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Special relativity. I need help

  1. Dec 1, 2009 #1
    Please i am only in ks3 but i like physics. Please may someone explane the theory of special relitivity to me. Be simple but please explane in deatail
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2009 #2


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    That is asking quite a large (i.e., impossible) task for this forum. If you want, we could recommend some books to you.
  4. Dec 1, 2009 #3


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    It would help if we had some idea of how much math and physics you already know. I have no idea what "ks3" is. We have people from all over the world here and I don't think anybody here knows how all countries' educational systems are set up.
  5. Dec 1, 2009 #4

    Jonathan Scott

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    You will find it easier to look up stuff about it if you spelt "relativity" correctly (as well as "explain").

    If you look it up in Wikipedia, there is an overview article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_special_relativity" [Broken] site which looks like a nice easy introduction to relativity.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Dec 1, 2009 #5

    Jonathan Scott

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    In the UK, KS3 is "key stage 3", the first 3 years of secondary education, from ages 11-14, so that's effectively "none", although spelling is usually better than that.
  7. Dec 4, 2009 #6
    When I was your age I was in the same position. I was eager to learn about these strange theories like relativity and quantum mechanics.

    I recomend reading a book called "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene.
    He explains the theories of Special Relativity, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, then moves on to Superstring theory.

    I read this at your age, and although there isn't any maths in this book, it was still a difficult read.

    You will probably need to wait a few years before you know enough maths and physics to get stuck in to relativity for real.

    When you do your GCSEs, study hard at maths and science and then do a levels in maths and physics. This is what I did and I ended up doing a degree in physics.

    I'm hesitant to recomend textbooks, but you could ask one of you science teachers to guide you through some more advanced science and maths; for example some basic Classical Mechanics. This will keep you interested if the ks3 work is too easy.

    The most important thing is, Dont Give Up! It will be difficult, but so rewarding.
  8. Dec 4, 2009 #7


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    Here's a good introduction, written in a Q&A format:

    http://www.oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/Einstein/SRBook.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Dec 4, 2009 #8


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    In another recent thread someone suggested "Special Relativity for the School Going Child", described as an "elementary article meant for 12-15 year old schoolchildren".

    (It uses the word "lakh" which is an Indian word for "hundred thousand".)
  10. Dec 4, 2009 #9


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    I don't think special relativity requires much math to grasp, even for a 11-year-old. Actually deriving the formulas for time dilation or length contraction might require basic algebra, but a 13-year-old should definitely be able to understand it. Of course, I'm talking about basic special relativity here (things like time dilation, simultaneity, worldlines, etc), not calculations using 4-vectors or manipulations of Maxwell's equations.

    When I was 13, I searched up "introduction to special relativity" on Google and got a lot of good sites. I don't remember what they are now, but here's a good tutorial I found a few minutes ago: http://www.members.tripod.com/conduit9SR/
  11. Dec 4, 2009 #10
    I'll give you the super-short version (keep in mind what follows is wholly inadequate as an answer, and can be best understood after you have been hit in the head with a hammer two or three times):

    Relativity is the slowing down of time for an object as the speed of that object increases. When the speed of light is reached (which is impossible for anything with mass), time ceases to be.

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