Chapter 1 - Atomic Structure and Lifetimes

Essays on alternative pedagogic approaches

Philosophy of the Course
"Why I teach my students things that are incorrect" S. Haan
How important are problems assignments?
Einstein - pedagogical impedence mismatch
October 2004 Physics Today
    "Whence the Force of F=ma?" by Nobelist Frank Wilczek.
Medieval note-taking

Physics as a "voyage of discovery"

Columbus's three laws of geography
The "discovery" of Italy

The atomic fact (Sect. 1.1)

Feynman's view
Attraction and repulsion of neutral atoms
Atoms observable to all - STM
Birth, life, and death of ions
X-rays on a water surface (pdf)
Atomic theory becomes atomic fact: Einstein & Brownian motion
Einstein's dissertation
Einstein, Ann. Phys. Chim. 17, 549-60 (1905).
Atoms now observable to all - STM Gallery
Seeing patterns & making up stories - Stephen Jay Gould

Quantum electrodynamics

Exchanged quantum model for forces
It takes a whole universe
Mach's Principle: every interaction involves the entire universe
Electron-Positron events
Positrons and the PET scan
e-p pair creation & annihilation
One universal electron travelling reversibly in time
Feynman's Nobel recollections PDF   HTML
Interview with Sam Ting
Let there be light: take the rest of the week off!

Laplacian determinism vs probabilities (Sect. 1.2)

The fallacy of Laplacian Determinism
Laplace: A life in exact science
Cometary orbit
Laplace's prediction of the black hole
John Michell's prediction of the black hole
When was the Big Bang?
Ultimate limits: the Planck Length
Precise measurement of time?

Trajectories vs probabilities (Sect. 1.2)

Position probability density of a pendulum
Position probability density of traffic (1)
traffic (2)
traffic (3)
Confined particle, SHO, planetary orbit
Kepler's 2nd law
Nature is sums, not integrals

Least action alternative to Newton's laws

Least time
Fermat's principle applet
Explore all paths until measurement
Interactive Java applets
A call to action, Physics Today 71, 423 (2003)
Feynman and least action
Least action and EBK quantization

Chapt. 2
Chapt. 3
Chapt. 4
Chapt. 5
Chapt. 6
Chapt. 7
Chapt. 8
Chapt. 9
Chapt. 10
Chapt. 11
Chapt. 12
Chapt. 13