John M. Doyle (Department of Physics)
Freshman Seminar 23Y 4 credits (fall term) Enrollment: Limited to 8
Some claim that there are 13 ideas or principles that can form the bedrock for a pretty good understanding of our physical and technological world. These are: 1) Boltzmann factor and thermal equilibrium, 2) Turbulence, 3) Reaction rates, 4) Indistinguishable particles, 5) Quantum waves, 6) Linearity, 7) Entropy and information, 8) Discharges, ionization, 9) Relativity, 10) Nuclear binding energies, 11) Photon modes, 12) Diffraction, 13) Resonance. Each week we will discuss one of these principles and see how they explain certain things about the physical world. We will discuss these and connections with other principles, as well as how the principle shows up in technology and, more broadly, in our technological society.
Prerequisite: Please note that this seminar will be geared to students likely to go on in physics or related areas, such as chemistry/physics or engineering. The introduction to certain principles is done with the expectation that students will return to a more formal seminar on the subject in the future. This seminar acts as a kind of road map for further studies in physics. Topics may change.