With his first paper on special relativity, Albert Einstein demonstrated that our intuitions have no place in the study of spacetime. But even today we have not reached a consensus on the profound implications of relativity. Eternalism, a view in which past, present and future are equally real, has long been the orthodoxy amongst physicists, but this view is now being challenged at the cutting edge. In this course Dr Eleanor Knox builds up a framework in special relativity to ask: can we recover the present?
By the end of the course, you will have learned:
- the two postulates of special relativity
- the consequences of special relativity (time dilation and length contraction)
- how Minkowski space and lightcones are used to represent Einstein’s spacetime
- how the past, present and future are seen in the major perspectives on spacetime
- McTaggart’s A and B series
- how the block universe might be avoidable.
As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, suggested further readings to explore topics further, discussion boards to have your say and an end of course assessment set by Dr Eleanor Knox.
This course is eligible for official online verification.