Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in Physics
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours)

To understand the topics of the course, the student has to know the basics of
linear algebra, classical mechanics and electromagnetism.

Final Examination: 

The final exam is in oral form, with questions that can cover the entire course. In addition, exercises similar to those carried out in class during the course may be proposed during the interview.
The purpose of the final exam is to:
1. verify the student's knowledge and understanding of the subject;
2. verify the student's ability to deal with physics problems with a "relativistic" approach.
In order to pass the exam, the student must be able to show that he has understood the fundamentals of the theory, and its areas of application. For a grade equal to or greater than 25/30, the student must be able to carry out the calculations necessary to face the main physical problems studied during the course. To obtain the maximum grade, a deep understanding of the subject, the ability to perform the most complex calculations, and to extrapolate what has been learned to face problems of further difficulty will be required.

Voto Finale

Einstein's special relativity is a fundamental theory that allows to generalize concepts such as energy, momentum, force, mass, etc., through a rigorous definition of "inertial reference frame", introducing the concept of space-time.
The proposed course deals with the foundations of special relativity, with hints on classical field theory, in particular on the electromagnetic field. The approach to matter is mainly based on physics, only partially on algebra and mathematics. The course aims to ensure that the student becomes familiar with the basic concepts of special relativity, and that she/he is able to apply them to concrete physical problems.
At the end of the course the student will be able to:
• understand the conceptual basis of the theory of special relativity, and the consequences it has in the interpretation of physical phenomena;
• apply the formalism introduced to specific mechanical and electromagnetism problems;
• to conceive Newtonian mechanics in a natural way as an approximation of RS, and to think at physics in a "relativistic" way;
• investigate autonomously aspects of particular interest in the matter;
• to face a possible master's course in General Relativity in a profitable way.

1. Conceptual origin of Special Relativity

2. Formulation of Special Relativity
a. Inertial observers
b. Space-time diagrams
c. Lorentz transformations
d. Velocity ​​composition
e. Transformation of acceleration
f. Paradoxes of Special Relativity
3. Relativistic mechanics
a. Generalization of Newtonian mechanics
b. Example: charging in an electromagnetic field
c. Example: particle in a central potential
d. Transformation of force and momentum

4. Vector algebra
a. Four vectors
b. Scalar product
c. Energy and momentum
d. Example: Compton effect

5. Tensor algebra
a. Tensors
b. 1-forms
c. Differentiation of tensors
d. Example: energy-momentum tensor

6. Covariant formulation of electromagnetism
a. Maxwell's equations
b. Field transformations
c. Radiation from relativistic charges


The course will be based on notes provided by the teacher covering the entire content of the course. Further details will be proposed from time to time, and based on the following texts:
Relatività, V. Barone
Relatività ristretta e teoria classica dei campi, L. Susskind and A. Friedman
A first course in General Relativity, B. Schutz
Radiative processes in Astrophysics, G. Rybicki and A. Lightman

The course is organized in lectures, with examples and exercises solved in class. The teacher carries out the lesson through the use of a tablet introducing the different topics and carrying out calculations and demonstrations, as well as some exemplary problems. At the end of each lesson, the product file (.pdf) is uploaded to the e-learning platform and made available to students.

For further information on the course, questions, particular needs, etc, students are invited to contact the teacher at: francesco.haardt@uninsubria.it