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Special Relativity

  • Textbook
  • © 2013


  • Serves as a textbook at intermediate level between college-level introductions and more advanced textbooks requiring many prerequisites
  • Includes topics that are not usually included in standard textbooks on special relativity such as, for example, the theory of measurement in Minkowski spacetime
  • Has a chapter devoted to modern applications of Special Relativity, such as GPS, PET scanners, and other medical instruments
  • Contains a section with numerous exercises to practice the theory in each chapter
  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics (ULNP)

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Table of contents (10 chapters)


About this book

This book offers an essential bridge between college-level introductions and advanced graduate-level books on special relativity. 

It begins at an elementary level, presenting and discussing the basic concepts normally covered in college-level works, including the Lorentz transformation. Subsequent chapters introduce the four-dimensional worldview implied by the Lorentz transformations, mixing time and space coordinates, before continuing on to the formalism of tensors, a topic usually avoided in lower-level courses. The book’s second half addresses a number of essential points, including the concept of causality; the equivalence between mass and energy, including applications; relativistic optics; and measurements and matter in Minkowski space-time. The closing chapters focus on the energy-momentum tensor of a continuous distribution of mass-energy and its co-variant conservation; angular momentum; a discussion of the scalar field of perfect fluids and the Maxwell field;and general coordinates.

Every chapter is supplemented by a section with numerous exercises, allowing readers to practice the theory. These exercises constitute an essential part of the textbook, and the solutions to approximately half of them are provided in the appendix.


From the reviews:

“The book is one of the best texts in special relativity designed for readers between the college-level and advanced level. … A number of useful and new examples is added at the end of every chapter of the book. … A very useful table of constants is added at the end of the book. … The book represents one of the best conspects in special relativity and is useful for professors of special relativity. It is good for students and every other reader.” (Alex Gaina, zbMATH, Vol. 1277, 2014)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Physics Department, Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Canada

    Valerio Faraoni

About the author

Valerio Faraoni earned a BSc in Physics (Laurea in Fisica) at the University of Pavia, Italy, and an MSc and PhD (1991) in Astrophysics under the supervision of Prof. George F.R. Ellis at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy ( He has held various research and teaching appointments at the University of Victoria, B.C., the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and the University of Northern British Columbia. He came to Bishop's University in 2005, where he is currently an Associate Professor in the physics department.

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