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ERIC Number: EJ1044171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
A Simple Derivation of Time Dilation and Length Contraction in Special Relativity
Behroozi, Fred
Physics Teacher, v52 n7 p410-412 Oct 2014
Undergraduate physics majors typically begin their study of modern physics with special relativity. It is here that physics students first encounter the counterintuitive concepts of time dilation and length contraction. Unfortunately, the derivations of these results are often cloaked in several layers of analysis that render them rather mysterious and otherworldly for novice students. Here we show how a very simple thought experiment leads directly to a student-friendly derivation of time dilation and length contraction. The only assumption needed is the constancy of the speed of light.
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: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A