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FSH3371 Special Relativity 7.5 credits

The course offers a modern introduction to special relativity and its use in recent research. The focus is on understanding the geometry of spacetime, electromagnetism, and experimental tests of the theory.

About course offering

For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students

Target group

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Part of programme

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P2 (7.5 hp)


28 Oct 2024
13 Jan 2025

Pace of study


Form of study

Normal Daytime

Language of instruction


Course location


Number of places

Places are not limited

Planned modular schedule


For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students

Application code



For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students


Sandhya Choubey (


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Course coordinator

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus FSH3371 (Autumn 2023–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Repetition of tensor notation. The meaning of relativity. Einstein’s postulates. Geometry of Minkowski space and Lorentz transformation. Length contraction and time dilation. Twin paradox and proper time. Relativistic optics. Relativistic mechanics. Electrodynamics. Hamilton and Lagrange formalism in relativity.

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Use tensor notation in relativity.
  • Use Lorentz transformations.
  • Apply the concepts of length contraction and time dilation.
  • Describe experimental tests of special relativity.
  • Use and solve problems in relativistic optics.
  • Use and solve problems in relativistic mechanics (including kinematic problems).
  • Analyze Maxwell’s equations and use their relativistic invariance.
  • Explain the principle of relativity.
  • Perform simple analyses using the Hamilton and Lagrange formalisms in special relativity.
  • Independently deepen your knowledge in how the course contents may be used in current research and sumarize new knowledge in a report.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Vector analysis

Electromagnetic Theory

Mathematical Methods in Physics

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • PRO1 - Project, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Written exam, 6.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

In the normal case, TEN1 is a written exam and corresponds to the exam in SI2371. PRO1 is normally a written report testing deepened knowledge and ability for independent studies within a specialized area as well as an oral discussion surrounding the report.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

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Sandhya Choubey (

Additional regulations

The course cannot be part of a degree together with SI2371.

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at SCI/Physics