Cambridge Physics Centre Lecture – Relativity
This week we took a trip to the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge where Dr Julia Riley gave a lecture entitled ‘Relativity – understanding the connection between space and time’.
Meeting at Stortford station, we took a very crowded train to Cambridge where we then caught a taxi to the Bragg Building at the famous Cavendish laboratory – the site of discovery of the electron & neutron and where James Clark Maxwell formulated his laws of electromagnetism.
The hour-long lecture introduced us to the idea of inertial frames and Newtonian relativity before moving on to Einstein postulates and his more complicated theory of special relativity. Dr Riley showed how to derive the equation for the Lorentz factor and, through her excellent diagrams, explained the phenomena of length contraction and time dilation. The last few minutes of the lecture were occupied by a brief overview of general relativity and Einstein equivalency principle, as well as a short discussion of black holes.
The lectured was followed afterwards by a trip to Pizza Hut which I’m sure was enjoyed by everyone who attended! We would welcome any other students who wish to come to future lectures or to join the society on a Friday lunchtime.