Lectures on Special Relativity


  • M. G. Bowler, Department of Nuclear Physics, Oxford University, UK

The aim of the book is to provide a clear, concise and self-contained discussion of both the structure of the theory of special relativity and its physical content. The point of view is that of a practising physicist who uses relativity daily: relativity is a branch of physics and is regarded as being neither mathematics nor philosophy. Particular care has been taken to elucidate those difficulties, conceptual rather than mathematical, which invariably snare the unwary or inexperienced. The material is liberally illustrated with real examples and problems drawn from both high energy physics and from astrophysics.
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For undergraduates reading physics and other sciences with a mathematical base.


Book information

  • Published: August 1986
  • Imprint: PERGAMON
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-033938-2


There are many introductory texts on special relativity. Why choose this one? The book arose from lectures to second-year undergraduates at Oxford, and is one of the most up-to-date I have seen. The problems are of value in making the student think beyond the text...The emphasis on aspects of accelerator/particle physics is very good...I therefore strongly recommend this book to physics students.
Contemporary Physics, Volume 28, Number 1

This seventy-page booklet contains most of the essentials of special relativity for a working physicist.
Mathematical Reviews

Table of Contents

What is relativity? The Lorentz transformations. Time dilation and Lorentz contraction. Invariants, 4-vectors and covariance. Momentum, energy, kinematics and dynamics. Tricks of the trade. Some aspects of acceleration. Things that go faster than light. Appendix: Maxwell's equations. Index.