What is the nature of light? How does it relate to magnets, electric circuits, TVs, radioactivity and the fundamental forces of nature? More importantly, what really happens to your burrito when you microwave it? This course answers these and similar questions by following the historical development of three apparently distinct and unrelated phenomena—electricity, magnetism and light. Topics range from descriptions of these phenomena by the Greeks to Maxwell’s 19th-century unification of them into a single phenomenon to Einstein’s theory of special relativity to their incorporation into the Standard Model of contemporary physics. The course considers theoretical descriptions of the phenomena and technologies derived from them.
Prerequisites: Completion of first year writing requirements. Co-requisites: None. Notes: Satisfies a HuSS elective.