Monday, March 17, 2014

Cosmology from Newtonian Mechanics and Teaching Special Relativity in the First Week of Freshman Physics

The first page of an arXiv[3] article I came across this morning has a very nice explanation of what a Newton-Hooke spacetime is.  As it turns out you can model expanding and contracting cosmological theories using Newtonian mechanics without going all the way to general relativity.  This was most recently demonstrated by Elisha Huggins in Physics Teacher[1], but seems to have been around for quite a long time.  I've found it as far back as the '60s in Wolfgang Rindler's excellent book "Essential Relativity"[2].  Finally, there's what looks like a pretty excellent video of Huggins in a colloquium where he advocates teaching special relativity as well as Fourier analysis and quantum mechanics in the first course of freshman physics very early on[4].

*References*
1.  http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/51/6/10.1119/1.4818374

2.  http://books.google.com/books?id=0J_dwCmQThgC&lpg=PP1&dq=essential%20relativity%20rindler&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=essential%20relativity%20rindler&f=false

3.  http://arxiv.org/abs/1002.2290

4.  http://media.dartmouth.edu/~physics/colloquium/huggins_10.23.09.m4v
#physics   #cosmology

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