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PROBLEMS ON SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY SUMMER 2011-2012 1 Relativity of time and length

1. Suppose that an event occurs in S at x = 1.5 km, y = 10 km, z = 1.0 km, at t = 5.0  10-6 seconds. Let S move relative to S at 0.92 c along the common x-x axis, the origin coinciding at t = t = 0. What are the coordinates x , y, z, and t of this event in S? 2. The mean lifetime of a pion traveling at high speed is measured to be 7.5x10 s. Its lifetime when measured at rest is 2.6x10 s. How fast is the pion traveling? 3. A friend of yours who is of the same age as you travels to a distant star which is 8 light years away from the earth. He claims on return that the trip took just 10 years. How fast did he travel? 4. A beam of particles of half-life 2.0x10 sec travels in the laboratory with a speed 0.96c. How much distance does the beam travel before the flux falls to (1/2) times the initial flux? 5. The lifetime of µ-mesons is 2.2 µs and their speed is 0.998c, so that they can cover only a distance of 0.998cx2.2x10 or 658.68 metres in their entire lifetime. Yet they are found in profusion at sea level i.e. at a depth of 10 km from the upper atmosphere where they are produced. How may this be explained on the basis of (i) length contraction and (ii) time dilation? 6. Find the speed of a particle that takes 2.0 y longer than light to travel a distance of 6.0 Ly.
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Relativistic Momentum and Energy

1. (i) At what speed is the momentum of a particle twice as great as the result obtained from the nonrelativistic expression m ou? (ii) At what speed is the momentum of a particle differs by 1% from the value obtained from the non-relativistic expression m ou? Is it greater than that obtained from nonrelativistic expression? 2. How much work must be done on a particle with mass m o to accelerate it (i) from rest to a speed of 0.08c? (ii) from a speed of 0.9c to 0.98c? [Express your answers in terms of moc ]. (iii) How do your answers in part (i) and (ii) compare? 3. What is the percentage increase in the mass of an electron accelerated to a K.E of 500 MeV? Use rest mass of electron = 0.511 MeV/c .
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Relativistic Doppler effect

1. A spaceship, moving away from earth at a speed of 0.90 c, reports back by transmitting a frequency (measured in the spaceship frame) of 100 MHz. To what frequency must earth receivers be tuned to receive the report? 2. In terms of c, what relative velocity u between a source of electromagnetic waves and an observer produces a) 1% decrease in frequency? b) a decrease by a factor of three of the frequency of the observed light? 3. Certain wavelengths in the light from a galaxy in the Constellation Virgo are observed to be 0.4% longer than the corresponding light from earth sources. What is the radial speed of this galaxy with respect to earth? Is it approaching or receding?

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Velocity transformation

1. Suppose a spaceship moves away from you along the x-direction with speed v= 0.80c relative to you. A second spaceship moves away from you and away from the first ship with the same speed 0.80c relative to the first ship along the x-direction. How fast is the second ship moving relative to you? 2. Consider the case of two spaceships approaching each other in the vicinity of a star. Relative to the star, the spaceship A is approaching at 0.95c, while spaceship B is approaching from the opposite direction at a velocity of 0.90c with respect to the star. What is the velocity of A relative to B? 3. Spacecraft Alpha is moving at a speed 0.90c with respect to the earth. If the spacecraft Beta is to pass Alpha at a relative speed of 0.50c in the same direction, what speed must Beta have with respect to the earth?

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