ISC6416 - History of Physical Science and Cultural Connections
This course is designed for graduate students in science, engineering and math who wish to know something about the “who,
how, why, when and where” of physics. It assumes they know something of the “what” of physics in order to be graduate students.
I trace the developments leading to today’s physics considering when and where they happened, who took part, what they contributed
to our thinking processes and how the work led to other discoveries. I also look at the impacts science had on society and
conversely, how societies affected their science. There will be a discussion of ethical problems that a scientist/engineer
- Discussion of what is science, what is a culture, what is the Culture of Science, what are scientific ethics, what can go
right/wrong – some comments on fraud and pathological science.
- How did science get started?
- The Copernican Revolution and the Newtonian Synthesis
- Scientific Controversies
- Conservation Laws, Thermodynamics and the Arrow of Time
- Electricity, Magnetism and Electromagnetics – Maxwell, Symmetry and Unification
- Measurement, Relativity, Einstein and Everything Else
- Quantum Mechanics – Part I
- Quantum Mechanics – Part II
- Quantum Mechanics – Part III
- Five Experiments that Define Modern Optics
- Time and the Past and Future Histories of the Universe
- The Miracle of Stars and Why We Are
- Patents and Intellectual Property Issues
One of the great issues in science is weapons related research. This is exemplified by the development of nuclear weapons
during World War II. To study this issue, one evening we will view and discuss the play “Copenhagen” which deals with Werner
Heisenberg’s visit to Niels Bohr during the Nazi occupation of Denmark and the conflicts both experienced. We will also
view and discuss a dramatization of the court fight between Intelligent Design and Science entitled “Judgment Day”.