What would it be like to travel at the speed of light and directly experience the effects of relativistic speed? This website, developed by a theoretical astrophysicist, features a collection of computer models designed to help learners visualize special and general relativity. The resources are presented in cross-linked modules that provide background information and links to related reference material. Topics include "Motion near the cosmic speed limit", "Through the city at nearly the speed of light", "Step by step into a Black Hole", "Flight through a wormhole", "Light deflection near neutron stars", and more.
Of particular note is that the modules address a concept from differing points of view. For example, one module invokes a virtual world where an observer experiences relativistic phenomena, while a related module shows astronomical observations of the same phenomena in reality. This resource is appropriate for high school, undergraduate education, and general public uses. It does not address the theory behind the models; rather, is intended to supplement instruction.
Please note that this resource requires
black hole, curved spacetime, length contraction, light speed simulation, modeling relativity, relativistic effects, relativity models, relativity simulation, speed of light, time dilation
Metadata instance created
April 29, 2007
by Amin Parnian
July 13, 2012
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
January 13, 2012
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4A. The Universe
9-12: 4A/H4. Mathematical models and computer simulations are used in studying evidence from many sources in order to form a scientific account of the universe.
9-12: 4F/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all motion.
10. Historical Perspectives
10C. Relating Matter & Energy and Time & Space
9-12: 10C/H3. The special theory of relativity is best known for stating that any form of energy has mass, and that matter itself is a form of energy. Even a tiny amount of matter holds an enormous amount of energy. This relationship is described in the famous relativity equation E = mc2, in which the c in the equation stands for the immense speed of light.
9-12: 10C/H4. A decade after Einstein developed the special theory of relativity, he proposed the general theory of relativity, which pictures Newton's gravitational force as a distortion of space and time.
9-12: 10C/H6. Under everyday situations, most of the predictions of special relativity are nearly identical to those of classical mechanics. The more counterintuitive predictions of special relativity occur in situations that humans do not typically experience.
11. Common Themes
9-12: 11B/H1a. A mathematical model uses rules and relationships to describe and predict objects and events in the real world.
9-12: 11B/H1b. A mathematical model may give insight about how something really works or may fit observations very well without any intuitive meaning.
9-12: 11B/H2. Computers have greatly improved the power and use of mathematical models by performing computations that are very long, very complicated, or repetitive. Therefore, computers can reveal the consequences of applying complex rules or of changing the rules. The graphic capabilities of computers make them useful in the design and simulated testing of devices and structures and in the simulation of complicated processes.
6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
%0 Electronic Source %A Kraus, Ute %A Zahn, Corvin %D January 13, 2012 %T Space Time Travel -- Relativity Visualized %V 2014 %N 11 March 2014 %8 January 13, 2012 %9 video/quicktime %U http://www.spacetimetravel.org/
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