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Length Contraction

Lesson 1: Relativity - What is it?

  1. Fermilab's Time Dilation Challenge.
  2. The Basics of Relativity (6 seconds)
  3. The Relativity Game - Challenge what you know!

Note: For Fermilab's Time Dilation Challenge and The Relativity Game, you need Shockwave. You may painlessly Download Shockwave here if you do not have it.

Lesson 2: Time Dilation

  1. The equation.
  2. Where does that come from?
  3. I still don't get it! Give me the basketball analogy.
  4. So what? There's an equation. How do I use the equation in the game?
  5. Practice Problems.
  6. Examples to aid your practice.

Lesson 3: Length Contraction

  1. The equation.
  2. Where does that come from?
  3. I still don't get it! Give me the pole and the barn analogy.
  4. So what? There's an equation. How do I use the equation in the game?
  5. Practice Problems.
  6. Examples to aid your practice.

Lesson 4: Relativistic Mass

  1. The equation.
  2. Where does that come from?
  3. I still don't get it! Give me the space pool analogy.
  4. So what? There's an equation. How do I use the equation in the game?
  5. Practice Problems.
  6. Examples to aid your practice.

How did the mover measure the distance to Alpha Centuri to be 3.46 light years?

The ship, seeing Alpha Centuri traveling at it with a speed of 50% c, believes that light would make the trip in half the time it took the ship (light travels twice as fast). If we divide the time for the ship to make the trip in half, we get:

(0.5)(6.928202 years) = 3.46 years.

Therefore, the mover believes that Alpha Centuri is 3.46 light years away from earth, not 4.0 light years as measured in the stationary frame.

Back to Alpha Centuri example

Lesson 3: Length Contraction

  1. The equation.
  2. Where does that come from?
  3. I still don't get it! Give me the Alpha Centuri example.
  4. So what? There's an equation. How do I use the equation in the game?
  5. Practice Problems.
  6. Examples to aid your practice.

 

 

 


© Brian Wegley, 1998
Comments and suggestions can be sent by e-mail to
Brian Wegley of Glenbrook South High School..
This page last updated on 7/23/98.