# A constructive approach to the special theory of relativity

@article{Miller2010ACA, title={A constructive approach to the special theory of relativity}, author={D. J. Miller}, journal={American Journal of Physics}, year={2010}, volume={78}, pages={633-638} }

Simple physical models of a measuring rod and of a clock are used to demonstrate the contraction of objects and clock retardation in special relativity. It is argued that models can help student understanding of special relativity and distinguishing between dynamical and purely perspectival effects.

## 21 Citations

A Wave-centric View of Special Relativity

- Physics, Education
- 2013

An approach to special relativity is outlined which emphasizes the wave and field mechanisms which physically produce the relativistic effects, with the goal of making them seem more natural to…

Special relativity from the dynamical viewpoint

- Physics
- 2014

Arguments are reviewed and extended in favor of presenting special relativity at least in part from a more mechanistic point of view. A number of generic mechanisms are catalogued and illustrated…

Length contraction puzzle solved

- Philosophy
- 2010

It is argued that the `perspectival change' of a physical object in special relativity may be given a natural dynamical explanation in terms of a change in the object under the action of certain…

The Dynamical Approach to Spacetime Theories

- PhysicsThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics
- 2021

We review the dynamical approach to spacetime theories---in particular, (a) its origins in the development of special relativity, (b) its opposition to the contemporary `geometrical' approach, and…

On back-reaction in special relativity

- Physics
- 2013

Back-reaction of fields plays an important role in the generation of particle masses and the mass-energy equivalence of special relativity, but the most natural demonstrations using classical models…

Direct calculation of length contraction and clock retardation

- Physics
- 2015

For simple electromagnetic models of a rod and a clock, a change of the shape of the rod and of the rate of the clock when they are set in uniform motion is calculated exactly, employing the correct…

The Behaviour of Rods and Clocks in General Relativity and the Meaning of the Metric Field

- Physics
- 2018

The notion that the metric field in general relativity can be understood as a property of space-time rests on a feature of the theory sometimes called universal coupling—the claim that rods and…

A Simple Derivation of Time Dilation and Length Contraction in Special Relativity

- Physics, Education
- 2014

Undergraduate physics majors typically begin their study of modern physics with special relativity. It is here that physics students first encounter the counterintuitive concepts of time dilation and…

Subtleties of the clock retardation

- Physics
- 2015

For a simple electromagnetic model of a clock introduced by Jefimenko (clock $\#$ 1 in 1996 {\it Am. J. Phys.} {\bf 64} 812), a change of the rate of the clock when it is set in uniform motion is…

A Simple Relativity Solution to the Bell Spaceship Paradox

- Physics
- 2020

The Bell Spaceship Paradox has promoted confusion and numerous resolutions since its first statement in 1959, including resolutions based on relativistic stress due to Lorentz contractions. The…

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