Special relativity | Einstein | Relativistic optics

Einstein 2005

Physics World January 2005. With the permission of the Institute of Physics, the Einstein 2005 special issue of their magazine Physics World is included on this site in PDF form. It includes articles about Einstein and his work.
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Special relativity

Einstein's special relativity papers

On the electrodynamics of moving bodies. English translation of Einstein's 1905 special relativity paper. Local copy | On the web | About Adobe PDF

Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy-conent?. English translation of Einstein's 1905 E = mc2 paper. Local copy | On the web | About Adobe PDF

Einstein's Miraculous Year, Contains English translations of all the five papers Einstein published in 1905, including the two above, together with useful introductions to them.

Books on special relativity

Black Holes and Time Warps, by K.S. Thorne, W.W. Norton and Company, 1994. While mostly about the general theory of relativity, chapter 1 is a non technical introduction to special relativity.

Spacetime Physics, by E.F. Taylor and J.A. Wheeler, W.H. Freeman, 2nd edition, 1992. A gentle technical treatment, emphasising the physics.

Special Relativity. From Einstein to Strings, by P.M. Schwarz and J.H. Schwarz, Cambridge University Press, 2004. A modern introduction that uses a sophisticated mathematical approach, while not losing sight of its meaning.

There Once was a Classical Theory..., by D. Morin, available online, 2004. Chapter 10 of this honours level first year text from Harvard University introduces special relativity.

Relativity. Special, General, and Cosmological, by W. Rindler, Oxford University Press, 2001. A text which has a chapter on relativistic optics, including visual appearances.

About Einstein

Subtle is the Lord, by A. Pais, Oxford University Press, 1983. A reasonably up-to-date, authoritative, scientific biography of Einstein. A hard read unless you have some scientific training, but well worth the effort if you do.

The expanded quotable Einstein, by A. Calaprice, Princeton University Press 2000. More than just a collection of Einstein quotations, this wonderful book has concise descriptions of Einsteins life and work.

The private lives of Albert Einstein, R. Highfield and P. Carter, St. Martins Press, 1995. A readable overview of the recent scholarship that has revealed previously unknown details of Einstein's life.

Einstein's Dreams, b y Alan P. Lightman, Warner Books, 1994. A novel, by a physicist, based around the idea of Einstein imagining different posible worlds.

Relativistic Visualisation

The following references are in chronological order from most recent. Please consult a librarian for assistance finding these technical publications.

Visualising special relativity, C. Savage and A. Searle, The Physicist 36, 141 (July/August 1999). Local copy | About Adobe PDF

Image shading taking into account relativistic effects, M. Chang, ACM Trans. Graphics 15, 265 (1996).

Relativistic aberration of optical phase space, K. Wolf, Journal of the Optical Society of America A 10, 1925, (1993).

Real-time relativity, W. Gekelman, Computers in Physics 5, 372 (1991).

Classroom exercises with the Terrell effect, J. Burke, American Journal of Physics 59, 912 (1991).

Retarded and apparent positions: their geometry, J. Hannay, Journal of Physics A 24, L1333 (1991).

Light in flight recording. 4: visualising optical relativistic phenomena, N. Abramson, Applied Optics 24, 3323 (1985).

Light in flight recording. 3: compensation for optical relativistic effects N. Abramson, Applied Optics 23, 4007 (1984).

Light in flight recording. 2: compensation for the limited speed of the light used for observation, N. Abramson, Applied Optics 23, 1481 (1984).

Light in flight recording. High speed holographic motion pictures of ultrafast phenomena, N. Abramson, Applied Optics 22, 215 (1983).

Programs "celeste" and "stella" for computations in special relativity: evaluation of the celestial view ... , E. Sheldon, Computer Physics Ccommunications 29, 269 (1983).

Photographing a relativistic meter stick, R. Gibbs, American Journal of Physics 48, 1056 (1980).

Two-dimensional appearance of a relativistic cube, F. Hickey, American Journal of Physics 47, 711 (1979).

Relativistic transformations of light power, J. McKinley, American Journal of Physics 47, 602 (1979).

Anticausal behaviour in the imaging of a moving object: the implications for high speed photography, K. Sala, Physical Review A 19, 2377 (1979).

Doppler redshifts in oblique approach of source and observer, J. Dykla, American Journal of Physics 47, 381 (1979).

In search of the starbow: the appearance of the starfield from a relativistic spaceship, J. McKinley, American Journal of Physics 47, 309 (1979).

Appearance of a rapidly moving sphere: a problem for undergraduates, D. Hollenbach, American Journal of Physics 44, 91 (1976).

Extraordinary shadow disappearance due to a fast moving light source, H. Lai, American Journal of Physics 43, 818 (1975).

On the apparent visual forms of relativistically moving objects, P. Mathews, Il Nuovo Cimento 12B, 168 (1972).

Geometrical appearances at relativistic speeds, G. Scott, American Journal of Physics 38, 971 (1970).

The apparent shape of rapidly moving objects in special relativity, N. McGill, Contemporary Physics 9, 33 (1968).

The geometrical appearance of large objects moving at relativistic speeds, G. Scott, American Journal of Physics 33, 534 (1965).

The visual appearance of rapidly moving objects, V. Weisskopf, Physics Today 13, 24 Sept. (1960).

Invisibility of the Lorentz contraction, J. Terrell, Physical Review 116, 1041 (1959).

The apparent shape of a relativistically moving sphere, R. Penrose, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 55, 137 (1959).

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