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ERIC Number: EJ926939
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 2
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Special Relativity in Week One: 3) Introducing the Lorentz Contraction
Huggins, Elisha
Physics Teacher, v49 n5 p302-303 May 2011
This is the third of four articles on teaching special relativity in the first week of an introductory physics course. With Einstein's second postulate that the speed of light is the same to all observers, we could use the light pulse clock to introduce time dilation. But we had difficulty introducing the Lorentz contraction until we saw the movie "Time Dilation, an Experiment with Mu-Mesons" by David Frisch and James Smith. The movie demonstrates that time dilation and the Lorentz contraction are essentially two sides of the same coin. Here we take the muon's point of view for a more intuitive understanding of the Lorentz contraction, and use the results of the movie to provide an insight into the way we interpret experimental results involving special relativity.
Descriptors: Physics
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: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A