Welcome to ISP220, a course about the tiniest constituents in the universe and the biggest constituent in the Universe which is…the Universe itself. Remarkably these seemingly opposite notions are intimately related all because the it all started out incredibly hot and dense where only those elementary constituents could have been around. So we believe that by recreating those conditions, we’re exploring those first picoseconds after the Big Bang.
This week I’ll introduce the course and tell you why I have created it. We’ll go over the syllabus and the many working parts of ISP220 in which you dial up your own way to create points. Mix homework, exams, and projects in any combination.
Then we’ll start to talk about motion. An old subject and one that really didn’t come together until Galileo (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/galileo-battle-for-the-heavens.html), Descartes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/René_Descartes) , and of course Newton (http://www.biography.com/people/isaac-newton-9422656) wove brand new mathematical methods invented by the latter two guys with the experimental approach of the first guy (although both Descartes and Newton did experiments as well).
We’ll need some classical physics concepts in order to get into the fun stuff and so I’ll do just enough to remind you – if you’ve had physics before – or bring you up to speed (“speed”…get it?) if you’ve not had physics before.