Special Relativity & Web-based Research

Communicating Scientific Results

Here is a chance for you to practice some of the skills required for your Investigation. This task gives you some practice to help with your Researching Physics topic. It is to help you look at ways of communicating and think who you are communicating to.Log all the work that you do for this section in your Researching Physics Log Book.


You will look at the various ways in which findings can be presented, and appreciate the possibility of using other media such as video clips, articles, papers, posters etc.

Learning outcome

You will be more informed about the different ways in which one topic can be presented. You will begin to think about how to present your own work.

Learning activity

You can work independently or in groups. There are three different resources:

  1. A video clip entitled ‘Two postulates’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdfnRWGgbd0).

    If you can’t read the file above it has been uploaded here as an MP4 file.

  2. A physicsworld article entitled ‘Slowed Light Breaks Record’


3. The paper

‘On Velocities Beyond the Speed of Light c’ (On Velocities beyond the speed of light c.pdf) On Velocities beyond the Speed of Light

You should examine and discuss the three resources. Teachers should point out that even though the physics content may not all be at the students’ level of understanding, it is still possible to take information from it with their level of knowledge. This is emphasised by you completing the work below.

‘Two Postulates’

This clip discusses how to tell if an object is moving or not by way of an animation.

‘Slowed Light Breaks Record’

This is an article published in physicsworld in December 2009. It is not particularly long, although does contain a lot of information.

‘On Velocities Beyond the Speed of Light c’

This paper was published in 1998 from CERN. It has the more traditional scientific report structure and is a good example for you.

After completing the table on the sheet, you should find that all boxes are ticked – highlighting that even though the information is presented in different ways, all the resources contain what the students will have to put into their own reports.

There are many ways to present scientific findings. You might have written a report in the past but universities may ask you to present a poster of your work.

Here we will look at three different ways of presenting findings on special relativity.

On your own or in groups/pairs, have a look at the three examples of how findings on special relativity have been presented.

Copy and complete the table, either with a few notes or a tick or cross, to show if the example meets the criteria.

‘Two Postulates’ ‘Slowed Light Breaks Record’ ‘On Velocities Beyond the Speed of Light’
Is there mention of the objective for the investigation/experiment?
Is there information given on the experiment/s conducted?
Is there mention of the data (perhaps not all) and any analysis of the findings?
Does the article discuss the conclusion for the experiment/investigation?

Now you have looked at the three examples, ask yourself the following questions.

First impressions
  1. Was one resource more eye-catching than the others?
  2. Does one look like it will be easier to read/understand than the others?
  3. Which one looks most credible?
Down to the nitty gritty
  1. Which resource was the most interesting?
  2. Which one was the best presented?
  3. Which gave the most information?
  4. Did you need to understand everything mentioned to gain an understanding of the experiment?

Which format might you consider for your Communicating Physics investigation?

More information on Web-Based Research

Web-Based Research HApr16 A powerpoint presentation showing how to help you find viable websites

Web-Based Research Student Materials Some materials to give you advice on using websites.

Physics Web-Based Research Worksheets Material that you can work through to give you practice at completing web-based tasks.