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We are in the planning stages of the Summer 2014 Modern Physics Study Abroad Program.
West Chester University and PASSHE School students are welcome, as are students from other Universities and Colleges. If you are from another University or College and would like to get a copy of the course syllabus to provide to your advisor, department chair and/or registrar to see about the transferability of course credits, please contact Dr. Waite directly.
"Modern physics" is the term usually used to refer to 20th. c. physics which includes an introductory study of quantum mechanics, atomic physics, relativity and nuclear physics. Many of the major advances in physics during the 20th c. happened in Europe and were greatly influenced by the social and political events of the times. For example, we would most definitely not have made such rapid advances in our ability to harness atomic energy if it were not for the "arms race" during the 2nd World War and our need to build the bomb before Germany. And the improvements in travel allowed for meetings of minds between the eminent scientists such as occurred at the Fifth Solvay Conference in Brussels Belgium in 1927. Seventeen of the 29 participants in this meeting went on to win the Nobel Prize. These meetings greatly enhanced the rate at which science was done during this tumultuous century.
This course is typically the first class beyond the introductory physics courses taken by physics majors and minors. Passing grades in PHY130/140 or PHY170/180 are a pre-requisite for participation in this course and program.
For this program, we will speed the first 2 weeks of the 5-week summer session at West Chester University completing the first 1/2+ of the course material and content. Then we will travel to London, England for the remaining 3 weeks of our course.
In this class we will speak at length and learn about Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenburg, Wolfgang Pauli, J.J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford and Edwin Schrödinger, amongst others. These scientists were primarily from various European countries, and they all worked in European countries. By going to Europe as we learn about these scientists, we will gain a better understanding of who they were, what they were doing, and what were the results of their work. The scientists, and their invaluable contributions to our present understanding of physics, will become more “real” and human as opposed to “someone I once read about in some textbook.” To be successful scientists is to intimately know the work that preceded us, and to use our understanding of that work to progress further. This program/course will provide you with this opportunity for further enlightenment in the physics done during the 20th c. in Europe.
In addition to visiting sites directly related to modern physics, we will have the opportunity to visit other physics and science related sites that you may have learned about in other courses.
We will also have the opportunity to visit some sites which are less directly related to physics, more cultural and historic and tourist related sites. The successful scientist should be well versed not only in his/her primary discipline, but should be familiar with and exposed to the broad spectrum of disciplines within the Arts and Humanities, as well as different cultures.
(Note: e-mails and/or office visits are the best ways to contact Dr. Waite.)
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