Module Identifier PH21010 Module Title RELATIVITY & MECHANICS Academic Year 2000/2001 Co-ordinator Dr Eleri Pryse Semester Semester 1 Other staff Dr Keith Birkinshaw, Professor Leonard Kersley Pre-Requisite Core Physics Modules at Level 1 Course delivery Lecture 20 lectures Seminars / Tutorials 2 seminars/workshops/exercise classes; 2 tutorials Assessment Exam End of Semester Examinations 70% Course work Example Sheets Coursework Deadlines (by Week of Semester): Example Sheets 1, 2 and 5 Weeks 2, 3 & 6 Example Sheets 6,7 and 10 Weeks 7,8 & 11 30%

Module description
Classical mechanics is a very old subject with many of its principles being established by Sir Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century, yet it forms a strong foundation to modern physics. It aims to predict the behaviour of systems on the basis of certain postulates that are tested by experimental evidence. Classical mechancis has proved very successful for bodies moving at low speeds but is unable to describe phenomena involving speeds approaching that of light and in this respect it has been superseded by relativity. The module aims to describe some of the fundamental concepts of classical mechanics, and basic principles of relativity.

Learning outcomes
After taking this module students should be able to:

• understand the basic principles of the special and general theories of relativity and be able to answer relevant problems thereon.
• understand and answer problems on damped and forced oscillatory systems, simple coupled systems and rotating bodies.
• apply Lagrange's equations to simple physical systems.

Video on Optical Interference

Outline syllabus
RELATIVITY

Special theory
Lorentz transformation; relativistic interval; Minkowski diagram; causality.
Transformation of velocities.
Relativistic optics: aberration of light; Doppler effect.
Relativistic dynamics: E=mc2; energy-momentum transformations and four-vector.
Compton scattering.

General theory
Inertial and gravitational mass; Principle of Equivalence.
Gravitational redshift; Clocks in a gravitational field.
Einstein's theory of gravity; geodesics; non-Euclidean space-time.
The Schwarzschild solution; black holes.

MECHANICS

Harmonic motion: revision of simple harmonic motion, damped and forced harmonic motion.
Coupled osciallators.
Rotational motion: angular momentum and torque, moment of inertia; conservation of angular momentum, gyroscopic motion.
Introduction to Lagrangian mechanics.