Course Synopses

01:750:397. PHYSICS OF MODERN DEVICES (3)

  • Course Description:
    Prerequisites: Two terms of introductory physics and a course in calculus.

    Physical laws and principles underlying modern devices and processes; examples including motors, generators, refrigerators, vacuum tubes, transistors, radio and television receivers, computers, rockets, nuclear reactors, radiation detectors, lasers, and holograms.

    The goal of this course is to bring the textbook physics out to the technologically-rich modern world around us.

    Physics is the process of simplifying the phenomena around us, trying to figure out how they work. Although this approach helps understand the fundamental principles of the nature, there usually is a big gap between what we learn from the standard physics courses and what we encounter every day.  If you look around us, you can find so many magical devices that are directly affecting our everyday life: cell phones, radios, TVs, generators, light emitting diodes, fluorescent lights, (digital) clocks, GPS, microwave ovens, refrigerators, airconditioners, touch screens, computers, hard disks, memory devices, batteries, solar cells, printers, cameras, ... 

    Although most of these devices rely on simple physical principles that average physics undergrads are familiar with, the connection between those fundamental principles and the actual functionalities is rarely obvious. In this course, we will go over how these devices work at the level average physics undergrads can understand.  

    As we uncover the underlying mechanisms of one device after another, you will be amazed to find out how a few simple principles combine to exhibit such magical functionalities in all these devices.

    It is not a sheer coincidence that Albert Einstein has come up with some of the greatest scientific ideas while he was working as a patent officer figuring out how all the intriguing devices filed for patents should or should not work.

  • Learning Management System: https://sites.google.com/site/moderndevices397/home