PHY 38 — Quantum Physics: At the Dawn of a New Era in Science
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Nov 7—Nov 14
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 31
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Instructor(s): Eugenio Bottacini
Class Recording Available: No
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, we will 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 undermine 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.
Eugenio Bottacini researches the physics that governs supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies and how it can be used to understand the universe. He received a PhD in physics from the Technical University of Munich and has held a postdoctoral fellowship position at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and a physical science research associate position at Stanford.
Associate Professor in Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padua
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.