EDUCATION: Illuminating Special Relativity

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Science  17 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5729, pp. 1721
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5729.1721d

One hundred years ago this month, Albert Einstein submitted his paper describing special relativity to the journal Annalen der Physik. Ever since, students have struggled to grasp the theory's mind-bending implications. The new tutorial Einstein Light, hosted by physicist Joseph Wolfe of the University of New South Wales in Australia, offers help. In a 10-minute multimedia program, Wolfe and a pair of animated assistants explore the intellectual background for special relativity and its counterintuitive consequences, such as that a spaceship traveling near the speed of light would seem to shorten to an observer on Earth. Visitors hungry for more can tuck into more than 30 pages of additional explanation.

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