Rob Louw, chemical engineer

This course will discuss Einstein’s E=mc2. Participants will be introduced to the concept of reference frames and the invariance of the laws of physics. It will cover time dilation, length contraction and the Doppler effect, followed by the Lorentz coordinate and velocity transforms which form the basis of all relativistic (spacetime) science, as well as key aspects of relativistic particle physics. Relativistic momentum and kinetic energy will be examined and used to derive the famous E=mc2 equation. Next the twin paradox will be looked at. The course ends with a discussion of special relativity in nature and where science is being put to good use. The presentation will be supported by props and experiments designed to amplify the course content as well as YouTube presentations by experts in the field of special relativity.


LECTURE TITLES (Click on the lecture title to see the slide show)

1. Special relativity

2. Key special relativity phenomena

3. Special relativity in nature


Recommended reading

Young, Hugh D and Freedman Roger A. 2012. (or more recent International editions). University Physics with modern physics. San Francisco: Pearson.

 Feynman Richard P. (Originally prepared for publication by Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands). 2011. Six Not So Easy Pieces.   London: Penguin

 Cox, Brian and Forshaw, Jeff. 2010. Why Does E = mc2?  Boston: Da Capo Press

 Cox, Brian and Cohen, Andrew. 2017. Forces of Nature. London: William Collins


Date: Monday 6–Wednesday 8 January
Time: 11.15 am
COURSE FEES: Full R354 Staff & Students R177
Venue: LT1 Kramer Law Building UCT