8.20 Introduction to Special Relativity

January (IAP) 2005

Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Course Highlights

This course features readings, assignments, and exams. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

Course Description

This course introduces the basic ideas and equations of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. If you have hoped to understand the physics of Lorentz contraction, time dilation, the "twin paradox", and E=mc2, you're in the right place.


Prof. Knuteson wishes to acknowledge that this course was originally designed and taught by Prof. Robert Jaffe.

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Prof. Bruce Knuteson

Course Meeting Times

Nineteen sessions for 4 weeks
1.5 hours / session

Optional Recitations:
Two sessions / week
1 hour / session



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