College Of Arts And Sciences | The Quantum Universe
E105 | 0193 | Schwandt, P.


This is a course devoted to a study of the physics of the twentieth
century, a subject best appreciated through its central theme, "the
quantum theory." Not only has the quantum theory revolutionized our
view of the world, it has made possible an unprecedented array of new
devices and technologies  indeed, all of modern electronics and a
significant number of medical techniques. We will review the concepts
that grew out of the quantum hypothesis, show how these concepts led
to our mastery of electronics, and describe how modern medical
devices work.

We will begin by outlining the "quantum" hypothesis and contrasting
it with the notions of "classical" physics it supplanted. We will
elaborate the theory and practice of the major ideas of the quantum
period in physics, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum
physics, "wave-particle duality," radioactivity. We will show how
these concepts are applied to carbon dating, biological effects of
radiation, medical imaging, the laser, CS's and modern computing
(semiconductors and integrated circuits) among other areas. In each
case we will outline the theoretical basis of the laws and show how
they are applied in today's technology.

The course assumes knowledge of high school algebra, but does not
require either trigonometry or calculus. Students will learn how to
find materials relevant to modern technology on the World Wide Web.

There will be three exams and one five-page paper in the course, and
a few homework sets that will contain both problem-solving and "short-
answer" questions.