Updated: 14 January 2004.
Monday 1/12: Length contraction. Proper length is measured at both ends at the same time. Beta, gamma, Length Contraction and Time Dilation. Pole vaulter vs. the farmer problem. Train and platform -- at relativistic speeds, your notion of simultanity goes right out the window.
Tuesday 1/13: Time dilation. Proper time is a time interval that is measured in the same place. A Light Year is the distance that light travels in a year. Alpha Centauri is 4.2 LY from Earth (proper length). Those on a starship see a different distance and experience a different time. But both think the other observer is moving at v < c. Topic 1 assigned. (Pages 11-25 are online here --or-- the entire handout in .pdf format here.)
Monday 1/5: Office hours.
Tuesday 1/6: Class begins. "The Big Picture." We are the wrong size to have experience and intrinsiccommon sense regarding the extreme and confusing world of Modern Physics. To one significant figure, we are all 2 meters high. To the nearest order of magnitude, we are all 1 meter high and have a mass of 100 kg and live for 100 years. We are not electrons inside an atom or drive cars at 90% the speed of light.
Thursday 1/8: Quickie review of Motion and Kinematic Equations for Constant Acceleration. Classical (Galilean/Newtonian) Relativity. Distribute syllabus.
Friday 1/9: Review of Maxwell and his Four Equations and the Electromagnetic Spectrum.