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On Teaching Relativity to Undergraduate Electrica Engineers

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1 Author(s)

When students are introduced for the first time to electromagnetic theory, it is either presented as a set of separate aspects like electrostatics, magnetostatics, slow and fast varying fields etc., or in the unified form of Maxwell's equations. In the first case, students are likely to consider the different aspects as physically different phenomena, whilst in the last case, the mathematical formalism makes the physical understanding of electromagnetism difficult. This paper discusses the advantages of introducing special relativity as a unifying concept, providing at the same time better physical insight into electricity and magnetism and their mutual relationship. A description of an introductory course in relativity, given by the author to second year undergraduates, is presented. A list of educational objectives stated in behavioral terms is also given. This list of objectives has been found particularly helpful in designing instruction and establishing evaluation criteria.

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IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 3 )