In this course, intended for students who have an interest in science and technology but have not yet taken physics, participants are introduced to key concepts in the field and look at how these concepts are changing the world. Topics covered include electromagnetics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, Newtonian mechanics, waves, stars and galaxies, nuclear physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and string theory. Having gained an understanding of these concepts, students explore new technologies in areas such as renewable energy, virtual reality, and biotechnology.
Participants explore material conductivity by building circuits, assemble a physical model for understanding conversion of energy, experience virtual reality through Google glasses, and write onto computers directly from brain signals. They also work in groups on projects that they present at the end of the course.
Lectures and hands-on experiments are supplemented by tours of Columbia's research laboratories and visits to locations such as The Museum of Natural History, The MTA Museum, the Samsung Virtual Reality Center, and The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Please note that hands-on work for this class is conducted in a traditional classroom rather than in a laboratory.
Students who have already taken physics might be interested in Investigations in Theoretical and Experimental Physics or Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Prachi Patel is a Ph.D. student in Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. She holds a master’s degree in electronic engineering from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in technology from Nirma University in India. Her scientific research consists of understanding how spatial and emotional aspects of speech are encoded in the human brain. She looks at signals recorded from the human brain to infer the encoding of information in the brain and the workings of brain circuitry. Prachi has taught physics to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students.