Copyright © Michael Richmond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Physics 150, Special Relativity: Fall 2022
This material can be found online at URL
http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/phys150/phys150.html
Outline for the course, class schedule, etc.
Are you a physics major? If so, consider the
advice from one of my fellow physics instructors;
you might also peruse
this list of aspects of a career in physics
written by the Society of Physics Students.
The Head of SoPA here at RIT, Professor Kotlarchyk,
has put together information that might help you in
thinking about your future and career:
Scores so far
Lectures
 Week 1, Day A:
Introduction, parable of the surveyors
 Week 1, Day B:
A bit of history
 Week 2, Day A:
The surprising results of the MichelsonMorley experiment
 Week 2, Day B:
Events: a good choice for units
Guest: Michael Lam
 Week 3, Day A:
Events: intelligent observers and synchronizing clocks
 Week 3, Day B:
Events: making diagrams
 Week 4, Day A: Review spacetime diagram from Week 3, Day B, then
Inertial frames
Guest: Mike Kotlarchyk
 Week 4, Day B:
Time dilation
Guest: Scott Franklin
 Week 5, Day A:
Length contraction
 Week 5, Day B:
Galilean transformations
 Week 6, Day A:
The Lorentz transformations
 Week 6, Day B:
Consequences of the Lorentz transformations
Guest: Greg Howland
Take home minitest
 Week 7, Day A:
Paradox: the ladder and the barn
Hand in minitest
 Week 7, Day B: Test
 Week 8, Day A: no class  Fall Break
 Week B, Day B:
Relativistic Doppler effect
Guest: Andy Robinson
 Week 9, Day A:
Astronomical Spectra
 Week 9, Day B:
The expanding universe
 Week 10, Day A:
Superluminal motions?
 Week 10, Day B:
The Twin Paradox, Part I
Guest: George Thurston
 Week 11, Day A:
The Twin Paradox, Part II
 Week 11, Day B:
The Twin Paradox in the Media
Guest: Pratik Dholabhai
 Week 12, Day A:
Kinetic Energy in the nonrelativistic regime
 Week 12, Day B:
Kinetic Energy in the relativistic regime
Guest: Mike Zemcov
 Week 13, Day A:
Momentum in the nonrelativistic regime
 Week 13, Day B:
Momentum in the relativistic regime
Guest: Michael Pierce
 Week 14, Day A:
SpaceTime and MomentumEnergy
 Week 14, Day B: no class  Thanksgiving break
 Week 15, Day A:
Supernova 1987A and the mass of the neutrino (Part I)
 Week 15, Day B:
Supernova 1987A and the mass of the neutrino (Part II)
 Tue, Dec 13, 10:45 AM  1:15 PM: Final Exam, CAR1125
Homework sets
In order to use the online homework system,
you need to know your login name and your initial password.
Your "login name" should be the same as your last name,
but with lowercase letters only;
something like richmond.
Your initial password should be
the final 4digits of your student RIT student ID,
so if your ID is 456781234, the
initial password would be 1234.
Include all zeroes: if your ID is 456780012,
then your initial password will be 0012.
You can change your password from the default
after you log in for the first time.

Introduction to Webwork system
due Friday, Aug 27, at 5:00 PM.

Converting units, MichelsonMorley experiment
due Friday, Sep 2, at 5:00 PM.

Events and a bit of mathematical practice
due Friday, Sep 16, at 5:00 PM.

Time dilation
due Fri, Sep 23, at 5:00 PM.

Lorentz transformations
due Fri, Sep 30, at 5:00 PM.

Relativistic Doppler shifts
due Friday, Oct 28, at 5:00 PM.

Twin Paradox
due Friday, Nov 11, at 5:00 PM.

Kinetic energy
due Tuesday, Nov 22, at 5:00 PM.

Momentum
due Monday, Dec 5, at 5:00 PM.
Extra Credit Projects may be turned in any time
before the last class meeting.
 Measure some spacetime intervals

A revised look at the bomb in the attache case
 Clumsy aliens
 The decay of a proton
 Making a solar sail from aluminum foil
This project requires a few bits of
basic dynamics which you may not have seen
in previous courses; please come talk to me
in person if you have questions.
For more information:
There are many, many courses on special relativity taught
in universities around the world. I'll list just a few
here ... but you should search for sites which you enjoy
and understand.
This page maintained by Michael Richmond.
Last modified Aug 24, 2021.
Copyright © Michael Richmond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.