Physics, broadly the study of motion and interaction in nature, captivates as much as it bemuses. As a centuries-old “hot topic,” physics today is filled with thriving research in quantum information, cosmology, planetary astrophysics, nonlinear dynamics, and countless other subfields. Yet the subject is often cloaked with inaccessible jargon, with the big picture ideas obscured behind seemingly insurmountable prerequisites and confounding pseudoscience. In this class, we qualitatively summarize the broad and vibrant landscape of physics as it is today.
Expect from this whirlwind journey of a course an understanding of the fascinating questions asked (and sometimes answered) by physicists and astronomers throughout history, and an ability to confront contemporary popular science headlines with informed excitement and skepticism. An all-in-one guide for the physics YOU need to know in the 21st century!
The course will consist of weekly homework assignments (15% of grade) and a final paper (30% of grade). These are, by and large, by completion. Attendance and participation together make up 55% of the grade - with allowances for unforeseen circumstances and conflicts upon report.
There are no math or physics prerequisites at all, just healthy curiosity and a willingness to ask questions!
Enrollment is easy: just sign up on CalCentral (the class is listed as Astron 98, Group 002 with the course code #17268 and make sure to select two (2) units (it's a P/NP). Then, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a permission code.
Instruction begins the week of February 5.
Lectures will be at 3:30 - 5:00 pm PT on Mondays in Campbell 131.
No day(s) left until application deadline!