Mental Pictures of Space and Time: a Non-Mathematical Introduction to Special Relativity (SCE 12)

  • Day and time: Friday 11:45 - 13:15
  • Length of course: 2 terms. Autumn (10 Weeks), Spring (10 Weeks)
  • Number of places: 15
  • Start date: 09 October 2020
  • Description:

    This course presents an elementary introduction to Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity (SR) — which revolutionised scientists’ understanding of space & time — initially without using maths. The ideas in SR are often regarded as counter-intuitive and difficult to comprehend, but really they are not! We develop an intuitive understanding of SR’s concepts and results by relating them to familiar, everyday observations. In turn, we view those familiar observations in a new way. In the second (optional!) part, we look at the simple (‘O-level’) maths underlying SR. More information about the course is on the website Last year’s slides are available on that site. Although this year the class will be delivered over Zoom, I am aiming to keep the style interactive. I strongly recommend using a computer for the course — I don’t think it will work well on a smartphone.

  • Format: Lecture

  • Tutor: Richard M Young
  • My career was as a researcher and then academic in the area of Cognitive Science, with a special interest in people's mental pictures of how things work.

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