Great Ideas in Physics
Jul 30, 1988
A very elementary, non-mathematical presentation of some of the major principles of (pre-twentieth century) physics. The course will help provide the kind of generalized understanding of the physical universe that every educated layman should have. Except for occasional philosophic side-comments, this will be a straight science course; the overview it provides, however, should help concretize one's understanding of causality and the absolutism of the metaphysically given. Topics will include atomic theory, electromagnetic radiation, and the physical basis of chemistry. Emphasis will be on wide principles and how they explain everyday phenomena (for example, why the sky is blue, why "industrial strength" vacuum cleaners aren't, how a radio works).