Physical Systems and Applied Mathematics
Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters
This is an intermediate to advanced-level program. Students will build on their prior knowledge of calculus and calculus-based physics to deepen their understanding of nature, how it can be represented via physical models, and the powerful connections between mathematics and physical theories. The program will involve a mix of advanced mathematics (some of it extraordinarily beautiful, as well as powerful), experiments in modern physics involving electromagnetic and quantum phenomena, and a deep immersion in modern physical theories.
Topics will include nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, the theory which revolutionized our understanding of nature and underlies much of modern chemistry, physics, and engineering; classical electrodynamics, the quintessential model of a successful unified (and relativistic) field theory; and classical mechanics with special attention to the profound “least action” principle, which provides a bridge between the classical and quantum mechanical. The mathematics underlying these theories – vector calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and especially Fourier analysis (a technique which provides an entirely new way of looking at the world) – will be developed in the context of their use in the physical sciences. Students will also develop facility with the scientific software MATLAB, using it to solve problems as well as to build physical intuition by visualizing the behavior of matter and fields. The theoretical focus of the program will be complemented with elements of hands-on laboratory work to observe and illustrate the phenomena under discussion. We will also devote time to examining the study of physics in a broader historical, philosophical, and cultural context.
The program material will be challenging, and will demand both hard work and engaged collaboration with both the subject matter and one’s fellow students. A major goal of the program is to provide students the opportunity to develop the conceptual knowledge and mathematical background required to pursue advanced work in physics and related disciplines.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day
Upper Division Science Credit
May be offered again in
|May 7th, 2014||Description has been updated, fall signature has been removed (please take note of prerequisites), and fees have been reduced from $200 to $150 per quarter.|