I am teaching this course in a manner that is somewhat different from approaches that have been used in the past. Since this goal of the course has always been to present a broad survey, the emphasis will be to provide conceptual and intuitive insights into the fundamental basis of natural phenomena. A few of the reasons for doing this are listed below.

It has been stated that with the advent of modern Quantum theory we lost all conceptual pictures, and only mathematics remains. I strongly disagree with this statement, and the course will attempt to refute this view. Physics is NOT a way of thinking about Mathematics - Mathematics is ONE way of thinking about Physics (and sometimes not the best initial way).

In the current Physics Curriculum, students learn perhaps too much about strategies for solving contrived problems and certainly too little about the conceptual impact of Physics on their daily lives and on their own fields of specialization. Attempts will be made to structure the course in a manner that balances conceptual models with mathematical formulations, with applications to real physical situations.

The textbook for the course, Atomic Structure and Lifetimes: A Conceptual Approach, is unique in providing an introduction to this approach. Although this book was written for use in a graduate course, the conceptual basis presented in the first five chapters (and in portions of some later chapters) can be understood at a very elementary level. In addition, supplementary bridge materials are available on this website.

It should also be noted that, although materials will be made available at this Website, the primary emphasis of the course will be interpersonal and not electronic. The purpose of providing these electronic materials is to free students from impediments (such as note taking, etc) that could otherwise interfere with direct interactions with the instructor.

L. J. Curtis

* To make this conceptual approach available to a wider audience, this offering can also serve as a multipurpose platform to construct individualized courses at both the General Education and the Graduate levels.

  • Natural Sciences Core Course Credit can be earned in a tutorial offering of Physics 1050 "The World of Atoms."

  • Variable Graduate credit (or provisional Pre-Graduate credit) can be earned in a tutorial offering "Atomic Structure with Specialized Applications" offered under the Special Topics number Physics 4/6980.

  • The course is also eligible for WIC (Writing Intensive Course) credit.

    Students (both undergraduate and graduate) who have an interest in this area but are excluded by the numbering level or prerequisites of this course should contact the Instructor or the Department Office.
  • Homepage

    <bgsound src="figaro11.mid">