8.20 | January IAP 2021 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Special Relativity


Main Textbooks

[French] French, Anthony Philip. Special Relativity. 1st ed. W. W. Norton & Company, 1968. ISBN: 9780393097931.

[Resnick] Resnick, Robert. Introduction to Special Relativity. 1st ed. Wiley, 1968. ISBN: 9780471717256.

Week 1 Resnick, Chapter 1    
French, Chapter 2 

Papers of the week: 

Michelson, Albert A. and Edward W. Morley. “On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether”. American Journal of Science, Vol. s3–34, Issue 203, pp. 333–345 (1887).   
Einstein, Albert. “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”. Annalen der Physik, Vol. 17, pp. 891–921 (1905).

Week 2 Resnick, Chapter 2    
French, Chapters 3 and 4 

Paper of the week:  

Chou, C. W., D. B. Hume, T. Rosenband, and D. J. Wineland. “Optical Clocks and Relativity.” Science, Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1630–1633 (2010).

Week 3 Resnick, Chapter 3    
French, Chapters 5–7 

Papers of the week:  

Mandelberg, Hirsch I. and Louis Witten. “Experimental Verification of the Relativistic Doppler Effect.” Journal of the Optical Society of America, Vol. 52, Issue 5, pp. 529–535 (1962).  
Einstein, Albert. “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy-Content?” (PDF) (1905).

Week 4 Resnick, Chapter 4    
French, Chapter 8

Paper of the week: 

Einstein, Albert. “On the Influence of Gravitation on the Propagation of Light.” (PDF) Annalen der Physik, Vol. 35, pp. 898–908 (1911).

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2021
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Problem Sets with Solutions
Exams with Solutions