8.20 | January IAP 2021 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Special Relativity

Video Lectures

Week 1: Foundations of Special Relativity

We start with an introduction, the organizational structure of the course, and dive into a discussion of waves, light, and the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Week 2: Spacetime in Special Relativity

In the second week, we increase the speed and cover time dilation and length contraction. We introduce spacetime diagrams, a useful tool to discuss paradoxes in special relativity.

Week 3: Kinematics in Special Relativity

Realizing that space and time together describe events, we introduce 4-vectors and the algebra of Lorentz transformations. The concepts of velocity, momentum, and energy are introduced using a 4-vector notation and then used to describe collisions.

Week 4: Beyond Special Relativity

In the last week, we look beyond the core content of special relativity with a discussion of tests and applications of special relativity including particle physics, GPS, and electromagnetism, and we take a glance towards general relativity. The course concludes with a review.

Course Info

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