IBDP Physics Chapter 9 Notes

Relativity Theory

STUDY NOTES FOR physics CHAPTER 9 – Relativity Theory

These notes have specially been curated by expert teachers to simplify and enlighten concepts given in IBDP Physics HL and SL. The notes are comprehensive in nature and are sufficient to study the chapter in depth and one need not look for other resources beyond the notes provided on our website which can be accessed for free. The notes for Relativity IBDP Physics are available on our official website and can be downloaded for free. You are one click away from obtaining all that you need to score well in IB Physics HL and SL. 

These notes have specially been curated by expert teachers to simplify and enlighten concepts given in IBDP Physics HL and SL. The notes are comprehensive in nature and are sufficient to study the chapter in depth and one need not look for other resources beyond the notes provided on our website which can be accessed for free. The notes for Mechanics IBDP Physics are available on our official website and can be downloaded for free. You are one click away from obtaining all that you need to score well in IB Physics HL and SL.

The curriculum for Physics IBDP is designed in such a way to bring students and readers alike to the frontiers of modern science and elevate the spirit of scientific inquiry in their minds. The topics in the syllabus range from the ancient science of the Greeks to modern disciplines like Atomic and Astrophysics, which makes the students aware of the entire spectrum of the discoveries and advances in Physics alongside the rationale and its purpose. As such the chapters are divided by classical and modern distinctions: classical chapters include Newtonian Mechanics describe the original theories of motion and movement, Thermodynamics talk about our original assumptions of ideal gas and principles of heat and temperature, while Electrodynamics cover the interconnected universe of electricity, magnetism and electromagnetic waves, and the various properties and phenomena associated with them.

In contrast lies the topics of Modern Science, ranging from Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics to the more advanced study of motion in Einstein’s Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. A complete understanding of these topics will render any reader with the amazing ability to apply Physics to every corner of life, ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary; prepare them prepare them for only a future in an advanced scientific discipline, but also in fields like Economics, Finance and Technology, all of which require a scientific mindset at their core.

The curriculum for Physics IBDP is designed in such a way to bring students and readers alike to the frontiers of modern science and arouse the spirit of scientific inquiry in their minds. The topics in the syllabus range from the ancient science of the Greeks to modern disciplines like Atomic and Astrophysics, which makes the students aware of the entire spectrum of the discoveries and advances in Physics as well as the rationale and need behind them. As such the chapters are divided by classical and modern distinctions: Newtonian Mechanics describe the original theories of motion and movement, Thermodynamics talk about our original assumptions of ideal gas and principles of heat and temperature, while Electrodynamics cover the interconnected universe of electricity, magnetism and electromagnetic waves, and the various properties and phenomena associated with them.

In contrast lies the topics of Modern Science, ranging from Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics to the more advanced study of motion in Einstein’s Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. A complete understanding of these topics will render any reader with the amazing ability to apply Physics to every corner of life, ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary; as well as assuredly prepare them not only for a future in an advanced scientific discipline, but also in fields like Economics, Finance and Technology, all of which require a scientific mindset at their core. 

In this chapter of Relativity, we begin with showing how our classical understanding of motion, where we assume space and time to be absolute in accordance with Newton’s Laws is false, and leads to various paradoxes in and violations of the laws of Physics. Galilean transformations which govern Newtonian Mechanics are now replaced with Lorentz transformations governing relativistic motion, where we assume the basic postulate that the speed of light is a universal constant in all frames of reference.

We then consider spacetime diagrams for plotting relativistic trajectories, highlighting various phenomena like length contraction, time dilation and violation of simultaneity, experimentally observed facts which do not follow from classical laws of motion.