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)
Tom Stoppard's play
Hapgood, and discuss one of the following issues:
- Compare and contrast Kerner's spying duties, and the sting operation
at the pool, with the rules of a quantum-mechanical measurement.
- Discuss the role of twins in Hapgood and construct an analogy
to wave-particle duality.
- There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty in the play Hapgood,
describe how the action in the play relates to Heisenberg's uncertainty
- Construct a diagram that proves that there must be two Ridleys. Does
quantum mechanics play a role in this proof? (Be cautioned this is
probably the most difficult of the four paper topics.)
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
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.
- E. Lifshitz, Superfluidity, Sci. Am., June 1958, p. 30.
- N. D. Mermin and D. M. Lee, Superfluid Helium 3, Sci. Am., Dec.
1976, p. 56. (The research discussed in this article was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Physics.)
- R. D. Parks, Quantum Effects in Superconductors, Sci. Am., Oct.
- J. Clarke, SQUIDs (Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices),
Sci. Am., Aug. 1994, p. 46.
- R. Cava, Superconductors Beyond 1-2-3, Sci. Am. Aug., 1990,
p. 42. (The research discussed in this article resulted in the
1987 Nobel Prize in Physics.)
- J. R. Kirtley and C. C. Tsuei, Probing High-Temperature Superconductivity,
Sci. Am., Aug. 1996, p. 68. (The research discussed in this article
resulted in the
1987 Nobel Prize in Physics.)
- Any article from Sci. Am., Sept. 1967.
- Azbel', Kaganov, and Lifshitz, Conduction Electrons in Metals ,
Sci. Am., Jan. 1973, p. 88.
- A. R. Mackintosh, The Fermi Surface of Metals, July 1963, p.
- F. Morehead, Light-Emitting Semiconductors, Sci. Am., May 1967,
p. 109. (related to the
2000 Nobel Prize in Physics
- B. Chalmers, The Photovoltaic Generation of Electricity, Sci.
Am., Oct. 1976, p. 34.
- M. L. Cohen, V. Heine, and J. C. Phillips, The Quantum Mechanics
of Materials, Sci. Am. June, 1982, p. 82.
- I. Pykett, NMR Imaging in Medicine, Sci. Am., May 1982, p. 78.
- H. K. Wickramasinghe, Scanned-Probe Microscopes, Sci. Am. Oct.,
1989, p. 98. (This work is an outcrop of the
1986 Nobel Prize in Physics.)
- M. Reed, Quantum Dots, Sci. Am. Jan., 1993, p. 118.
- B.-G. Englert, M. O. Scully, and H. Walther, The Duality in Matter
and Light, Sci. Am., Dec., 1994, p. 86.
- M. Brack, Metal Clusters and Magic Numbers, Sci. Am., Dec. 1997,
- S. Kivelson, D.-H. Lee, and S.-C. Zhang, Electrons in Flatland,
Sci. Am. March, 1996, p. 86. (This work is related to the
1985 Nobel Prize in Physics and
1998 Nobel Prize in Physics).
- S. J. Putterman, Sonoluminescence: Sound into Light, Sci. Am.
Feb. 1995, p. 46.
- J. Krim, Friction at the atomic scale, Sci. Am. Oct. 1996, p. 74.
- R. L. Gunshor and A. V. Nurmikko, Blue-Laser CD Technology,
Sci. Am. July 1996, p. 48.
- S. Lloyd, Quantum-mechanical Computers, Sci. Am. October, 1995,
- K. K. Likharev and T. Claeson, Single Electronics, Sci. Am.
June 1992, p. 80.
- P. Kwiat, H. Weinfurter and A. Zeilinger, Quantum Seeing in the Dark,
Scientific American, Nov. 1996, p. 72.
- P. Yam,
Exploiting zero-point energy, Scientific American,
Dec. 1997, p. 82.
- E. Cornell and C. Wieman, The Bose-Einstein Condenstate,
Scientific American, March, 1998, p. 40. (this work won the
2001 Nobel prize
- N. Gershenfeld and I. Chuang,
Quantum Computing with Molecules,
Scientific American, June, 1998, p. 66.
- M. Feld, and K. An, The Single-Atom Laser, Scientific American,
July, 1998, p. 57 (this work is related to the
1997 Nobel Prize in
- T. Coutts and M. Fitzgerald, Thermophotovoltaics, Scientific
American, September, 1998, p. 90.
- Selected articles from the 1997 Special issue on
The Solid State Century.
- I. Yablonovitch, Photonic Crystals: Semiconductors of Light ,
Scientific American, December, 2001.
- M. George Craford, Nick Holonyak, Jr., and Frederick A. Kish, Jr.
In Pursuit of the Ultimate Lamp Scientific American, February, 2001.
(related to the
2001 Nobel prize
- Max Tegmark and John Archibald Wheeler,
100 Years of Quantum Mysteries, Scientific American, February, 2001.
- Philip G. Collins and Phaedon Avouris, Nanotubes for Electronics
Scientific American, December, 2000.
- Mark A. Reed and James M. Tour,
Computing with Molecules, Scientific American, June, 2000.
- Anton Zeilinger, Quantum teleportation, Scientific American,
- Jan Jolie, Uncovering Supersymmetry, Scientific American, July 2002.
- Lee Smolin, Atoms of Space and Time, Scientific American, January 2004.
- Webster Howard, Better Displays with Organic Films, Scientific American February 2004.
- Michael Roukes, Nanophysics: Plenty of Room, Indeed, Scientific American, September 2001.
- A. Paul Alivisatos, Nanomedicine: Less is More in Medicine, Scientific American, September 2001.
- Any other approved
Scientific American article of your choosing that deals with
Last modified January 7, 2003
Jim Freericks, Professor of Physics,