Quantum Facts and Mysteries

Winter 2020
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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What is the fundamental nature of reality? What role, if any, do the laws of quantum physics dictate that human consciousness might play in shaping reality? What impact has quantum theory had on technology, culture, and everyday life? For about a century, physicists, philosophers, and others have wrestled with the mysteries of quantum physics. Physicists agree on how to make experimental predictions using quantum theories, but do not all agree on what the theories mean beyond their clear usefulness. Meanwhile, the paradoxes and quirks of quantum theories echo in the popular imagination, sometimes in ways that are faithful to physics, and at other times outstripping what physics implies.

Students in this program will explore these questions through readings, seminars, hands-on laboratory experiments and project work. Project work will reflect the particular interests and skills of students. Possibilities for projects include: writing a paper on a philosophical, scientific or cultural question related to quantum mechanics; lab-based exploration beyond regular program experiments; or more advanced work in physics or mathematics related to quantum theory.

Readings may include texts by Tom Stoppard, Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner, Louisa Gilder, Karen Barad, Richard Feynman, and Art Hobson. 

Well-qualified students may earn up to six upper-division science credits for project work with instructor approval.


Winter 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20226
Fr (16): 20229

Academic details

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

Students seeking to earn upper division credit must contact the faculty to discuss options prior to the start of the quarter. Students may earn a maximum of 6 upper-division credits.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 E2105 - Workshop