Good special relativity book for a 10 year old?

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  • #1
Scrumhalf
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Dear forum members,

My 10 year old son intuitively figured out the concept of frames of reference. After a series of questions regarding walking down the aisle of an aircraft at x mph and how that would appear to a fellow passenger versus someone on the ground, he startled me by asking whether the photons emerging from the flashlight shone by the passenger on the plane would seem to move at 300,000 km/sec plus the speed of the plane to a terrestrial observer.

I would like to explain special relativity to him but need some help with analogies that would get the key concepts across without delving into the math (he is working on basic algebra but clearly not ready for anything serious).

Are there any books that would help me articulate in simple terms the concepts of special relativity? It does not have to be something he can read - it is more for me to read and give me ideas to communicate to him.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
atyy
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It's the same even for walking down the aisle of a plane.
 
  • #3
Scrumhalf
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It's the same even for walking down the aisle of a plane.
What is? The speed of light?

Well, I know that... :)

What I am looking for is a book that has simple explanations and analogies that would help me communicate the concepts to a 10 year old.

Thanks!
 
  • #4
bcrowell
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Two possibilities are Gardner, Relativity Simply Explained, and the relativity chapter from Hewitt, Conceptual Physics. There is only a very small amount of basic algebra in these.
 
  • #5
atyy
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I mean the addition of velocities is the same for walking down the aisle (ie. the first question he asked you). So if you answered that right, there's no need for a book until he learns algebra.
 
  • #6
JesseM
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Are there any books that would help me articulate in simple terms the concepts of special relativity? It does not have to be something he can read - it is more for me to read and give me ideas to communicate to him.
If you're looking for stuff you can read that's more conceptual than mathematical and deals with the relativity of motion, one good one would be https://www.amazon.com/dp/0226288641/?tag=pfamazon01-20&tag=pfamazon01-20...
 
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  • #7
Meir Achuz
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He might enjoy some early books by George Gamow,
"Mr. Thompkins in Wonderland".
 
  • #9
Scrumhalf
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Lots of great recommendations! I have located a couple of them in the local library and ordered a couple on Amazon. Thanks, everyone!
 

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