DOI link for Special Relativity
Special Relativity book
This chapter examines the consequences of Einstein's postulates. The mathematics of the resulting Special Theory of Relativity is quite elementary. It discusses the physical foundations of special relativity, and then follows with the geometric formulation. For us, the theory of relativity is of interest because of its geometric interpretation and its significance for the evolution of geometric thought. To Sir Isaac Newton, physical space was thought of as something akin to an empty container in which was distributed all the matter of the universe. Space was believed unbounded and infinite, and modeled by 3-dimensional Euclidean geometry. Accordingly, a stationary observer could, in principle, set up a system of rectangular coordinates in space, and locate any event by giving its spatial coordinates and its time t. In three-dimensional Euclidean geometry, places or points can be located by reference to a set of mutually orthogonal coordinate axes.