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Physics- PC 123/PC 124: Scientific Revolutions

Block 1 - PC123: Scientific Revolutions: The Copernican Revolution, Barbara Whitten

Block 2 - PC124: Scientific Revolutions: Relativity, Stephanie DiCenzo

Physics- PC 123/PC 124: Scientific Revolutions

This two-block course meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement or the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement and the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

PC 123: Planetary astronomy from the Greeks to the age of Newton. This course is a blend of history and science, and it explores the role of planetary astronomy in the development of Western thought. Readings from Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. Astronomical observations and laboratory work. (Satisfies the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

PC 124: This course examines 19th and 20th-century modifications of Newtonian ideas of space, time and interactions. We focus on the concepts and consequences of the theory of relativity: length contraction, time dilation, the relativity of simultaneity, the equivalence of mass and energy, new approaches to gravitation, and black holes. We also explore the impact of relativity outside science. Readings from Einstein, Minkowski, Holton, Kuhn and others. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement. 

A set of linked, one-block courses that must be taken together, with one instructor in each block; separate grades will be assigned for each block.

Details:

  • PC123 will involve several afternoon labs
  • No Physics prerequisites required