Einstein and Relativity

End-of-course Information

Selecting a project:

Review what the syllabus says about projects.

A one-paragraph prospectus for your project is due through BlackBoard on or before Monday, 8 March (unless you use one of the textbook problems mentioned below).

Your project must concern either Einstein or Relativity. The word "relativity", like most words, has several meanings. If you project concerns relativity, then it must involve the physics meaning of relativity in some way -- for example, a project involving only relative moral values would be no more suitable than a description of your relatives.

These textbook problems are meaty enough that solving one of them would qualify as a project: 7.6, 13.2, 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, 13.7, 14.3, 14.4, 15.4, 15.5, and any of the problems in chapter 16 except for 16.6.

If your project is one of these problems, you don't need to submit a prospectus.

Problem 7.6 is a popular project because it has no numbers: it's just raw reasoning. But many people fail this project precisely because there are no numbers: it's so abstract that it's difficult to wrap your mind around. Numbers are your friends! They change situations from murky and fluid to concrete and tangible.

You may collaborate on projects, but this doesn't mean you may slack off: If there are five collaborators on a play, I expect it to be five times as good as a single paper. If two people work a problem from the book together, their result should be twice as insightful as the work of one person.

Submitting a project:

Due through BlackBoard on or before the end of the day (11:59 pm Eastern Time) on Friday, 19 March.

Typed papers must be submitted in PDF format.

If you're doing a problem involving sketches and equations then write your project out by hand and photograph it with your smartphone using the free "Adobe Scan" app to produce a PDF. Submit that PDF.

If your project is intrinsically electronic -- say an mp3 file or a simulation -- then the submission through BlackBoard might not work. If so I will contact you and not peanilize you for BlackBoard's failings.

If your project is not working out, switch to one of the problems mentioned above (including problem 13.7 --- "write a time travel story"). You don't need to inform me of that switch.

I have to turn down all requests for project extensions. The project needn't be long or time consuming. If you're not completely satisfied with your product, just turn in what you have by the end of the day on Friday, 19 March. If your submitted project does not qualify for passing the course, I will contact you and give you a chance to correct it.

Final exam:

Will be administered through BlackBoard.

Must be started between noon on Tuesday, 16 March and the end of the day on Thursday, 18 March. There is no class on Thursday.

I expect it will take you about half an hour to work the exam, but there is no time limit. The exam must be completed in a single sitting. If you find yourself struggling for hours, second-guessing yourself, or searching for the hidden trick, then stop. There is no hidden trick: the problems are straightforward.

No collaboration.

I recommend that you use scrap paper: two or three quick sketches will often clear up a murky situation.

You may consult one 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of notes, but no other material (books, friends, additional notes, Internet). I recommend that you print out this course summary, then add whatever notes you find appropriate, and have this sheet nearby when you take the exam.

You may use a calculator.

You may not communicate with anyone but Dan Styer about the exam (content, level of difficulty, anything) until 8:00 am Friday. This rule is because it's easy to begin with a simple innocent question and end up inadvertently giving away pieces of the exam. ("Say, how do you feel after the exam?" "Oh that racetrack problem was a breeze. Yikes, I've just told you what's on the exam!")

By taking the exam, you affirm that you have adhered to the Honor Code in the exam, which means that you have obeyed these rules and will continue to obey the silence rule until 8:00 am Friday.

Weekly assignments:

You might want to look over your weekly assignments to prepare for the exam. Do this by clicking on "My Grades", then on "Graded", then on "Assignment 1" (or whichever), and then on the number in the "Calculated Grade" column.

Office hours:

See my web site.