Paper Assignments for Physics 008: The Quantum World Around Us

There are two writing assignments for this course. Each paper should be approximately 5 to 7 pages long. Grading will be based primarily on your ability to discuss clearly and coherently the basic scientific concepts involved and their relation to the topic of interest.

First Paper (Due March 23, 2007)

Read Tom Stoppard's play Hapgood, and discuss one of the following issues:

Hapgood is a difficult play to follow. You should read it at least twice before trying to write your paper. Students who start this assignment the night before it is due, do so at their own peril. Instructors are happy to discuss ideas for your paper with you during office hours, or by appointment.

More information about Tom Stoppard can be found on Michael Berry's website.

Second Paper (Due April 27, 2007)

Select a Scientific American article about quantum mechanical phenomena (a list of possible articles is given below). Write a summary of at least one aspect of the article that requires quantum mechanics for its explanation. Your essay should be written at a level that can be understood by a fellow classmate. You should be able to demonstrate that you have digested the article and can explain it in the language of quantum mechanics. You will find earlier issues of Scientific American housed in Lauinger, and the more recent ones are in the Blommer Science Library.
You must have your topic approved by April 19, even if you choose an article from this list. Papers turned in without prior approval will have their score reduced by one letter grade.

There has been a problem with students cutting articles out of the library journals. You must hand in a photocopy, or printout of the article you wrote about with your paper or your paper will not be graded.

Some suggestions:

Last modified January 7, 2003

Jim Freericks, Professor of Physics,