1. Special Relativity [Draft]

AbstractThis 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 mystiquethat 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.

- 1.1 Overview of Relativity
- 1.1.1 A note on the history of the theory
- 1.1.2 The mass-energy relation
- 1.1.3 The universal speed of light
- 1.1.4 Disagreements about space and time

- 1.2 The Lorentz Transformation
- 1.2.1 The transformation formulae
- 1.2.2 Proper time and distance
- 1.2.3 Subluminal and superluminal effects
- 1.2.4 Four-vectors
- 1.2.5 Index notation
- 1.2.6 Group property

- 1.3 Relativistic Mechanics