Theoretical Mechanics (111)

  • This course revisits mechanics with a mature and modern discussion of the subject, introductiing poweful new techniques for solving complex problems. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism will be explored, along with connections of classical mechanics to quantum mechanics through path integration, Poisson brackets, and Liouville’s theorem. Various general ideas will be covered including Noether’s theorem and a full relativistic treatment of mechanics.

    Prerequisite: Physics core.

Classical Field Theory (156)

  • This course explores concepts, methods and applications of the classical theory of fields. On the physics side, we will learn about cosmological inflation, superconductivity, electroweak theory, solitons, the nuclear force, and magnetic monopoles. On the mathematical side, we will learn the basics of differential geometry and Lie algebras. Throughout the course, we will emphasize the unity of physical principles and techniques - across a wide range of systems and disciplines.

    Prerequisite: Physics 111 or permission of instructor.

General Relativity (172)

  • The principle of equivalence, Riemannian geometry, Einstein's field equations, and the Schwarzschild and cosmological solutions will be explored, along with experimental and observational tests of the theory.

    Prerequisite: Physics 111 or permission of instructor.

Computational Physics (170)

  • We will learn about methods and tools for solving a variety of problems in mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical physics using Mathematica. The second half of the course will explore techniques of parallelized high performance computing based on CUDA and OpenCL.

    Prerequisite: Some familiarity with Mathematica and one of C/C++/python/Swift.

Electromagnetism (51)

  • Students who take this course should finish with a basic understanding of static and dynamic electromagnetic systems, the classical and quantum behavior of light, and the importance of electricity and magnetism in modern society. In addition, students should develop an increased appreciation of the role mathematics plays in describing the physical world.  Successful students in this course will be able to: Calculate fields and forces resulting from electric charge and current distributions; Work with the wave equation to describe the propagation of electromagnetic waves; Derive the interference and diffraction patterns of light using the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. 

Physics on the edge (49)

  • This course will teach you about the conceptual foundations of modern physics. We will cover a wide range of examples and concepts that span many sub-disciplines while emphasizing the unity of physics and its fundamental character. We will discuss general concepts from Relativity to Quantum Mechanics to Cosmology and Black holes, from superconductivity and the beauty of phase transitions to the Standard Model of particle physics and quantum entanglement. We will use high school math to explore the details of these concepts. Visual interactive simulations will replace equations wherever possible, and homeworks will help you explore explicit cases with basic computations. Near the end of the semester, you will choose a topic from current physics news that you will present to the class.

Statistical Mechanics (117)

  • A modern view of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics will be presented, starting with statistics and moving onto macroscopic descriptions and the laws of thermodynamics. The course ends with the subjects of quantum statistics and non-equilibrium dynamics.

Quantum Mechanics (116)

  • Dirac-notation based quantum mechanics is introduced using the concepts of Hilbert space and operator algebras. Space translational, time translational, and rotational symmetries are used as a organizational scheme to introduce momentum, energy, and angular momentum operators. We end with an exposition to perturbation theory.

    Prerequisite: Physics 52.

Physics in the News (Cornell)

  • An exposition of new physics topics in the news, with emphasis on general concepts and avoiding equations. Aimed at non-science majors.