PH315: The Physics of Contemporary Challenges

  • Instructor: (Winter 2019) Prof. Ethan Minot, Office: Weniger 417
  • TA: (Winter 2019) Daniel McCulley
  • Textbooks: Six Ideas That Shaped Physics, Unit T and Unit Q, by Thomas Moore.
  • Class Meetings: MWF 12.00 - 12.50pm, Weniger 212
  • Office hours and homework help session:
    • Wednesdays 11.00 - 12.00noon in Weniger 334 “the wormhole”
    • Thursdays 10.00 - 12.00noon in Weniger 334 “the wormhole”

Week 1

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 1/7Fermi estimate & renewable energy Day 1 class notes, ph315_advertisement.pdf, Real world connections Part 1, Real world connections Part 2 hw1, how to write up homework
Wed 1/9Conservation of energy and simple modelsDay 2 class notes
Fri 1/11Wind energy, ThermodynamicsDay 3 class notes, see class notes for suggested reading hw1 soln

Week 2

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 1/14Thermal energy, equipartition theorem Day 4 class notes, gas properties simulation, suggested reading T5.4hw2, Q2 hint, Q4 background
Wed 1/16Work done by force and pressureDay 5 class notes, Advice on note taking
Fri 1/18Efficiency of gas cycleDay 6 class notes hw2 soln

Week 3

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 1/21MLK holiday , HW3, appendix, Carnot background
Wed 1/23Carnot EfficiencyDay 7 Class notes
Fri 1/25Partial diff. eqns., Sound waves Jack Johnson, y(x,t), PDE derivation, superposition of oscillations

Week 4

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 1/28Wave interference sound wave animation, superposition, expt in pond @ 4min30s, wave interference hint
Wed 1/30Experiment Measurement uncertainty guide, example lab report
Fri 2/1Experiment

Week 5

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 2/4Experiment
Wed 2/8Review
Fri 2/10Review

Week 6

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 2/11MIDTERM term paper topic proposal
Wed 2/13Wave-particle duality electron wave demo
Fri 2/15Wave-particle duality topic proposal due

Week 7

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 2/18Quantum harmonic oscillatorclassical harmonic oscillator, electric hockey,
Wed 2/20Quantum harmonic oscillatorQuantum bound states
Fri 2/22Light-matter interactionsCO2 responds to light (linear), CO2 responds to light (bend), Reading assignment

Week 8

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 2/25Lab review, CO2 absorption linesMathematica code HW6, appendix
Wed 2/27Spectral Intensity DistributionsDay 22 Notes, spectrum_worksheet.pdf, atmosphere model
Fri 3/1Blackbody spectrumDay 23 Notes, blackbody_worksheet_2018.pdf hw6 solns

radiating charge, making graphs in Matlab,

Week 9

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 3/4Blackbody spectrum
Wed 3/6Earth's temperature
Fri 3/8Nuclear physics Day 26 Notes, watermellon

Alternative hypotheses,

Week 10

DateTopicWhat was coveredAssignments
Mon 3/11Nuclear physics Rutherford scattering term paper due
Wed 3/13Nuclear physics nuclear_waste.pdf
Fri 3/15Review

Finals week

Help session
Final exam

Day-by-day description from past years