The Geometry of Special Relativity (2nd Edition)

GSR cover

This short book treats the geometry of hyperbolas as the key to understanding special relativity. This approach can be summarized succinctly as the replacement of the ubiquitous gamma symbol of most standard treatments with the appropriate hyperbolic trigonometric functions. In most cases, this not only simplifies the appearance of the formulas, but emphasizes their geometric content in such a way as to make them almost obvious. Furthermore, many important relations, including but not limited to the famous relativistic addition formula for velocities, follow directly from the appropriate trigonometric addition formulas.

The core of the book remains unchanged from the first edition. In response to reader feedback, the treatment of Minkowski space and spacetime diagrams has been expanded slightly, with minor changes in notation. In addition, several new topics have been added, numerous small typos have been corrected, and more homework problems have been added. The new material includes a geometric derivation of Lorentz transformations, a discussion of three-dimensional spacetime diagrams, and a brief geometric description of ``area'' and how it can be used to measure time and distance.

The Geometry of Special Relativity (2nd edition)
Tevian Dray
CRC Press ©2021
ISBN: 978-1-138-06392-1
(publisher website, Amazon)


The resources below have been developed for the course on Reference Frames at OSU, which includes two intensive weeks (14 hours of instruction) on special relativity.

Course overview

An overview of the course taught at OSU can be found here. This overview includes a detailed course outline, complete with links to lecture outlines and activity summaries, as well as links to recent course homepages.


A list of small group activities (SGA) and small whiteboard questions (SWBQ), organized by topic, can be found here. Each activity includes an instructor's guide for classroom use.


A prepublication version of the first edition in wiki format is available here.
(Further information about the first edition can be found here.)

Feedback and Updates

Feedback can be sent to the author via email at the address below.


A list of known errors in the print version of the book will be maintained here.

Tevian Dray
tevian at math dot oregonstate dot edu