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Education

Condensed-matter physics laboratory developed a lecture series The world through the eyes of a physicist: From black holes to quantum bits, which is offered as a Minor to the students admitted in 2015, and begins in the 2016-17 academic year. This course is coordinated by Professor M.Feigelman (Landau ITP).

This lecture series comprises four courses:

Astrophysics

In the course we give, in a popular form, a survey of the modern-physics views on the origin and evolution of the cosmic objects (stars, galaxies) and the Universe as a whole. These view are based on the astrophysical observations. We pay special attention to the basic physical principles and ideas, used in contemporary astrophysics and cosmology. We tell you about the Sun and the stars, about black holes and white dwarfs, the cosmic microwave background and expansion of the Universe.

Physics of chemical elements

The goal of this course is to demonstrate that properties of matter and the laws of chemical reactions are determined by physical laws. First of all, we show how the observed properties of matter is related to the interactions between the constituent particles, such as atoms, ions, and molecules. Then we discuss how one can study these interactions with physical methods and use of the information obtained to predict the properties of substances and the rates of chemical reactions. We discuss why one needs physical chemistry and chemical physics in development of devices and materials, in obtaining new exotic molecules, and even in full-scale industry.

Electric and magnetic fields

This course focuses on classical electrodynamics, one of the most beautiful physical theories. We begin with very simple phenomena, interactions of electric charges and currents. Then we formulate the relevant laws in terms of electric and magnetic fields, derive equations to describe these fields (the Maxwell equations), and obtain their main consequence, an electromagnetic wave. Along the way, we will learn the basics of vector analysis and the special theory of relativity, learn what is Lorentz covariance and why it is important. This will allow us to rewrite Maxwell's equations in a remarkably beautiful four-dimensional form.

Physics of continuous media

Many physical phenomena may be thought of as taking place in a continuous medium. The dynamics of a liquid or gas at high Reynolds numbers results in chaotic behavior, turbulence, characterized by a number of statistical laws. Liquid crystals are well represented in Nature and are characterized by unusual physical properties. Optical phenomena are very diverse, and today artificial materials are fabricated with properties not found in Nature. Disordered media with fractal structure have very peculiar physical properties. All of these topics, as well as some others, will be presented in this series of lectures.

 


 

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