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PHYSICS 83N: Physics in the 21st Century

Preference to freshmen. Current topics at the frontier of modern physics. This course provides an in-depth examination of two of the biggest physics discoveries of the 21st century: that of the Higgs boson and Dark Energy. Through studying these discoveries we will explore the big questions driving modern particle physics, the study of nature's most fundamental pieces, and cosmology, the study of the evolution and nature of the universe. Questions such as: What is the universe made of? What are the most fundamental particles and how do they interact with each other? What can we learn about the history of the universe and what does it tell us about it's future? We will learn about the tools scientists use to study these questions such as the Large Hadron Collider and the Hubble Space Telescope. We will also learn to convey these complex topics in engaging and diverse terms to the general public through writing and reading assignments, oral presentations, and multimedia projects. The syllabus includes a tour of SLAC, the site of many major 20th century particle discoveries, and a virtual visit of the control room of the ATLAS experiment at CERN amongst other activities. No prior knowledge of physics is necessary; all voices are welcome to contribute to the discussion about these big ideas. Learning Goals: By the end of the quarter you will be able to explain the major questions that drive particle physics and cosmology to your friends and peers. You will understand how scientists study the impossibly small and impossibly large and be able to convey this knowledge in clear and concise terms.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-SMA
Instructors: Tompkins, L. (PI)

PHYSICS 95Q: The Philosophies of Three Great Physicists

Richard Feynman has famously said, Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. A closer look at key moments in the history of physics, however, reveals a different picture. Contrary to the misconception that philosophy has nothing to offer to science in general, and physics in particular, watershed moments in the development of physics were inspired and motivated by deeply held philosophical principles. Similarly, important developments in physics have generated important and difficult philosophical questions. In this sophomore seminar we will explore three significant moments in the development of physics surrounding the works of Newton, Einstein, and Bohr. We will analyze the relationship between the prevailing philosophical views they espoused and the physics they produced. How did Newton come to the view of absolute and fixed space and time? What led Einstein to reject the notion of a fixed space and time and propose a relativistic, and even dynamic space-time? What is Bohr's influential doctrine of complementary, and why did several generations of physicists believe it to be an adequate philosophical response to quantum mechanics? We will see that the relationship between philosophy and physics is more similar to the relationship between mathematics and physics where progress in one area is often preceded and followed by progress in the second.
Last offered: Winter 2017 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 100: Introduction to Observational Astrophysics

Designed for undergraduate physics majors but open to all students with a calculus-based physics background and some laboratory and coding experience. Students make and analyze observations using the telescopes at the Stanford Student Observatory. Topics covered include navigating the night sky, the physics of stars and galaxies, telescope instrumentation and operation, imaging and spectroscopic techniques, quantitative error analysis, and effective scientific communication. The course concludes with an independent project where student teams propose and execute an observational astronomy project of their choosing, using techniques learned in class to gather and analyze their data, and presenting their findings in the forms of professional-style oral presentations and research papers. Enrollment by permission. To get a permission number please complete form: http://web.stanford.edu/~elva/physics100prelim.fb If you have not heard from us by the beginning of class, please come to the first class session.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 105: Intermediate Physics Laboratory I: Analog Electronics

Analog electronics including Ohm's law, passive circuits and transistor and op amp circuits, emphasizing practical circuit design skills to prepare undergraduates for laboratory research. Short design project. Minimal use of math and physics, no electronics experience assumed beyond introductory physics. Prerequisite: PHYSICS 43 or PHYSICS 63.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 107: Intermediate Physics Laboratory II: Experimental Techniques and Data Analysis

Experiments on lasers, Gaussian optics, and atom-light interaction, with emphasis on data and error analysis techniques. Students describe a subset of experiments in scientific paper format. Prerequisites: completion of PHYSICS 40 or PHYSICS 60 series, and PHYSICS 70 and PHYSICS 105. Recommended pre- or corequisites: PHYSICS 120 and 130. WIM
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 108: Advanced Physics Laboratory: Project

Have you ever gotten to come up with a scientific question you'd like to explore, then worked with a small group to plan, design, build, and carry out an experiment to pursue this? Most projects pursued (drawn from condensed matter or particle physics) have never before been done in the class. This is an accelerated, guided "simulation" of real frontier experimental research. We provide substantial resources to help your team. Prerequisites PHYSICS 105, PHYSICS 107. PHYSICS 130 preferred.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 110: Advanced Mechanics (PHYSICS 210)

Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Principle of least action, Euler-Lagrange equations. Small oscillations and beyond. Symmetries, canonical transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, action-angle variables. Introduction to classical field theory. Selected other topics, including nonlinear dynamical systems, attractors, chaotic motion. Undergraduates register for Physics 110 (4 units). Graduates register for Physics 210 (3 units). Prerequisites: MATH 131P or PHYSICS 111, and PHYSICS 112 or MATH elective 104 or higher. Recommended prerequisite: PHYSICS 130.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-FR, WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 120: Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I

Vector analysis. Electrostatic fields, including boundary-value problems and multipole expansion. Dielectrics, static and variable magnetic fields, magnetic materials. Maxwell's equations. Prerequisites: PHYSICS 43 or PHYS 63; MATH 52 and MATH 53. Pre- or corequisite: PHYS 111, MATH 131P or MATH 173. Recommended corequisite: PHYS 112.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-FR, WAY-SMA

PHYSICS 130: Quantum Mechanics I

The origins of quantum mechanics and wave mechanics. Schrödinger equation and solutions for one-dimensional systems. Commutation relations. Generalized uncertainty principle. Time-energy uncertainty principle. Separation of variables and solutions for three-dimensional systems; application to hydrogen atom. Spherically symmetric potentials and angular momentum eigenstates. Spin angular momentum. Addition of angular momentum. Prerequisites: PHYSICS 65 or PHYSICS 70 and PHYSICS 111 or MATH 131P or MATH 173. MATH 173 can be taken concurrently. Pre- or corequisites: PHYSICS 120.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-FR, WAY-SMA

PSYC 54N: Genes, Memes and Behavior

Examines how natural selection operates to shape successful genes in the gene pool, how cultural selection operates to shape successful "memes" in the pool of cultural ideas, and how selection by consequences operates to shape successful behaviors in our repertoires. Topics include cases in which selection produces undesirable consequences (e.g. genetic mutations, cultural problems, and aberrant behaviors in children). Emphasis on understanding the role of modern natural science in complex behaviors and why study of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective is important.
Terms: Aut, Sum | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA
Instructors: Hall, S. (PI)
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