Physics 102 001
Kevin Cahill (505) 205 5448
Office hours: I am in my office (room 176 of the Physics &
Astronomy building on Yale at Lomas) most afternoons.
Call first to be sure I'm there and so I can let you in if the
building is locked.
You also may go to our Tutoring Table which is staffed by graduate
students in physics in room 111 of Regener Hall and is open 27 hours
each week. Here is the
The two books for this course are
The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg
and Physics and Technology for Future Presidents
by Richard Muller. Reading these two books is good for you
and is an important part of this course.
The content of this course is these two books and the material presented in class.
You will be tested and graded VERY GENEROUSLY on these three
Errors in Muller's book:
On page 369, hydrocarbons should be carbohydrates.
Oil is a hydrocarbon; sugar is a carbohydrate.
Pages 384--388: American petroleum engineers have developed
hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as a relatively cheap way
to produce oil and gas in the US.
We will use UNM's Blackboard Learn for quizzes. You can log onto
Learn and click on the Quizzes/Tests link in the menu on the
There will be 10 online quizzes on the book Physics and Technology for Future Presidents. These quizzes will count for half of your final grade.
There will be one online quiz on the book The First Three Minutes. It will be worth 20 percent of your final grade.
There will be one online quiz on the lectures (and possibly on the books since they overlap). It will be worth 30 percent of your final grade.
You can take these quizzes any time you want and you can take the quizzes as often as you want and keep the highest score.
There will be no final exam.
The deadline for completing all 12 quizzes is noon on Thursday 11
I have been taking attendance; students who attend class
regularly will learn more and so will get extra credit.
This course has two purposes: to educate you and to help you get a UNM degree. I will grade the course generously so as not to frustrate the second purpose of the course.
Weinberg's book has four parts: the main text, a glossary, a section
of mathematical derivations, and an afterword.
You should read the main text and the afterword, looking
up technical terms in the glossary as needed.
The mathematical derivations are intended mainly
for graduate students and professional physicists,
so reading that section is optional.
In the six-minute
video, I briefly describe Weinberg's book
and some things that were learned
about dark energy and dark matter after
his book was published.
I discuss what we think may have happened
in a few instants just before the Big Bang in the five-minute
I explain that we use the term cosmic inflation
to denote what may have happened just before the Big Bang
in this one-minute video on
I am writing some class notes.
Here they are.
Alan Guth explains inflation on
Nicola Twilley describes the discovery of gravitational waves in this
history of the last 14 billion years.
Steven Weinberg's NYRB article
Trouble with Quantum Mechanics.
Part 1 is of special interest.
The cosmic microwave background radiation
as measured by the Planck satellite of the
European Space Agency.
website on the CMB.
An image (detected by gravitational lensing) of a
huge filament of dark matter
between two clusters of galaxies, Abell 222 and Abell 223.
Nature 487, 202-204 (12 July 2012)
of dark matter (yellow and red) across a huge region of space
in which the black circles are clusters of galaxies.
picture of the
A gallery of Hubble
JPL's website of images from the
image of two interacting galaxies, UGC 1810 and UGC 1813, in Arp 273.
NASA's eXtreme Deep Field
of 5,500 galaxies. There are 2 trillion galaxies
in our universe.
to some lovely NASA images taken
with the Hubble telescope.
to an MIT computer simulation of the evolution of the universe.
to a webpage on the Stirling engine.
to a webpage about stars: how they form, how they evolve, what they do.
A periodic table.
A remote periodic table.
A remote poster of
standard model of prticle physics.
The poster omits the Higgs boson which has a mass of 125 GeV/\(c^2\).
Diagram of the apparatus
that Davisson-Germer used from 1923 to 1927 with which they
showed that electrons, like photons, are particles that
go on average where their wave functions tell them to go.
to image of transparency of Earth's atmosphere
from .1 nm to 1 km. The heat of the Earth
leaves at wavelenghs around 10 microns.
of wave motion.
Feynman's demo of electrons going through two slits.
Link to some recently released films of nuclear explosions.
Link to an NYT video about meteor showers.
Link to a website about meteor showers.
Link to a website about total internal reflection,
which is used in the fiber-optic cables of the internet.
Link to a website about antennas.
Link to some images and information about stars and gas in space.
Link to some images and information about planetary [sic] nebulas,
which are expanding glowing shells of ionized gas ejected from old
red-giant stars, which are stars that fuse hydrogen outside their cores but no
longer in their cores.
to an NYT video of places where extraterrestrial life may exist.
to video of collapse of Tacoma Narrows bridge.
Link to my mathematical notes on laminar
webpage about pendulums.
as seen by Cassini inside the rings of Saturn.
to a webpage about mirrors.
to a webpage about lenses.
Images of the Crab nebula remnants of a supernova observed
in 1054 by Chinese astronomers.
leaks in one's front yard.
Atoms and molecules of living beings.
Cellular metabolisms of living beings.
Some molecular devices of living beings.
Some molecular structures of living beings.
1 of MBoC5.
2 of MBoC5.
3 of MBoC5.
4 of MBoC5.
5 of MBoC5.
6 of MBoC5.
7 of MBoC5.
8 of MBoC5.
9 of MBoC5.
A NASA webpage about
Some fresh thoughts by
Link to NYT story about a January 2017
merger of two black holes 3 billion light years away.
The maximum power output of the merger
exceeded that of all the stars of the known universe.
Videos of the course lectures:
The first lecture is on
The second lecture is on
The third lecture is on
The fourth lecture is on
The fifth lecture (abbreviated by equipment failures) is on
In this lecture, I converted 0.02 mm to a distance in meters
that was too short by a factor of 1000. I corrected this error
in the sixth lecture.
The sixth lecture is on
Here is a
description of the demo
that estimates Planck's constant.
The seventh lecture is on
The first half of the eighth lecture is on
The second half of the eighth lecture is on
The first half of the ninth lecture is on
The second half of the ninth lecture is on
The tenth lecture is on
The 11th lecture is on
The 12th lecture is on
The 13th lecture is on
The 14th lecture is on
The 15th lecture is on
The 16th lecture is on
The 17th lecture is on
The 18th lecture is on
The 19th lecture is on
The 20th lecture is on
Due to a problem with the video camera,
the 21th lecture is not available.
The 22d lecture is on
The 23d lecture is on
The 24th lecture is on
The 25th lecture is on
The 26th lecture is on
The 27th lecture is on
The 28th lecture is on
The 29th lecture is on
The 30th lecture is on