
v
1i
/(1 – v
1i
2
/c
2
)
1/2
]/[ m
1
c
2
/(1 – v
1i
2
/c
2
)
1/2
+ m
2
c
2
]
v
f
/c
2
= [(900 kg)(0.850c)/(1 – (0.850)
2
)
1/2
]/[900 kg-c
2
/(1 – (0.850)
2
)
1/2
+1400 kg-c
2
]
= (1452 kg-c)/(3108 kg-c
2
) = 0.467/c
v
f
= 0.467c
Substitute v
f
into COM to get M
M = m
1
v
1i
(1 – v
f
2
/c
2
)
1/2
/[v
f
(1 – v
1i
2
/c
2
)
1/2
]
M = (900 kg)(0.850c)(1 – (0.467)
2
)
1/2
/[(0.467c)(1 – (0.850)
2
)
1/2
] = (676 kg-c)/(0.246c) = 2748 kg