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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2006

T C PHY341 • Problems in Modern Physics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
62010 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
PAI 4.42

Course Description

The discoveries and the methods of analysis that are the basis of Twentieth Century Physics have dominated our lives and in many cases set the tone of our intellectual debate. Unfortunately, in most undergraduate university curricula, this material is not covered. This omission is usually due to the need to prepare the students in both the requisite classical physics and mathematics. This course covers these subjects without the use of sophisticated mathematics but in a coherent and correct presentation of the discoveries of modern physics. The emphasis in the course will be on the conceptual development of the ideas. The course begins with a general review of several of the basic ideas that are relevant to all of physics but quickly relates them to discoveries made in the twentieth century. From this basis, we move into the modern theory of microscopic phenomena. From this we hope to develop a coherent description of the nature of matter. Following that, we will study the modern theory of space and time. We will conclude with a look at the modern interpretation of the origins of the universe. Again the emphasis is on conceptual foundations.

About the Professor Dr. Austin Gleeson, Professor of Physics, works on the field theory of strong interactions, the physics of superdense matter, and high-energy acoustic sources. Plan II students presented him the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award for 1999-2000.

Grading Policy

The course has two lectures a week. Each student must also attend one discussion section per week. There is homework every week consisting of assigned problems and take-home laboratories. Some of the problems and all the laboratories deal with general science competency. There are two tests and a final. Students with a weak background in physics from high school are encouraged to take the special section of Phy 309K for Plan II students before enrolling in this course.


U.T. Physics Department, Introduction to Modern Physics Richard P. Feynman, QED Thomas A. Moore, A Traveler's Guide to Spacetime John Alan Paulos, Innumeracy


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