# Chapter 1 - Atomic Structure and Lifetimes

*Introduction*

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### Essays on alternative pedagogic approaches

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Philosophy of the Course
"Why I teach my
students things that are incorrect" S. Haan
How important are problems assignments?
Do the problems we assign describe the real world?
Why is the earth still flat in elementary physics?
Einstein - pedagogical impedence mismatch
Medieval note-taking

### Physics as a "voyage of discovery"

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Quotes
Historical approach?
Where to begin
The "discovery" of Italy
The nature of discovery
"Hot Hands" - Stephen Jay Gould
Statistical runs
### Thinking outside the box

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The first three minute quiz
Card trick
### The force culture

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Wilczek on forces
Responses to
Wilczek
Is physics a body of knowledge?
A scientific education in symbolic form
### Nature is symmetric in space and time

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What is time?
Time rates
Time exposure: A landscape-timescape
The Lumiere brothers
Stop
action
Slow-motion photography
Time-lapse photography
Reverse-action photography
Time reversal
### The atomic fact (Section 1.1)

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Feynman's view

Attraction and repulsion of neutral atoms

Atoms observable to all

STM
Birth, life, and death of ions
Splashdown of a photon
Einstein & Brownian motion
Einstein, Ann. Phys. Chim. **17**, 549-60 (1905): Brownian motion
Einstein, Ann. Phys. 19, 289-306 (1906): Thesis
### Quantum electrodynamics

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Exchanged quantum model for forces

It takes a whole universe
Mach's Principle: every interaction
involves the entire universe

Electron-Positron events
Bubble chamber tracks
e-p pair creation & annihilation

One universal electron travelling reversibly in time

Feynman's Nobel recollections
Interview with Sam Ting
Positrons and the PET scan

### The statistics of photons

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The photon re-invents itself
Just
like SpongeBob clones himself
Bosons and ants
Einstein, Ann. Phys. Chim. **17**, 891-921 (1905).
English translation
Let there be light: take the rest of the week
off!
### Laplacian determinism vs probabilities (Section 1.2)

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The fallacy of Laplacian Determinism

Cometary orbit
Precise measurement of time?
John Michell's prediction of the black hole
Laplace's prediction of the black hole
When was the Big Bang?
Ultimate limits: the Planck Length
Joint uncertainty in canonical quantities
Economic
Theory of Rational Expectations
Changing the legal landscape
Laplace: A life in exact science
### Trajectories vs probabilities

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Alternatives?
Kepler applet
Kepler's 2nd law
Circumference of an ellipse
Integral
### Least action alternative to Newton's laws

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Least time

Fermat's principle applet

Dynamics
Explore all paths until measurement
Interactive Java applets
Exercise
Solution
Plot
*A call to action*, Am.J.Phys.
**71**, 423 (2003)

Feynman and least action

Least action and EBK quantization