Dialogue Between Physicists and Poets
Honors 301 and Physics 400 Seminar
Tu Th 12:30-13:45
Honors College Rm 9
Professor Gold is an
experimentalist. He has worked in electron-positrion collider
physics, proton-antiproton collider physics (including discovery of the
top quark), high energy cosmic rays and direct dark matter
searches. His current research interests are in properties of
traditional "physics for poets" course is aimed at teaching students
the introductory college physics curriculum but at a simplified level
with the aim of teaching students to do
physics problems. The aim of this course is quite
different. Here we focus on key concepts in physics (e.g.
relativity, chaos, uncertainty) that have found there way into our
literature (poems, stories, plays, novels) and the broader culture
(e.g. visual art). These ideas also have major implications for
our society that have been explored in particular in literature.
The course consists of guided discussion on major ideas
in physics at a conceptual level, and
discussion of these ideas as elucidated in the reading
We focus on ideas that have resonated broadly in our culture as
reflected in literature. The concepts will be introduced through
readings from two of the greatest teachers of physics to
general audiences: Gamov and Feynman. These concepts are paired with
literature that explore the implications for culture and society.
The overall theme will
be the relation between physics and culture and the responsibility of
physicists to society.
Topics: gravity, relativity,
thermodynamics, chaos, quantum mechanics, cosmology