This event has ended.
What's On:
Closed event

HSC Relativity: video conference 

Duration: 50 minutes
From Term 1, 2022 Video Conference

HSC Relativity (Module 7: The Nature of Light. Light and Special Relativity) 

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is one of the most famous though counterintuitive theories in science. Using custom 3D visualisation software, learners will be introduced, step by step, to the origins of time dilation using Pythagoras’ simple theorem – no complicated mathematics required. They will explore space-time to see why simultaneous events are special, and even visualise the concept of length contraction.

This video conference for Stage 6 physics students includes pre- and post-activities hosted by Dr Paul Payne, an astrophysicist with more than 30 years’ specialised teaching experience using an online WebGL based animated program.

The session will also examine typical HSC questions and the best way to solve them. Concise, illuminating and visually stunning, this experience should not be missed by any NSW physics student or their teachers


Discover More

Syllabus Links:

Physics Stage 6

Module 7: The Nature of Light

Light and Special Relativity

Inquiry question: How does the behaviour of light affect concepts of time, space and matter?

● analyse and evaluate the evidence confirming or denying Einstein’s two postulates:
– the speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute constant
– all inertial frames of reference are equivalent (ACSPH131)

● investigate the evidence, from Einstein’s thought experiments and subsequent experimental validation, for time dilation 𝑡=𝑡0√(1− 𝑣2𝑐2) and length contraction 𝑙=𝑙0√(1−𝑣2𝑐2), and analyse quantitatively situations in which these are observed, for example:
– observations of cosmic-origin muons at the Earth’s surface
– atomic clocks (Hafele–Keating experiment)
– evidence from particle accelerators
– evidence from cosmological studies

● describe the consequences and applications of relativistic momentum with reference to:
– 𝑝𝑣=𝑚0𝑣√(1−𝑣2𝑐2)
– the limitation on the maximum velocity of a particle imposed by special relativity (ACSPH133)

● Use Einstein’s mass–energy equivalence relationship 𝐸=𝑚𝑐2 to calculate the energy released by processes in which mass is converted to energy, for example: (ACSPH134)
– production of energy by the Sun
– particle–antiparticle interactions, eg positron–electron annihilation
– combustion of conventional fuel

Back to top of page

Learning Resources

Curriculum Links

NSW Incorporating Australian Curriculum

Link Description
PH12-14describes and analyses evidence for the properties of light and evaluates the implications of this evidence for modern theories of physics in the contemporary world
PH12-15explains and analyses the evidence supporting the relationship between astronomical events and the nucleosynthesis of atoms and relates these to the development of the current model of the atom
PH12-5analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information
PH12-6solves scientific problems using primary and secondary data, critical thinking skills and scientific processes
PH12-7communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose
Back to top of page