STEM Lessons for College Students

12. Introduction to Relativity

For more information about Professor Shankar’s book based on the lectures from this course, Fundamentals of Physics: Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics, visit

Fundamentals of Physics (PHYS 200)

This is the first of a series of lectures on relativity. The lecture begins with a historical overview and goes into problems that aim to describe a single event as seen by two independent observers. Maxwell’s theory, as well as the Galilean and Lorentz transformations are also discussed.

00:00 – Chapter 1. The Meaning of Relativity
18:10 – Chapter 2. The Galilean Transformation and its Consequences
31:35 – Chapter 3. The Medium of Light
43:22 – Chapter 4. The Two Postulates of Relativity
46:48 – Chapter 5. Length Contraction and Time Dilation
55:34 – Chapter 6. Deriving the Lorentz Transformation

Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website:

This course was recorded in Fall 2006.

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