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Light: Perception, Quantum Theory, and Astrophysical Measurements

Professor Peter Fedders

Light waves (visible light) make up a minute fraction of the total spectrum of electromagnetic waves, but they are the ones that our eyes detect. A variety of phenomena related to these waves will be discussed.

April 4: Perception

This talk will focus on the nature of electromagnetic waves, especially in the visible region. This includes the perception of light and color by mankind and animals, what eyes actually detect, and what we think that we see. We will consider the simple physics of sources of color, polarization of light, and a variety of other phenomena related to light.

April 11: Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics is the foundation of modern electronics, physics, chemistry, and parts of other sciences. The first quantum explanation of electromagnetic waves occurred in 1900, and the first theories were discovered in 1926. Since then all tests of quantum theory have been successful. The interpretation of the theory, however, is still debated and questioned in recent experiments and Nobel Prizes. This non-mathematical conundrum is again a hot topic and will be the subject of this talk.

April 18: Astrophysical Measurements

For centuries the heavens were studied only with telescopes that used visible wavelengths. For some time now, however, telescopes have been built and used in the non-visible range that cover wavelengths much more broadly than the visible range. This has led to an explosion of knowledge about the Solar System and the Universe, some which will be presented and discussed.

Instructor: Peter Fedders received his PhD in physics at Harvard, did postdoctoral work at Princeton, was a Professor of Physics at Washington University in St. Louis, and was a consultant at various times at Lawrence Livermore Labs and The University of Hawaii at Manoa. Since moving to San Diego he has been a docent at the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. An Osher member, Fedders has given several series of talks on various scientific subjects.

Coordinator: Steve Clarey

Course Number: OSHR-70059   Credit: 0 units

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Upcoming Sections

Dates Class Type Section ID Fee
04/04/2017 - 04/18/2017 In-class 123304 $0.00  

Day and Time: Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 129, UCSD Extension Complex, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla