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PHY 38 — Quantum Physics: At the Dawn of a New Era in Science

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Nov 13—Nov 14
Time: 9:30 am—12:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Nov 6
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $255
Instructor(s): Eugenio Bottacini
Limit: 25
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Closed
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
Saturday and Sunday
9:30 am—12:00 pm (PT)
Nov 13—Nov 14
2 days
Refund Date
Nov 6
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Eugenio Bottacini
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Quantum physics shook the solid foundations of science laid down with mastery by Galileo and Newton. Today, these foundations still hold, yet they appear in a new light. Without quantum physics we would have no mobile phones and no GPS, and we would not have Silicon Valley.

In this course, we will learn about the events that led a group of geniuses to solve an emergency in science never faced before. These geniuses are the founders of the science of quantum physics. They changed forever the way we look at science and more generally at the world.

To start with, we will have a look at the solid foundations of science and how we first believed that mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism could explain and predict physical phenomena. Then we will see through specific examples like black-body radiation how experimental results started to question that belief. We will then see how our temerarious group of geniuses, including Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and many others, proposed solutions in an interplay between pure theory and experimental results. We will also learn about their personal feelings and experiences in accepting each other’s and their own scientific results, and we will look at some examples of applied quantum physics in our everyday life.

Students should have a basic understanding of high school level math and physics.

Associate Professor in Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padua

Eugenio Bottacini researches the physics that governs supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies and how it can be used to understand the universe. He observes the sky at high energies, and has discovered a number of supermassive black holes. He received a PhD in physics from the Technical University of Munich and held postdoctoral fellowship positions at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and at Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.