Bulletin of the American Physical Society
2005 APS April Meeting
Saturday–Tuesday, April 16–19, 2005; Tampa, FL
Session E5: Teaching Special and General Relativity II |
Hide Abstracts |
Sponsoring Units: FEd Chair: Paula Heron, University of Washington Room: Marriott Tampa Waterside Grand Salon G/H |
Saturday, April 16, 2005 3:30PM - 4:06PM |
E5.00001: Relativity as a General Audience Course: The Inventor's Paradox and the Explainer's Paradox Invited Speaker: Through a decade of teaching special relativity to general-audience students, I have evolved a teaching strategy that combines numerical, algebraic, and qualitative reasoning. The course treats only space-time aspects of relativity, with no mention of momentum-energy. The non-science majors taking this course leave with an understanding of relativity that is in some ways demonstrably superior to the understanding shown by physics graduate students. [Preview Abstract] |
Saturday, April 16, 2005 4:06PM - 4:42PM |
E5.00002: Computer-Based Interactive Material for Teaching Special and General Relativity Invited Speaker: Spacetime has fascinated both specialist and layman for over 100 years. Spacetime geometry is a difficult topic for student understanding despite popularizations such as Albert Einstein's \emph{Relativity} and Edwin Abbott's \emph{Flatland}. There are many reasons to create computer-based material for relativity. Special relativity is the first topic presented in modern physics. It is full of (apparent) paradoxes, and, like quantum mechanics, captivates studentsâ€™ interest in physics. Because relativity focuses on abstract concepts, visualization is especially valuable. We report the development of new simulations that allow the exploration of spacetime and the role of the observer. Special relativity examples include: visualizing simultaneity, length contraction, time dilation, and spacetime diagrams. General relativity examples include the gravitational red shift, trajectories of particles and light rays, and the observerâ€™s view in the vicinity of non-spinning black holes. Programs are available from the Open Source Physics website \texttt{http://www.opensourcephysics.org}. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE-0126439). [Preview Abstract] |
Saturday, April 16, 2005 4:42PM - 5:18PM |
E5.00003: General Relativity in the Undergraduate Physics Curriculum Invited Speaker: Einstein's theory of gravitation --- general relativity--- will shortly be a century old. At is core is one of the most beautiful and revolutionary conceptions of modern science --- the idea that gravity is the geometry of four-dimensional curved spacetime. Together with quantum theory, general relativity is one of the two most profound developments of twentieth century physics. General relativity underlies our understanding of the universe on the largest distance scales, and is central to the the explanation of such frontier astrophysical phenomena gravitational collapse,black holes, X-ray sources, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, gravitational waves, and the big bang. General relativity is the intellectual origin of many ideas in contemporary elementary particle physics such as string theory. This talk will make the case that an introduction to general relativity is naturally a part education of every undergraduate physics major, and describe a `physics first' approach to teaching at that level. The simplest physically relevant solutions of the Einstein equation, such as those representing black holes, simple cosmologies, and gravitational waves, are presented first without derivation. Their observational consequences are explored by the study of the motion of test particles and light rays in them.This brings the student to the physical phenomena as quickly aspossible. It is the part of the subject most directly connectedto classical mechanics, and requires the minimum of new mathematical ideas. The Einstein equation is introduced later to show where these geometries originate. A course for junior or senior level physics students based on theseprinciples has been part of the undergraduate curriculum at the University of California, Santa Barbara for several decades. It works. [Preview Abstract] |
Follow Us |
Engage
Become an APS Member |
My APS
Renew Membership |
Information for |
About APSThe American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics. |
© 2024 American Physical Society
| All rights reserved | Terms of Use
| Contact Us
Headquarters
1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3844
(301) 209-3200
Editorial Office
100 Motor Pkwy, Suite 110, Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 591-4000
Office of Public Affairs
529 14th St NW, Suite 1050, Washington, D.C. 20045-2001
(202) 662-8700