Spring 2022

M, W, F, 12p–12:50p
in Loomis Laboratory 136

Welcome to the course!

Space, Time, & Matter is an advanced and intensive history and philosophy of physics course that aims to: (a) introduce students to the history of both theoretical and experimental physics (more specifically we will travel from scientific thought before Aristotle all the way to the development of the standard model of particle physics); (b) briefly introduce students to the basic formulae and accompanying (sometimes competing) interpretations of classical Newtonian mechanics, classical electrodynamics, early kinetic theory, thermodynamics, (classical) Boltzmannian statistical mechanics, special relativity, general relativity, the standard ΛCDM cosmological model, and both non-relativistic and relativistic quantum mechanics; (c) introduce students to debates in the foundations of physics; and (d) give special attention to philosophical debates concerning scientific realism and anti-realism, the relationship between the manifest and scientific images, and the nature of space, time, and spacetime.

Grading in brief

The course is crosslisted, so one may register in either the Physics or Philosophy version. 419 obtains ACP credit and 3 credit hours, and requires a term paper; 420 is worth 2 credit hours.

419: Assignments 15%, midterm exam 30%, term paper 30%, final exam 15%, class participation 10%.
420: Assignments 30%, midterm exam 30%, final exam 30%, class participation 10%.