DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
WELCOME TO 335-0 MODERN PHYSICS!

In this course we explore the edge of man's knowledge of the universe.  What are protons made of?  Why can't I go faster than the speed of light?  How are stars formed and what is a black hole?  These are just a few of the many questions investigated in Phyx 335-0.  Check out the following images and links to discover more.

PARTICLE PHYSICS:   Physicists continually seek to discover the fundamental particles of the universe and to describe their interactions.  To create fundamental particles to study (their lifetimes are billionths of billionths of a second) the debris obtained from high-energy collisions of other particles are studied.  A photograph of such a collision is shown at left.  Although this method has been highly successful, it has been likened to learning about engines by slamming pairs of automobiles together until a working engine flies out.
LASERS/QUANTUM MECHANICS:   Quantum mechanics teaches us that when particles are confined to a small region, the possible kinetic energies they have are limited to discrete levels as opposed to a continuum.  Lasers operate by the emission of photons given off when electrons at one energy level fall to a lower one.

ASTROPHYSICS:   Around half of the stars in our galaxy form binary pairs.  Recently physicists have been using numerical computer simulations to simulate the formation of an accretion disk in a gas cloud into a binary pair.  The image at left is a frame of such an simulation.  Click it or this link to find pages with more information on the computer simulation of fascinating astrophysical phenomena.



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