This is an intermediate textbook on special relativity written with mainly
physics juniors and seniors in mind. However, a sophomore with a strong background in calculus and calculus-based introductory physics, or a grad- uate student who feels that (s)he lacks the necessary knowledge in special relativity, can also benefit from the book. Instructors will find a multitude of carefully chosen illustrative examples and close to three hundred end-of- chapter problems—whose detailed solutions are available upon purchase or adoption—extremely helpful pedagogical tools for teaching relativity.
Why write another special relativity textbook when there are so many (some excellent) books already available? The answer is (a) the approach and (b) the detailed coverage of topics that are only glossed over in the existing books. The approach is the emphasis and abundant use of the Lorentz transformation. The topics, emphasized in this book but mentioned only in passing in many others, include relativistic photography, interstellar travel (encompassing a detailed discussion of ground-based laser propulsion), spacetime triangle inequality and the proof of the fact that acceleration reduces aging, connection between special relativity, spin, and antimatter, etc.
At the heart of spacial relativity lies the Lorentz transformation. While length contraction and time dilation are less abstract, they can lead to “obvious” results which turn out to be incorrect. Lorentz transformation, on the other hand, once mastered and applied correctly, will always yield the right results, even though it is more abstract. This book relies almost exclusively on Lorentz transformations, and applies them to a large number of situations, some ap- pearing for the first time in this book. To truly appreciate the relevance and power of Lorentz transformations, the novice needs to see not only their nu-
merous applications, but also their
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