1. Spe­cial Rel­a­tiv­ity [Draft]


This first chap­ter re­views the the­ory of spe­cial rel­a­tiv­ity. It can be skipped if de­sired. Spe­cial rel­a­tiv­ity is not needed to un­der­stand the dis­cus­sion of quan­tum me­chan­ics in the re­main­der of this book. How­ever, some parts of this chap­ter might pro­vide a deeper un­der­stand­ing and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for some of the is­sues that will come up in quan­tum me­chan­ics.

The main rea­son for this chap­ter is that the book can be used as a re­view and ex­pan­sion of typ­i­cal courses on “Mod­ern Physics.” Such classes al­ways cover rel­a­tiv­ity. While rel­a­tiv­ity is nowhere as im­por­tant as ba­sic quan­tum me­chan­ics, it does have that Ein­stein mys­tique that is great at par­ties.

The chap­ter starts with an overview of the key ideas of rel­a­tiv­ity. This is ma­te­r­ial that is typ­i­cally cov­ered in mod­ern physics classes. Sub­se­quent sec­tions pro­vide more ad­vanced ex­pla­na­tions of the var­i­ous ideas of spe­cial rel­a­tiv­ity.