QUANTUM PHYSICS: CONCEPTS AND CONTROVERSIESNSC 502 - 4 credits - Introductory
- Times: TuF 1:30 - 2:50
- Place: Sci117A
- Texts: Einstein, Bohr and the Quantum Dilemma (Whitaker), Quantum Enigma (Rosenblum and Kuttner), Thirty Years that Shook Physics (Gamow), The Ghost in the Atom (Davies and Brown), Quantum Mechanics and Experience (Albert)
- Faculty: Travis Norsen
Course Overview: This non-mathematical introduction to quantum physics will survey the historical development of the theory and explore its scope and implications, with emphasis on the Bohr-Einstein debates and ongoing current controversies about the interpretation of the theory. Specific topics will include: experimental evidence for wave-particle duality, the structure of the atom, Schroedinger's cat and the Einstein-Bohr debates, Bohm's hidden-variable theory, Bell's Theorem and non-locality, and the many worlds interpretation. Assignments will consist of weekly readings and several papers.
Assignments and Grading: Active participation in (and so also presence for) class discussions will be an important aspect of the course, worth 15% of the final grade. This includes, of course, being fully prepared for such active participation, which requires doing assigned readings as scheduled. Two shorter papers (one on wave-particle duality and the other on the Bohr-Einstein debates) will be worth 25% of the final grade (each). A longer final paper, requiring some independent research and on a topic of your choosing, will be worth 35% of the grade.
- Attendance is mandatory. (Let me know if, and why, you will miss a class.)
- Late work will not be accepted without prior arrangement.
- In addition to being fully present in class and handing in all the assignments, to really succeed in the class you should expect to spend several hours each week (outside of class) interacting with the assigned readings.
- Discussion and collaboration, both in and out of class, are encouraged. But your work must represent your own understanding, and any ideas or help you receive from others should be appropriately attributed.