Master’s studies

Syllabus for Special Relativity

Speciell relativitetsteori


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 1FA156
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), 3, 4, 5.
  • Established: 2014-03-13
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 30, 2014
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with Linear Algebra II and Mechanics III.
  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

A student who has successfully passed the course should be able to

  • transform displacements, velocities, momenta, etc. from one inertial frame to another
  • explain and compute doppler shifts, aberrations and other light phenomena
  • determine outcomes of relativistic colissions including Compton scattering
  • explain the concept of the stress-tensor and determine it in different inertial frames
  • write down Maxwell's equations in covariant form
  • solve Maxwell's equations in the vacuum for various situations, including a radiating particle


Lorenz transformations: Minkowski space. Interval, proper time. Rotation group and Lorenz group. 4-vectors. Dirac and Majorana spinors.
Relativistic Mechanics: 4-velocity and 4-momentum. Relativistic particles. 4-force and 4-acceleration. Energy-momentum conservation. Collisions.
Relativistic treatment of electromagnetism: 4-vectors for electric charge and current density, tensor form of electromagnetic fields. Relativistic motion for a point charge in an electromagnetic field. Maxwell's equations in covariant form. Electromagnetic wave equation.


Lectures and tutorials.


Written examination.
In addition there are hand-in problems. Credit points from these are included only in the regular exam and the first regular re-exam.

Other directives

The course may not be included in the same higher education qualifications as 1FA154 Analytical mechanics and special relativity.

Reading list

Applies from: week 45, 2013

  • Rindler, W. Introduction to Special Relativity

    second edition: Oxford University Press,

    Find in the library


  • Minahan, Joseph Joe's Relatively Small Book of Special Relativity

    Institutionen för fysik och astronomi, 2011

    Will be provided at the start of the course.