1C: Special Relativity &
the Physics of Light
Feynman
Simplified 1C covers the 3rd
quarter of the
freshman course of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The
topics we explore include:
Einstein’s
Theory of Special
Relativity
 The Principle of Relativity
 What Motivated Special Relativity?
 The Lorentz Transformation
 Length Contraction & Time Dilation
 E=mc2 & Simultaneity
 Light Cones & Causality
 Paradoxes, Puzzles, & Philosophy
The Physics of Light, including:
 Geometric Optics
 The Principle of Least Time
 Interference & Diffraction
 Feynman Sum Over Histories
 Refraction & Polarization
 Electromagnetic Radiation
 Light Scattering
 Relativistic Effects on Light
Excerpt:
The Starships & String Paradox
Two
Federation starships, at rest alongside a space dock, are tied together
with a string, represented by the solid line at the bottom of Figure
283. Both starships face the same direction, and are separated by a
distance L; L is also the length of the string.
Figure 283 Starships at Space Dock
At time
t = 0, GO signals (dotted
lines) from the space dock arrive at
the antennas on the tail fins of each starship. Both ships immediately
blast off with constant acceleration, and both stop accelerating when
their velocities relative to the space dock equal v, a velocity close
to the speed of light.
Our question is: What happens to the string?
