About the Course

Advanced Topics in Physics: Special Relativity

  • Grade 9+
  • CTY-Level
  • Residential

If a woman travels to a nearby star system at close to the speed of light, she will return much younger than her twin sister, who stayed home. This is just one of the discoveries revealed by Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, which revolutionized physics. Perhaps the most famous equation in science, E = mc2, revealed that matter and energy are equivalent, setting the stage for atomic bombs and nuclear power plants. It showed that an object’s length depends on its speed relative to an observer, that the passage of time depends on relative motion, and that an object’s mass varies with speed. This course explores the problems and inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics, then shifts focus to Einstein’s groundbreaking solution, the Special Theory of Relativity. Through class discussions and extensive problem solving, you’ll learn about the principle of relativity and the light postulate, simultaneity, relativistic kinematic and dynamic calculations, light cones, k-calculus, and Minkowski space, and explore mathematical concepts underlying Einstein’s general theory of relativity and how they can help us understand the universe.

Typical Class Size: 18

Summer Dates & Locations

Final registration deadline Session One:

Final registration deadline Session Two:

☀️ CTY Summer Fun Giveaway ☀️

Enroll in a 2022 On-Campus Summer course and you could win a free Online course—AND 50% off a 2023 On-Campus Summer course! Learn more.

Session One

The Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Residential cost: $5,775
Commuter cost: $4,619

Session Two

The Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Residential cost: $5,775
Commuter cost: $4,619

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level CTY-Level Not required
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.

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Course Prerequisites

Advanced Topics in Physics: Special Relativity requires:

1 prerequisite

Algebra II and trigonometry, and either CTY’s Fast-Paced High School Physics or at least a B in conceptual physics or high school physics

Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
    • Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)

Financial Aid is available

We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.

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Course Materials

Students should bring basic school supplies like pens, notebooks, and folders to their summer program. You will be notified of any additional items needed before the course begins. All other materials will be provided by CTY.

Sample Reading

These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.

  • Spacetime Physics, Edwin F. Taylor and John Archibald Wheeler

Technical Requirements

Students must bring a tablet, laptop computer, or Chromebook for use during the session. A smartphone will not be sufficient.

About Science and Engineering at CTY

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Bond over chemistry

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