Misconceptions in Special Relativity – An Argument for Augmentation of the Modern Physics Course

Mabile, Risley W.
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Florida Southern College
[...] The data seems to imply that the physics community is not as well aware of the capabilities of special relativity as they should be. This data also hints that the issue is a systemic one, as faculty may not truly understand what they are teaching at the level necessary to teach the subject. The rectifying of this misconception is not difficult, especially with the mathematical background every physicist must obtain over the course of their undergraduate career. The only mathematical tools necessary to eradicate this misconception from the students’ (or faculty members’) mind is a background through Calculus 2, which is a course taken by most physicists their freshman year in college.Since Modern Physics is sophomore level course, there appears to be no good reason not to address this misconception head-on by solving non-inertial problems in a Modern Physics course. It would be prudent moving forward to identify and employ an expedient teaching method that can effectively rectify this misconception directly, and this will be a topic of future work.
Honors thesis Spring 2019
Special relativity (Physics), Physics