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The visual appearance of objects moving at relativistic speeds is a fascinating subject. Victor Weisskopf (MIT) has a beautiful paper where the subject is discussed with great clarity: Weisskopf, V. "The Visual Appearance of Rapidly Moving Objects." Physics Today 13 (Sept. 24, 1960).

Another article on the visual appearance of rapidly moving objects, based on Weisskopf's paper and at the right level for 8.20, is: Signell, Peter. "Appearances at Relativistic Speeds." Project PHYSNET Physics Bldg. Michigan State University East Lansing, MI.

In addition, two of the world's experts in visualization of physics and mathematics have put together a Web site with fascinating visual special relativistic effects.

The American Museum of Natural History is running major exhibit on Einstein. Their Web site has a wealth of biographical information for anyone who would like to know more about the man, his philosophy and his influence on 20th century culture and politics.

The effect of special and general relativity on our Global Positioning System is nicely covered in an article called Relativity in the Global Positioning System.

Einstein's 1905 paper introducing special relativity is, historically speaking, the world's introduction to Special Relativity. Another 1905 paper, examining the photoelectric effect, earned him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Amazon logo Gamow, George. Mr Tompkins in Paperback: Comprising 'Mr Tompkins in Wonderland' and 'Mr Tompkins Explores the Atom' (Canto). By Roger Penrose (Foreword). Reissue ed. Cambridge University Press, March 26, 1993. ISBN: 9780521447713.
It is a thin and highly entertaining book exploring worlds in which the velocity of light is not so very large, and in which Planck's constant is not so very small.

2005 is the World Year of Physics, the theme of which is the centennial anniversary of Einstein's "Miracle Year" of 1905.