What is relativity?
Special relativity
General relativity
Albert Einstein
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Special Relativity:
what you as
engineer want to know!

Einstein's theory of special relativity, i.e. the dynamics of objects in linear motion at very high speed, hit the world in 1905. Very soon, there were some controversies about the theory, especially about the apparent paradoxes that the special theory introduced.

Special relativity - the speed of light is only constant in free space Special relativity claims that the speed of light is a universal constant, no matter who measures it. This is only true in a vacuum in free space. The speed of light is different in different materials.

The rainbow shown on the right is due to the speed of light being different in air and in water droplets. (Credit: Wikipedia)

The links at the end of this page will send you to pages with guidelines for downloading free technical articles on Einstein's special theory. The following topics are covered in depth:
  • Space-time intervals
  • Velocity time dilation
  • Lorentz contraction
  • Lorentz transformation
  • Relativistic mass, energy and momentum
  • Relativistic Doppler shift
  • Linear acceleration
  • The last bullet bridges the (considerable) gap between the special and the general theory of relativity. Acceleration is strictly speaking not part of the special theory, but it contains a lot of interesting information.

    To read more, please click on one of the links below. For first time reading, it is recommended that you read in the order in which they appear here.

    Right-click and download PDF: Introduction to Relativity

    This introduction to relativity addresses both special and general relativity. It is written for engineers, in "engineering language", as far as possible.

    Inertial Movement

    Einstein's special relativity must be well understood before you can attempt general relativity. This section lays the required technical foundation.

    Linear Acceleration Linear acceleration is not quite part of Einstein's special theory of relativity, but it serves as somewhat of a link to his general theory of relativity.

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