
BF:

Spacetime Physics

Location:

SS Ballroom ABC 
Date:

Monday, Aug.01 
Time:

1:00PM  2:30PM

Presider:

Wolfgang Christian,

CoPresiders(s):

None

Equipment:

N/A



BF01:

Completing John Wheeler's Vision: Undergraduate General Relativity

Location:

SS Ballroom ABC 
Date:

Monday, Aug.01 
Time:

1:00PM  1:30PM

Author:

Edwin F. Taylor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
7816467775, eftaylor@mit.edu

CoAuthor(s):

None

Abstract:

John Archibald Wheeler was a radical conservative: Take the laws of physics seriously, then drive them to their limits. He drove general relativity to its limits with the black hole, our "little jugged apocalypse." Wheeler's Rules of Writing include "Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!" For undergraduate general relativity this means (1) Describe curved spacetime with the metric instead of the field equations, which reduces required mathematics to simple calculus. (2) Command the moving stone to obey the Principle of Maximal Aging, a simple extension of the Twin "Paradox." A second edition of Exploring Black Holes with cosmologist Edmund Bertschinger treats the wealth of recent cosmological observations and repairs the first edition's neglect of the dark side of General Covariance: We can choose global coordinates with (almost) complete freedom, so they need have no direct relation to physical measurements and observations.

Footnotes:

None



BF02:

Einstein for Everyone?

Location:

SS Ballroom ABC 
Date:

Monday, Aug.01 
Time:

1:30PM  2:00PM

Author:

Anne J. Cox, Eckerd College
7278648435, coxaj@eckerd.edu

CoAuthor(s):

None

Abstract:

Special relativity for the nonscience student: In an introductory freshman seminar course “Einstein for Everyone” Yes! We know that the physics of special relativity does not require mathematics beyond high school trigonometry, but how often do we offer nonscientists the chance to explore the intuitive and nonintuitive implications of the ideas at the core of spacetime physics? Using one course as an example, we will explore questions of its depth of coverage and its role in the curriculum. This will include examples of sample assignments, student projects as well as simulations that stand at the heart of the course and serve as the course "laboratory."

Footnotes:

None



BF03:

Visual Aids for Teaching Special Relativity

Location:

SS Ballroom ABC 
Date:

Monday, Aug.01 
Time:

2:00PM  2:30PM

Author:

Thomas A. Moore, Pomona College
9096216474, tmoore@pomona.edu

CoAuthor(s):

None

Abstract:

In my experience, successfully teaching special relativity to introductory students is much easier if one extensively uses (1) the geometric analogy for spacetime, and (2) visual aids based on that analogy, including (but not limited to) multipleobserver spacetime diagrams. In this presentation, I will describe some of these visual aids and how such tools can help students reason more intuitively about relativity and thus avoid many common errors and misconceptions, and describe resources one can use in special relativity courses at any level.

Footnotes:

None


