Special Relativity: For the Enthusiastic Beginner
This book is written for high school and college students learning about special relativity for the first time. It will appeal to the reader who has a healthy level of enthusiasm for understanding how and why the various results of special relativity come about.
All of the standard introductory topics in special relativity are covered: historical motivation, loss of simultaneity, time dilation, length contraction, velocity addition, Lorentz transformations, Minkowski diagrams, causality, Doppler effect, energy/momentum, collisions/decays, force, and 4-vectors. Additionally, the last chapter provides a brief introduction to the basic ideas of general relativity, including the equivalence principle, gravitational time dilation, and accelerating reference frames.
The book features more than 100 worked-out problems in the form of examples in the text and solved problems at the end of each chapter. These problems, along with the discussions in the text, will be a valuable resource in any course on special relativity. The numerous examples also make this book ideal for self-study.
Very little physics background is assumed (essentially none in the first half of the book). An intriguing aspect of special relativity is that it is challenging due to its inherent strangeness, as opposed to a heavy set of physics prerequisites. Likewise for the math prerequisite: calculus is used on a few occasions, but it is not essential to the overall flow of the book.
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