“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
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 an understanding of these concepts, students explore new technologies in areas such as renewable energy, virtual reality, and biotechnology.
Participants explore material conductivity by building circuits, assemble a physical model for understanding conversion of energy, experience virtual reality through Google glasses, write onto computers directly from brain signals, and work with MATLAB to create simulated models. They also work in groups on projects that they present at the end of the course.
Lectures and hands-on experiments are supplemented by tours of Columbia's research laboratories and visits to locations such as The Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), and The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Please note that hands-on work for this class is conducted in a traditional classroom rather than in a laboratory.
Students who have already taken physics might be interested in Investigations in Theoretical and Experimental Physics or Astronomy and Astrophysics.
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.
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.