Fundamental Universe

I contributed two one-evening talks to a one-semester COS course on ‘The Fundamental Universe’, which was intended to be a series of talks on the fundamental ideas of physics, concentrating on the core ideas rather than any of the details, practical or not.

The slides below are by no means standalone, and so are here almost for decoration. The extra notes, as well, are intended as a supplement – extended footnotes – for those who were at the class.

Classical mechanics from the mountaintop

Slightly quixotically, this was an attempt to provide an overview of classical mechanics, from the variational point of view (in contrast to the more readily intelligible Newtonian/Cartesian point of view of forces acting on objects). This point of view is typically mathematically very sophisticated, and therefore impenetrable, and I'm not sure how well this presentation succeeded, but as a flavour of a different way of thinking about these things, and as a pointer to the advatages of that, I hope it achieved at least some of its goals.

A scamper through quantum mechanics

This talk covered the ‘why’ of Quantum Mechanics, and some of the core ideas and paradoxes (so EPR, Bell’s theorem, and the Aspect experiments).

Norman Gray
2013 January 14 and 2013 February 4