I am looking for students who are interested in learning more advanced topics in physics than are covered in a traditional physics 1/2 sequence. In most cases, physics 1/2 only covers physics up to the mid-1800's, and leaves a student without any understanding of current areas of interest in physics. This is unique to physics in the sciences; it seems like most, if not all, other introductory science courses leave the student with at least some understanding of current areas of interest. All current research in physics is done in a portion of physics known as modern physics, which is physics discovered after the year 1900.
What could you expect to cover in a modern physics course? The main topics will be:
- Relativity: Einstein's discoveries in the early 1900's about the relationships between space, time, motion, and gravity.
- Particle-wave Duality: It was discovered in the early 1900's that sometimes particles like electrons act like waves, and sometimes waves like light act like particles.
- Quantum Mechanics: Quantum mechanics is the study of the very small, such as electrons orbiting an atom. This was one of the biggest undertakings of the 20th century, taking roughly 30 years to complete.
- Solid State Physics: The study of solids. This is most important when studying how materials conduct electrons. The most basic component of a computer is a transistor, the study of which falls under solid state physics.
- Nuclear and Particle Physics: The study of the building blocks of everything. This is one of the most interesting and important fields in physics. Everything in the universe is built up of subatomic particles, so to understand particle physics is to understand how the universe works at its most basic level.
What about the requirements? You would need both calculus I and calculus II, as well as physics 1/2 with or without calculus. As long as you know calculus, you should be fine with the physics you learned even if you took it without calculus.
When would it be offered? I'd like to offer it over Fall 2018 or Spring 2019, but it depends on the amount of interest from students. I'm hoping to find at least 10-12 interested students, and then I'll be able to request that the class be offered.
If you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Modern Physics Course."