Physics on the Edge of Sanity

Thursdays in April, at 5pm, at Harvey Mudd, Galileo Pryne hall 

Based on the ebook “Physics on the Edge"

Lecture I

April 5, 2018

First Principles

In a few broad strokes I will sketch out the basic axiomatic assumptions and outline a set of beliefs that guides the process of discovery in physics. I will talk about the three pillars of modern physics and the principles that unify the subject at a profound level.

Lecture II

April 12, 2018

Quantum Fuzz

Quantum physics is, arguably, the greatest success story of contemporary science. Yet, it remains one of the most counterintuitive theories that bewildered the minds of the greatest 20th century thinkers. It continues to baffle us today, even while we apply its ideas in modern technology. In this lecture, I outline the main principles of quantum theory, describe what it helps us understand about the microscopic world, and discuss the puzzles to which it leads.

Lecture III

April 19, 2018

Black holes

Black holes are the most extreme phenomena in the universe. They push the limits of our imagination and drive our formulations of the laws of nature to their breaking point. In this lecture, I discuss the theory of relativity —both special and general — which allows us to understand a cornucopia of puzzles associated with black holes.

Lecture IV

April 26, 2018

Big Bang

Understanding the cosmos is arguably the most profound endeavor in physics. It leads to questions about the nature of space and time, the origins of all matter and energy, the ultimate fate of the universe, and grand coincidences associated with our presence in this world. In this lecture, I explore all these topics and the puzzles they lead to.