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ERIC Number: EJ1000732
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Blue Road Approach to Special Relativity
Huggins, Elisha
Physics Teacher, v50 n8 p464-467 Nov 2012
In 1968, Robert Brehme wrote a carefully crafted paper on "The Advantage of Teaching Relativity with Four-Vectors." In his abstract he points out that "the emphasis on relativistic mass is both undeserved and misleading." Our approach is to find the best way to teach introductory physics in a way that includes modern physics. We have found that by starting with special relativity in the first week of the course, we establish a background we can use to introduce modern physics topics as we go along. While we agree that the four-vector formalism for relativity is elegant, it is clearly inappropriate in a physics course where we have not even discussed the concept of a coordinate system. Instead, we base all our discussion on the principle of relativity itself, which we feel may be a more basic concept than Minkowski's four vectors.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A