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8.033 Relativity, Fall 2003

The behavior of light in the Ether and Relativity theories.
In the Ether Theory, light moves with speed c relative to the ether. In Relativity, the speed of light, c, takes the same value in all frames. The graph illustrates the two situations. (Graph by Prof. Saul Rappaport.)

Highlights of this Course

This course includes the full set of problem sets with solutions, quizzes with solutions, and a selection of course handouts.

Course Description

Relativity is normally taken by physics majors in their sophomore year. Topics include: Einstein's postulates; consequences for simultaneity, time dilation, length contraction, clock synchronization; Lorentz transformation; relativistic effects and paradoxes; Minkowski diagrams; invariants and four-vectors; momentum, energy and mass; and particle collisions. Also covered is: Relativity and electricity; Coulomb's law; and magnetic fields. Brief introduction to Newtonian cosmology. There is also an introduction to some concepts of General Relativity; principle of equivalence; the Schwarzchild metric; gravitational red shift, particle and light trajectories, geodesics, and Shapiro delay.


Prof. Saul Rappaport

Course Meeting Times

Three sessions / week
1 hour / session

Two sessions / week
1 hour / session



Additional Features

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