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written by Joe Wolfe and George Hatsidimitris
This animation-based tutorial explores the topics raised as consequences of the constant speed of light.  This page covers time dilation, length contraction, and simultaneity in differing inertial reference frames. The Einstein Light project is a qualitative introduction to relativity, developed for novice learners and built around the framework of Flash media files with narration, video, and animation.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for a link to "Light Clock" an editor-recommended simulation that illustrates the principle of time dilation in a way that beginners to relativity can comprehend.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Relativity
- Special Relativity
= Simultaneity
= Time Dilation
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended User:
Learner
Formats:
text/html
application/flash
image/gif
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2005 School of Physics UNSW
Keywords:
Einstein, inertial reference frame, length contration, relative motion, relativity, simultaneity, special relativity, time dilation
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created January 9, 2008 by Christopher Bares
Record Updated:
June 28, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
February 12, 2007

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 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.
  • 9-12: 4F/H3c. In empty space, all electromagnetic waves move at the same speed—the "speed of light."

10. Historical Perspectives

10C. Relating Matter & Energy and Time & Space
  • 9-12: 10C/H1. As a young man, Albert Einstein, a German scientist, formulated the special theory of relativity, which brought about revolutionary changes in human understanding of nature. Among the counterintuitive ideas of special relativity is that the speed of light is the same for all observers no matter how they or the light source happen to be moving. In addition, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
  • 9-12: 10C/H5. Einstein's development of the theories of special and general relativity ranks as one of the greatest human accomplishments in all of history. Many predictions from the theories have been confirmed on both atomic and astronomical scales. Still, the search continues for an even more powerful theory of the architecture of the universe.
  • 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.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
J. Wolfe and G. Hatsidimitris, (2005), WWW Document, (http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm).
AJP/PRST-PER
J. Wolfe and G. Hatsidimitris, Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity (2005), <http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm>.
APA Format
Wolfe, J., & Hatsidimitris, G. (2007, February 12). Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity. Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm
Chicago Format
Wolfe, Joe, and George Hatsidimitris. Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity. February 12, 2007. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm (accessed 22 August 2014).
MLA Format
Wolfe, Joe, and George Hatsidimitris. Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity. 2005. 12 Feb. 2007. 22 Aug. 2014 <http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Joe Wolfe and George Hatsidimitris", Title = {Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {22 August 2014}, Month = {February 12, 2007}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%A Joe Wolfe
%A George Hatsidimitris
%T Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity
%D February 12, 2007
%U http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Wolfe, Joe
%A Hatsidimitris, George
%D February 12, 2007
%T Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity
%V 2014
%N 22 August 2014
%8 February 12, 2007
%9 text/html
%U http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/jw/module4_time_dilation.htm


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Einstein Light: Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Simultaneity:

Same topic as Light Clock

A simple simulation of two light clocks (one at rest and the other moving) that illustrates the principle of time dilation in a manner comprehensible to novice learners. Users can change the speed of the moving clock to see the reciprocal nature of the time dilation effect.

relation by Caroline Hall

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