About This Chapter
Relativity - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
Most simply put, relativity is the dependence of things upon each other. When you hear about relativity, you may think of Albert Einstein. Einstein's theory of relativity is well-known and respected. However, this theory alone doesn't sum up relativity or how it works, and knowing it only provides you a minimum amount of information about relativity. As you will learn in this chapter, there are a lot of different elements and concepts related to relativity that you need to understand in order to grasp the full idea of what it is. Our instructor will take you through lessons that will help you understand the basic foundations of relativity and how it relates to everyday life. Some of the things that you will learn in these lessons include:
- Distance and time in relativity
- What classical relativity is
- The role of light in the breakdown of classical relativity
- The slowdown of time for a fast-moving object
- The shortening of distance for slow-moving objects
- What special relativity is
|Classical Relativity: Distance and Time Relation to the Observer||Discover how distance and time are relative to the observer.|
|Light and Relativity: Breakdown of Classical Relativity with Light Example||Examine how at fast speeds classic relativity breaks down.|
|Time Dilation: Description, Explanation & Examples||Get an explanation of the concept of time dilation.|
|Space Contraction: Shortening Distance for Fast Moving Objects||Explore the concept of space contraction .|
|Mass and Energy: Description and Interchangeable Relationship||Study the relationship of mass and energy according to the theory of relativity.|
|General and Special Relativity: Theory and Examples||Take a look at general and special relativity to learn how gravity comes to play in the idea of relativity.|
1. Classical Relativity: Distance and Time Relation to the Observer
It is not enough to ask how fast something is moving. We must ask how fast something is moving relative to something else. This lesson describes how classical relativity is used to explain how speed is relative to the state of motion of the object and the observer. Examples are used to help understand classical relativity.
2. Light and Relativity: Breakdown of Classical Relativity with Light Example
The speed of light is constant regardless of the source of the light or the position of the observer. However, the components of speed - distance and time - are relative to speed. This lesson uses examples to explain how the relativity of distance and time accounts for the constant speed of light.
3. Time Dilation: Description, Explanation & Examples
Time slows down for objects in motion. While this effect is not noticeable in everyday experience, it becomes apparent at speeds approaching the speed of light. This lesson defines this phenomenon as time dilation. Examples are used to help explain how time is relative to speed.
4. Space Contraction: Shortening Distance for Fast Moving Objects
The length of a moving object decreases in the same direction it travels. This phenomenon is referred to as space or length contraction. Scientists have proven that space contraction occurs and becomes more prominent at speeds close to the speed of light. This lesson uses examples to explain space contraction and describes how space contraction accounts, in part, for the constant speed of light.
5. Mass and Energy: Description and Interchangeable Relationship
Einstein used E = mc^2 to prove that mass and energy are relative to each other. This lesson describes how energy can be converted into mass and mass into energy. Experimental results from particle accelerators are used to demonstrate the relative nature of mass and energy.
6. General and Special Relativity: Theory and Examples
Special relativity accounts for the constant speed of light in the absence of surrounding mass. General relativity utilizes the concept of space-time to explain the effect of gravity on the speed of light. This lesson compares special and general relativity and provides examples of how the speed of light is affected by gravity.
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