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Mass is not Conserved

Keywords: Reference Frames, Conservation of Energy and Momentum, Special Relativity, Small Group Activity


Highlights of the activity

  1. This small group activity is designed to help upper division undergraduate students analyze a standard problem about colliding lumps of clay.
  2. Students work in small groups using relativistic kinematics and conservation laws to study the collision of lumps of clay.
  3. The whole class wrap-up discussion summarizes group findings, pointing out that mass is not conserved in special relativity.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

  • Demonstrates equivalence of matter and energy.


Instructor's Guide

Student Handouts


Authors: Tevian Dray
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