Online Physics 102

The main textbook is Physics and Technology for Future Presidents by Richard Muller.
The book The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg is an optional, extra-credit part of this course.
There will be an optional, online test that you can take to get the extra credit. Your grade in this course can only rise if you take this test.

You should try to take the quizzes on time and not let them all pile up in May.

I have made some videos about the early universe. In the first video I briefly describe Weinberg's book and then discuss some things that we learned about dark energy and dark matter after his book was published. This six-minute video is on YouTube.

In the second video, I discuss what we think may have happened in a few instants just before the Big Bang. This five-minute video also is on YouTube.

In the third video, I explain that we use the term cosmic inflation to denote what may have happened just before the Big Bang. This one-minute video also is on YouTube.

I am writing some class notes. Here they are.

Alan Guth explains inflation on YouTube

Nicola Twilley describes the discovery of gravitational waves in this New Yorker article.

A short history of the last 14 billion years.


Here are optional links to some websites that you may find interesting and may want to look at during this online course or after it:

Steven Weinberg's NYRB article The 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.

ESA 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)

A map of dark matter (yellow and red) across a huge region of space in which the black circles are clusters of galaxies.

NASA's picture of the day.

A gallery of Hubble images.

JPL's website of images from the Spitzer telescope.

Hubble image of two interacting galaxies, UGC 1810 and UGC 1813, in Arp 273.

Radio images

NASA's eXtreme Deep Field image of 5,500 galaxies. There are 2 trillion galaxies in our universe.

Link to some lovely NASA images taken with the Hubble telescope.

Link to an MIT computer simulation of the evolution of the universe.

Link to a webpage on the Stirling engine.

Information about units.

A periodic table.

A remote periodic table.

A remote poster of the 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.

Link 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.

Movies 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.