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Physics 150, Special Relativity: Fall 2017

This material can be found online at URL

We will have an optional Review Session on Tuesday, Dec 12, at 12:30 - 1:50 PM. It will not meet in our regular room, but in GOS-3305.

You can try some practice problems for the final exam.

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


Homework sets

In order to use the on-line 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 4-digits 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.
  1. Introduction to Webwork system due Friday, Sep 1, at 5:00 PM.
  2. Converting units, Michelson-Morley experiment due Tues, Sep 12, at 12:30 PM.
  3. Events and a bit of mathematical practice due Thursday, Sep 21, at 12:30 PM.
  4. Time dilation, Lorentz transformations due Thurs, Oct 12, at 12:30 PM.
  5. Relativistic Doppler shifts due Tuesday, Nov 7, at 12:30 PM.
  6. Twin Paradox due Thursday, Nov 16, at 12:30 PM.
  7. Kinetic energy due Tuesday, Nov 28, at 12:30 PM. Error fixed Nov 21 1:40 PM
  8. Momentum due Tuesday, Dec 5, at 12:30 PM.

Extra Credit Projects

  1. How easy is it to measure c? Due Friday, Sep 22, at 5 PM.
  2. Nanogravity probe Due Friday, Oct 6, at 5 PM.
  3. Building the side-track Due Friday, Oct 27, at 5 PM.
  4. Clumsy aliens Due Friday, Nov 3, at 5 PM.
  5. The decay of a proton Due Friday, Nov 17, at 5 PM.
  6. 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.

Creative Commons License Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.