Physics in Electro-optics & Nuclear Technology
- Instructors: Niels Gronbech Jensen, Diego Yankelevich
- Prerequisites: Algebra II, Physics
- Typical Field Trips: McClellan Nuclear Research Center, Exploratorium
Core Course (4 Weeks)
Great Physical Science Ideas and Applications
We will investigate the foundations of western scientific techniques in physical science. Students will explore how and why we have come to develop the "scientific method", what it means to do basic and applied research, and how the principles of Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics, and special relativity are linked directly to the centerpiece of the Cluster: the relationships between observation, physics, and technology. We discuss several physics applications, such as optical communications and nuclear technology in both power production and weapons. We anticipate outings to relevant destinations, including McClellan Nuclear Radiation Center.
Supplementary Courses (2 Weeks Each)
The Foundation of Modern Science
This section will explore the evolution of man's understanding of the rational world, from the ancient Greeks to Newton's equations of motion. We illuminate how simple observations can produce remarkable revelations of the world around us, and how theoretical considerations can be developed to eventually provide reliable and important explanations and predictions that can be used in science and technology.
Electro-optics - Optical Communications
In this course we will discuss the theory behind the components used in a fiber-optic communication link. The lecture will go over the fundamentals of propagation of electromagnetic waves, reflection, refraction, waveguides and lasers. In addition we will go over some fundamentals of analog and digital circuits. Laboratory activities will have two main components: optics and electronics. The optics component will provide hands-on experience with a gas laser, optical detectors and optical fibers. Lasers will be used to measure the optical properties of an optical material. During the electronics component, electronic circuits will be constructed in the laboratory to perform the modulation-detection of optical beams and electronic instrumentation will be used to characterize the electrical signals as a function of frequency. The cluster will conclude with the implementation of simple digital circuits.