Geometry and Spacetime  
LPS 141B = LPS 241 = Phil 141B  = Phil 241

The course will examine a number of issues concerning the mathematical and philosophical foundations of the special theory of relativity. The emphasis throughout will be on the "geometric" approach to the theory. Considerable class time will be devoted to a careful study of Minkowskian geometry and its relations to both Euclidean and non-Euclidean (Lobatchevskian) plane geometry. (One of the nicest routes to the latter is via special relativity.)

The course will presuppose familiarity with calculus, basic linear algebra, and (for one topic) formal logic.  More advanced prior training in mathematics and/or physics will certainly be helpful.

Instructor:  David Malament, SST 757, 824-7374.  I can be reached, most reliably, by e-mail:  Office hours:  Tu-Th, 12:30 - 1:30, and by appointment.  
Course requirements: Auditors are welcome. Students who want to take the course for a grade will be asked to submit regular problem sets.
Reading: My lecture notes will serve as a text for the course. They can be downloaded here.

Course Outline with Problem Sets

All problems are from the lecture notes.  The posted due dates are still tentative. (They may have to be moved back if I fall behind schedule.)  Here are model solutions to some problems that are not assigned:

        solutions to odd-numbered problems in section 2.1

        solutions to odd-numbered problems in section 2.2

        solutions to odd-numbered problems in section 2.4

A.  Review of Needed Background Mathematics  (4 weeks)
            Problem Set #1:        2.1.2,  2.1.4,  2.1.6  (due Tuesday  1/17)
            Problem Set #2:        2.2.2,  2.2.4,  2.3.2  (due Tuesday  1/31)                                                          

            Problem Set #3:        2.4.2,  2.4.4,  2.4.6  (due Tuesday  2/7)   
B.  Minkowski Spacetime Geometry and its Physical Interpretation (4 weeks) 

            Problem Set #4:        3.1.1,  3.1.2,  3.1.3  (due Tuesday  2/14)                        

            Problem Set #5:        3.1.4,  3.1.5   (due Tuesday  2/21)                                                                                            

            Problem Set #6:        3.2.1,  3.2.2   (due Tuesday  2/28)                                                                           

            Problem Set #7:        3.3.1  or  3.4.1   (due Tuesday  3/6)                                         

C.  From Special Relativity to Non-Euclidean (Lobatchevskian) Plane Geometry (2 weeks)

             Problem Set #8:        4.1.1, 4.2.1   (due Tuesday  3/20)                                                                                                


This page has been viewed [counter] times.