Relativity Theory: What is needed?

1. Jul 8, 2007

Umer_Latif

I want to understand Relativity theory and the physics related to it. To gain this, what important fields of Phsyics should I master?

2. Jul 8, 2007

Schrodinger's Dog

Just try a search on the internet. It's really not heavily reliant on maths to get a basic grounding. The implications are vast but the basic ideas are fairly simple.

You'll need at least a basic grounding in physics but not some really advanced knowledge.

General relativity/special relativity, a high school student can get to grips with these at a basic level, just by surfing the web.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity

I'm not sure this helps, but then I'm not sure what you want to know and what level you're at?

3. Jul 8, 2007

chroot

Staff Emeritus
Special relativity requires nothing more sophisticated than high-school level algebra.

General relativity, on the other hand, requires master's level training in mathematics (mainly differential geometry). The conclusions of the theory are accessible to laypeople, but, unfortunately, the theory itself requires a very high degree of mathematical sophistication.

- Warren

4. Jul 13, 2007

Umer_Latif

Well, I'm a college students and I have well acquaintance with Physics and Mathematics, but I haven't read Relativity theory thoroughly. I'd try to study it and understand.

I guess one should be very good in differentiation/Integration for that?

5. Jul 13, 2007

cristo

Staff Emeritus
No, you don't need calculus, although any knowledge of maths helps; special relativity, as chroot says, is accessible with only high school algebra. General relativity, on the other hand, is normally taught as an upper undergraduate or graduate course.

6. Jul 14, 2007

neutrino

I would have pointed you to Chris Hillman's wonderful site on Relativity, but it seems he has deleted it. Even the cached pages from Google isn't useful.

7. Jul 14, 2007

robphy

I had posted some replies... but, for some reason, the text, layout, and links were corrupted. I'll try again later.
I suspect that links with * in them are troublesome for the forum software.

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
8. Jul 14, 2007

neutrino

Thanks for the link, but it's just like Google's cached pages. While we can see the homepage, all other links end up at 404.

9. Jul 14, 2007

robphy

Hmm... maybe the link is bad.. as parsed into html by the forum software.

web.archive.org/web/ * /math.ucr.edu/home/baez/RelWWW/

(no spaces around the asterisk)

[
From archive.org, I just downloaded all of the main pages, except for the popular science page, which I found via the cache of an MSN search for "Popular Science Relativity Websites". (I prefer Google... but I couldn't find the cached version of that page.)
]

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
10. Jul 14, 2007

rewebster

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
11. Jul 14, 2007

rewebster

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
12. Jul 14, 2007

rewebster

OK---lets try this, go to:

http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

and then paste:

math.ucr.edu/home/baez/relativity.html

in the 'take me back' address box

then click on 'web tutorials' or anything else to get to the Chris Hillman's 'maintained' stuff (like the RelWWW)
------------------------------

the problem with the asterisk may be with xp, not the forum---it 'looked' fine on my 'archaic' win98 system

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
13. Jul 14, 2007

robphy

So, you are saying that your posts #10 and #11 (which still contain a url with a * ) are rendered correctly (i.e., the post numbers are in a column on the right)? [If you attempt to quote those posts, you'll see the * in the url.]

They are not rendered correctly for me in FF1.5 and IE6 on WinXP.
(If the display is okay, it may not be an archaic Win98 issue, but an archaic browser issue.) At the root of it, I'm guessing it's a forum software problem [which is trying to somehow interpret the asterisk] that might not show itself as a problem on your setup.

14. Jul 14, 2007

rewebster

no--posts #10 and #11 are gone (the links anyway), but right after I posted them, they looked and worked fine for me

--------------

10 and 11 are not looking 'right' as the 'edit' (for me) and the 'quote' and 'multi-quote' are now in the 'right' column and not below (the line) and the 'report' button is in an 'in-between' column.

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
15. Jul 14, 2007

robphy

Try hitting the QUOTE button on the lower right of the post.

16. Jul 14, 2007

MaWM

The math in special relativity is pretty simple. To better appreciate it one should also have a firm grasp of basic physics. I mean easy physics I stuff, but it helps to understand it on a deep level. Otherwise, its very easy to loose the purpose and implications of relativity. "I understand the equations.. but what does this actually mean?"

17. Jul 14, 2007

rewebster

well---isn't THAT funny (funny-unusual)----the 'link' with the asterisk came up ---that is, when I hit a 'quote' on 10 or 11

18. Jul 14, 2007

robphy

I agree... but not too firm. One does have to let go of some Galilean/Newtonian intuition.

19. Jul 14, 2007

robphy

Yup, as I said.
It might be best to just delete those two posts altogether... or at least delete the URLs in an edit.

20. Jul 14, 2007

rewebster

me? or you?---either way

but, why do they (the links) show up only when the 'quote' is used?

the other link I put up works well anyway ---it stays mostly in 'the archive', but some links don't work as they may be gone or not referenced in the archive through those specific links, I guessing

--------------------------------------------

did it--when I changed it the 'format' corrected---yeah--it looks like you're right---the PF 'system' doesn't like an asterisk with back slashes on either side--or when you edited it

Last edited: Jul 14, 2007