Physics and Technologies of the Future (Online)

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
II - July 21–August 7, 2020
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 11:10 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 3:10–5:00 p.m.
Prachi Patel

“I gained a better understanding of how many sub-areas of physics there are and what I would love to potentially study.” — From a program course evaluation 

Course Description

In this course, intended for students who have an interest in science and technology but have not yet taken physics, participants are introduced to key concepts in the field and look at how these concepts are changing the world.

Topics covered include electromagnetics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, Newtonian mechanics, waves, stars and galaxies, nuclear physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and string theory. Having gained some understanding of these concepts, students explore new technologies in areas such as renewable energy, virtual reality, and biotechnology.

Participants explore virtual experiments so as to understand material conductivity by building circuits, write code to control robots, and work with MATLAB to create simulated models. They gain insights into best research practices and learn to peer-review science articles. They also work in groups on projects that they present at the end of the course.

For this course, augmented reality pioneer, Amir Baradaran is working with the instructor to develop an augmented reality application, My DigiLab, which will be accessible to students for the duration of the program. The platform is a multi-user pedagogical software, accessible through Android and iOS smartphones, that immerses students into a digitally created interactive scientific laboratory that simulates hands-on and real-time learning experiments. Students will learn by observing, interacting, and manipulating virtual objects that are overlaid on top of their physical space. This educational gaming concept allows for each student to engage with the existing online curriculum in strikingly different ways.

Students who have already taken physics might be interested in Investigations in Theoretical and Experimental Physics or Astronomy and Astrophysics.


Prachi Patel

Prachi Patel is a Ph.D. student in Columbia's Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. She holds a master’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in technology from Nirma University in India. Her scientific research consists of investigating how speech and music are encoded in the human brain. She looks at signals recorded from the brain to infer the encoding of this information and the workings of brain circuitry. Prachi’s scientific findings are published in international science journals such as Cell Reports and eLife, and she has presented her work at several international conferences including SfN, APAN, and ARO. She is also a review editor for Frontiers for Young Minds, an open access scientific journal that brings the latest research in real time to school children.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.