Physics 151 Seminar in Modern Physics/ Physics 142 Foundations of Modern Physics

Newtonian Mechanics, spectacular as it is in describing planetary motion and a wide range of other phenomena, only hints at the richness of behaviors seen in the universe. Special relativity has extended physics into the realm of high speeds and high energies and requires us to rethink our basic notions of space and time. Quantum mechanics successfully describes atoms, molecules, and solids while at the same time calling into question our notions of what can be predicted by a physical theory. Statistical physics reveals new behaviors that emerge when many particles are present in a system. Textbook: Tipler and Llewellyn, Modern Physics. Fall 2020, 2021 (151), Spring 2022 (142), with Prof. Anders Hellman

Research literature assignments for modern physics

Physics 402T  Applications of Quantum Mechanics

This tutorial explores a number of important topics in the application of quantum mechanics to physical systems, including perturbation theory, the variational principle and the semiclassical interaction of atoms and radiation. The last three weeks of the course introduce quantum optics, including an experimental project on non-classical interference phenomena.  Applications and examples are mostly taken from atomic physics with some discussion of solid state systems.  Textbook: D. J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics.  Spring 2017, 2019, 2021.

Physics 201  Electricity and Magnetism

Introduction to electromagnetic phenomena and their mathematical description. Topics include electrostatics, magnetic fields, and electromagnetic induction, DC and AC circuits, and the electromagnetic properties of matter. We also introduce Maxwell’s equations, which express the essence of the theory in remarkably succinct form.  The laboratory component of this course is a (nearly) stand-alone introduction to electronics.  Textbook: E. M. Purcell, Electricity and Magnetism.  Fall 2016-2018, 2022

Physics 109  Sound, Light, and Perception

How are sound and light related? How do physiology and neural processing allow us to hear and see the world around us? What are the origins of color and musical pitch? This course introduces the science and technology of light and sound to students not majoring in physics.  Topics include the optics of vision, psychoacoustics and the meaning of musical pitch and tone, and the physical basis of hearing. Spring 2018.

Physics 13  Electronics

(Co-taught with Jason Mativi)  This four-week course covers the basics of analog circuits, including transistors and operational amplifiers and will briefly introduce digital circuits and the Arduino, a microcontroller.  Winter study 2018.

 [Course descriptions are adapted from those in the Williams course catalog].