Highgrove Education

Special Relativity

In this course you will learn about Einstein’s exciting and ground-breaking Special Theory of Relativity. We will start by looking at frames of reference and Galilean transformations, then explore the idea that space and time are intertwined (space-time) and that the speed at which an object is moving affects time and length. We will discuss Lorentz transformations and derive formulas for time dilation and length contraction. Simultaneity of events and various “paradoxes” will be discussed in detail, such as the “twins paradox”. You will then find out about the importance and applications of Special Relativity to particle Physics. Finally, we will then look at relativistic momentum and mass-energy relations.

Key Information

COURSE SYLLABUS

TEACHER PROFILE

Access Course Enrolment:
  • Enrolment in our pre-GCSE or pre-A level access course.
  • Access to our self-study materials and platform, live class lessons, and individual teacher support in Office Hours.
  • Weekly teacher-marked homework.
  • Half termly reports.
  • Support from our SENDCo for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, including assessment for access arrangement entitlement.
  • Support with English for pupils whose first language is not English.
  • A Highgrove Education Office365 account, including Teams, SharePoint and a school email
DepartmentScience
TeacherDr Lampros Andrinopoulos, Physics and Mathematics Teacher
Course Length10 weeks 
Live LessonsOne 45-minute lesson per week
HomeworkApproximately half an hour a week 
ExaminationNone 
Entry RequirementsPupils must be taking Physics at AS or A level, or pass an entry test to check their level of physics prior to joining this elective.

Course Syllabus

Lesson 1Frames of reference, Galilean transformations and time dilation
Lesson 2Twin paradox, length contraction, Lorentz transformations
Lesson 3Pole in barn paradox, simultaneity and transformation of velocities 
Lesson 4Relativistic Doppler effect
Lesson 5Relativistic momentum and energy
Lesson 6Relativistic momentum and energy; Compton scattering 
Lesson 7Lorentz transformations for energy and momentum; relativistic forces
Lesson 8Electromagnetism 
Lesson 9Michelson-Morley experiment; recap on SR 
Lesson 10Four-vectors and ideas from General Relativity

Teacher Profile

Dr Lampros Andrinopoulos studied a Master’s in Physics with Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, where he also completed his PhD on dispersion interactions in density functional theory. He earned his teaching qualification (PGCE) in 2015 from Canterbury Christ Church University and has taught in a variety of schools since then, including Latymer, St Paul’s Girls’ School, and Harrow School Online.