Study Questions - Idea 4 (Chapter 6) B. Ellman Section 005



(1) Why is Einstein's theory called the theory of "relativity"?

(2) Why do we say that light is a "wave"? What is this wave made of?

(3) What is an "Inertial Reference Frame"? Give an example of one.

(4) What is meant by the "equivalence of Inertial Frames"?

(5) Give an example of a "non-Inertial" Reference Frame.

(6) What does Galilean relativity have to say about velocities?

(7) What is an invariant?

(8) What quantities are invariant in Galilean/Newtonian mechanics? (name at least 3)

(9) What is Maxwell's theory?

(10) Describe the predicament concerning Galilean Relativity facing people around 1900? How does Maxwell's theory enter this?

(11) Describe the Michelson-Morley experiment. What was Michelson looking for? How is it related to question (6)?

(12) What is "interference" (with regard to light)?

(13) What are the two basic assumptions that Einstein proposed to solve the predicament?

(14) Which of these two ideas would Newton have agreed with?

(15) Suppose two cars are heading towards each other at 3/4 the speed of light. According to Galileo and Newton and pals, how fast would each driver say that the other is going?

(16) Now suppose that both cars have their headlights on. According to Newton and friends, how fast would the light seem to be going to the other driver?

(17) How fast would the driver in each car say his/her own light is going, within the model of Newton and pals?

(18) Now answer questions 11 through 13 using Einstein's theory!

(19) What is Lorentz (or length) contraction? Be VERY careful to specify what observer observes what!

(20) What is time dilation?

(21) Agamemnon is moving close to the speed of light relative to Klytemestra. Klytemestra measures Agamemnon's mass - what does she find?

(22) What is "rest mass"?

(23) What does "E=mc2" mean?

(24) Suppose I converted 1 kg of mass into energy in Kent. What do you think would happen?

(25) We talked a lot about twins in class - one stays on Earth and the other zooms off to some distant star at a velocity near the speed of light. Describe as best you can what happens to each twin.

(26) Why don't we observe weird relativistic effects every day when we drive down the street?

(27) How fast does light go?

(28) Does Special Relativity (Einstein's theory of Inertial Reference Frames) agree or disagree

with experiments? In other words, is it a good theory?

(29) What is "gamma"?

(30) Why can't one go the speed of light?

(31) What is the "ultimate speedlimit"?