Copyright © Michael Richmond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Physics 150, Special Relativity: Fall 2017
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 on Test
.
Lectures
 Week 1, Day A:
Introduction, parable of the surveyors
 Week 1, Day B:
A bit of history
Guest: Mike Kotlarchyk
 Week 2, Day A:
Results of the MichelsonMorley experiment
 Week 2, Day B:
Events: a good choice for units
Guest: Mishkat Bhattacharya
 Week 3, Day A:
Events: intelligent observers and synchronizing clocks
 Week 3, Day B:
Events: making diagrams
Guest: Ben Zwickl
 Week 4, Day A: Review spacetime diagram from Week 3, Day B, then
Inertial frames
 Week 4, Day B:
Time dilation
Guest: George Thurston
 Week 5, Day A:
Length contraction
 Week 5, Day B:
Galilean transformations
Guest: Josh Faber
 Week 6, Day A:
The Lorentz transformations
 Week 6, Day B:
Consequences of the Lorentz transformations
Guest: Andy Robinson
Take home minitest
 Week 7, Day A: no class
 Week 7, Day B:
Paradox: the ladder and the barn Guest: Rob Szalapski (1 PM)
Hand in minitest
 Week 8, Day A:
Relativistic Doppler effect
 Week 8, Day B: Test
 Week 9, Day A:
Astronomical Spectra
 Week 9, Day B:
The expanding universe
Guest: Ed Hach
 Week 10, Day A:
Superluminal motions?
 Week 10, Day B:
The Twin Paradox, Part I
Guest: Mike Zemcov
 Week 11, Day A:
The Twin Paradox, Part II
 Week 11, Day B:
The Twin Paradox, Part III
Guest: Seth Hubbard
 Week 12, Day A:
Kinetic Energy in the nonrelativistic regime
 Week 12, Day B:
Kinetic Energy in the relativistic regime
Guest: Jeyhan Kartaltepe
 Week 13, Day A:
Momentum in the nonrelativistic regime
 Week 13, Day B: no class  Thanksgiving break
 Week 14, Day A:
Momentum in the relativistic regime
 Week 14, Day B:
SpaceTime and MomentumEnergy
Guest: Moumita Das
 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)
Guest: Pratik Dholabhai
 Thurs, Dec 14, 12:30 PM: Final Exam, BOO1440
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, Sep 1, at 5:00 PM.

Converting units, MichelsonMorley experiment
due Tues, Sep 12, at 12:30 PM.

Events and a bit of mathematical practice
due Thursday, Sep 21, at 12:30 PM.

Time dilation, Lorentz transformations
due Thurs, Oct 12, at 12:30 PM.

Relativistic Doppler shifts
due Tuesday, Nov 7, at 12:30 PM.

Twin Paradox
due Thursday, Nov 16, at 12:30 PM.

Kinetic energy
due Tuesday, Nov 28, at 12:30 PM.
Error fixed Nov 21 1:40 PM

Momentum
due Tuesday, Dec 5, at 12:30 PM.
Extra Credit Projects
 How easy is it to measure c?
Due Friday, Sep 22, at 5 PM.
 Nanogravity probe
Due Friday, Oct 6, at 5 PM.
 Building the sidetrack
Due Friday, Oct 27, at 5 PM.
 Clumsy aliens
Due Friday, Nov 3, at 5 PM.
 The decay of a proton
Due Friday, Nov 17, at 5 PM.
 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.
Due Friday Dec 8, at 5 PM.
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 Sep 7, 2017.
Copyright © Michael Richmond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.