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Ch 5: Relativity

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn about relativity. Study concepts like space contraction, mass, energy, gravity and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

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

VideoObjective
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.

6 Lessons in Chapter 5: Relativity
Classical Relativity: Distance and Time Relation to the Observer

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.

Light and Relativity: Breakdown of Classical Relativity with Light Example

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.

Time Dilation: Description, Explanation & Examples

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.

Space Contraction: Shortening Distance for Fast Moving Objects

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.

Mass and Energy: Description and Interchangeable Relationship

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.

General and Special Relativity: Theory and Examples

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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