2010 Presentation

Probing students’ idea in special relativity through text interpretation



This work intended to study students’ understanding of special theory of relativity in their first reading of a text on special relativity. For this purpose, it was decided to make use of students who were participating in a course on the special theory of relativity at the Centre for excellence in basic sciences (CBS). The course had 21 undergraduate students in their third semester, who participated in this study. The task for students was to interpret the selected passages from the first ten chapters of the book “Relativity: The Special and General theory” written by Albert Einstein in 1916. In the preface, Einstein writes, “The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of relativity….” and hence is an appropriate book for the study.

Keywords: students’ ideas, text interpretation, kinematics, special relativity

Thesis advisor: Arvind Kumar & H. C. Pradhan
Discussant: Chitra Natarajan