Spring 2005

SCIE 657
The Physics of Light

Shapiro,Mark

01/24/2005 - 05/02/2005
Monday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Science Tower 58

Light is one of the two basic entities in the universe. Matter is one, while pure energy, in the form of electromagnetic radiation, or light, is the other. Light can perform the extremes of uniting the universe or revealing the smallest particle of matter.

We study light in all its aspects, using physical demonstrations and mathematical analyses. We study the behavior of light as it interacts with mirrors (reflection) and with transparent media (refraction), as it passes through obstacles (diffraction), and as it passes through optical gratings (interference). We also discuss lenses--glasses, microscopes, and telescopes, lasers, fiber optics, and polarized sunglasses. We attempt to fathom light's contradictory nature--wave or particle, and analyze its movement through space and time, bringing us in contact with the pillars of modern physics, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

Students will be expected to do regular problem-solving assignments, two exams will be given, and a project will be required, either a written report or a physical demonstration.

Students should have a working knowledge of mathematics through trigonometry.


Mark Shapiro (B.A. Trinity College; M.A. Columbia University) is visiting instructor of physics.


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Ralph Baierlein, NEWTON TO EINSTEIN: THE TRAIL OF LIGHT (Cambridge University Press), Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

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