During the first half of the twentieth century, Niels Bohr was a central figure in the development of quantum physics and its applications, from the successful modeling of atoms to the anticipation of nuclear weapons. Between the World Wars, Bohr’s institute in Copenhagen was the epicenter of quantum theory, and the “Copenhagen Interpretation” of quantum physics became its standard explanation. But is it a satisfactory description of physical reality? Einstein didn’t think so! With a minimum of mathematical context, this course will examine the important ideas in the development of quantum physics that were argued in the personal interactions of Bohr with colleagues that included (among others) Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg, as well as some more recent ideas about quantum reality.
Copenhagen and Quantum Reality
Group Leader: STEVE HOLT
Meets on: Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Class Size: unlimited
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:
Steve Holt is an astrophysicist who has been both an educator and an active researcher. He retired from the position of Director of Space Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to become a member of the founding faculty at the Franklin W Olin College of Engineering, where he is currently an Emeritus Professor of Physics.